How Different Do You DARE To Be?
“Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’" Ezekiel 20:7 When God brought the children of Israel into the promised land, the countries surrounding it were heathen countries which did not know the Lord and were steeped in pagan practices. The Lord sternly warned his people that they were not to pick up the practices of the peoples around them and he has stressed this again and again in many passages throughout the Scriptures, so it must be crucially important. People who belong to the Lord are to live lives far different from the people around them. There are two kingdoms, kingdoms diametrically opposed to each other, the Kingdom of God, and the kingdom of Satan who Scripture says is "the god of this world" (2nd Corinthians 4:4). They are free to choose which kingdom to belong to, but should they choose the Lord, they must DARE TO BE DIFFERENT FROM THE PEOPLE AROUND THEM, and they must know that they will be laughed at, scorned, and criticized for their refusal to join them in their practices. They will be rejected and called names. Before coming to the Lord, one must count the cost. There IS a cost. For many, the cost will be deemed too steep. Acts chapter 5 tells us that while the church was growing exponentially, there were many who just did not DARE to join them: "And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people, and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. YET NONE OF THE REST DARED JOIN THEM, but the people esteemed them highly." Acts 5:12-13 Americans live in the most advanced, the most prosperous, the most "modern" country on earth, but it is also a place of terrible societies wholly given to pleasure, self-will, and heinous sin. Society demands that one be "tolerant," and if one chooses not to be, he will pay the consequences. It is a land where all must honor the "rights" of others, regardless of the depth of debauchery those rights insist on. To belong to the Lord in such a setting, one must truly count the cost and that cost is growing more steep daily. Believers are not called to demand rights, indeed believers lay down all rights in surrender to their Lord, and they are called to a life of purity that will only bring mockery to them. So why would one want to belong to the Lord? Because ...HE IS "THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE." John 14:6 Sin, when it is finished, brings destruction. But faithfulness to the Lord leads to eternal life, not only in the future - even in the present age the Lord becomes a very real part of the life of the believer. To experience it impacts the soul so truly that there will never, ever be the desire to go back. He is always with them, leading, guiding, encouraging, comforting, in very, very real and obvious ways. He becomes the most dear and the most important element in the person's life. And he promises an end to suffering, and an eternity of joy and peace. Having experienced walking with the Lord, the very thought of ever going back causes the believer to absolutely shudder, whatever the cost. "Sometimes this Cross gets so heavy but each day I take it up again, because I know its weight is so much lighter than the chains that kept me bound in sin." Lyrics to "This Cross" THIS CROSS Lyrics included