“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12,13) (emphasis added is mine)
This verse jumped off the pages of my Bible this morning as I was having my precious quiet time. I was awoken early by my “littles,” ages nearly 3 and 11 months, who decided they were ready to greet the day at 4:00 am (which is turning out to be their favorite time to start their morning). The thought of beginning my time in the Word was not met with my usual enthusiasm, so, to me, was an indication that it was much needed today.
Last night, I was plagued by a disturbing dream, that stole into my normally quiet morning, and left me feeling confused and uncomfortable. It involved some unpleasant topics and situations that I don’t wish to elaborate on, but I will say it deals with a certain sins that have grown more and more prevalent in our society, and that I find myself struggling to respond to them in a Christ-like manner. Needless to say, it left me praying for wisdom and created an incredible need to have the Lord bring peace and wisdom.
We are living in the last days, my dear friend, and it is causing deep divides in our current culture, as well as in the church. It has caused some of us to camp out in one “group,” and has us alienate those who are not at the same place in their spiritual walks. Given this dark climate that, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20, we tend to isolate ourselves more and more from those around us. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do think we should guard ourselves from the evils that are so prevalent in our world; “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) but I don’t think this means we are to live completely separate lives from those around us.
For there are those that are in desperate need of the Gospel, and those sisters and brothers in Christ who are currently being deceived by the enemy and/or are hurting. We have a responsibility, as the church, to be the hands and feet of God (such a privileged calling) to this lost and dying world.
Too often, we, as Christians, find ourselves pulling back from ministering to those around us because of certain sins we see happening. These sins can be so subtle that maybe, the person isn’t even aware of them taking place, or it could be some a sin that is much more obvious. Whether it is a secret sin, or one that is out in the open, both of these types of sins are equally damaging. God sees sin all the same and just as destructive. There, however, a differentiation of certain sins in Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” The Bible calls our body “the temple of the Holy Spirit” and, for this reason, we should honor our bodies and obstain from such sins.
There is only one sin that He says is unforgivable. In Luke 12:10, “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” This is blatant opposition to the leading and conviction of the Holy Spirit. What marks the life of a believer is the fact that they don’t live a life of habitual sin (committing the same sinful act, even after being shown by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word that is in opposition to God). There is times of conviction (a true sorrow for their actions), asking for forgiveness from the Lord, and repentance (a physical and mental turning away from whatever sin that has taken root in their lives).
There can be extremes in a Christian’s life, where he or she can call a particular sin more “evil” than another. This biased approach can cause deep divisions and pain to those struggling with these particular sins. I do realize that my issue here is only having had a disturbing dream, but through this, I was able to come to the Lord in prayer and His Word and allow Him to bring about change in my mind and heart. He revealed areas where I need to be more like Him. We need to be reminded, that there are those who may live in a real “nightmare.” Lord, please forgive me for my lack of love and compassion towards others. I need to continually pray to be sympathetic, and to not react with coldness in my heart towards those struggling with particular sins. Please be aware I said, “struggling,” not giving into the sin and making it how they define themselves or defend their sinful practices.
We are all sinners in need of the saving grace of Jesus, and the cleansing power of His blood. The thought that we are somehow “better” than another believer because we don’t struggle with a certain sin is not at all a reflection of God’s heart. “For by the grace given to me [Paul] I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:3 Another verse to consider is Ephesians 4:2, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one anther in love.”
Dear sister or brother in Christ, be careful of isolating yourself in a certain mindset that alienates those in the body of Christ. In these last days, we need to be vigilant against attacks from the enemy, but also praying for love and compassion towards those who are struggling… ” to live a life worthy of the calling you [we] have received.” (Ephesians 4:1)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) I love this passage because it keeps me humble in my approach to others. Our salvation is a costly gift paid for by the precious blood of Jesus. Please pray for love for those around you desiring to live godly lives. That may need some extra prayer and encouragement to stay the course.
I need to emphasis to you that with this call to love and show compassion, this by no means should effect our living by the Word of God. We are called,” ‘Be holy, for I [God} am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) and 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8, “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit.” If there are those among us, living a life of habitual sin, and this person has been lovingly approached and spoken to according to Matthew 18:15-17, and still insists on rebelling, distance yourself from them. According to Galatians 6:1, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” You most certainly need to continue to pray for them, but you must let the Holy Spirit do the convicting and transforming of their lives. For He alone has the power to do so! Prayer can be so effective in dealing with all things that we face in this life.
Overview of Today’s Discussion:
- No sin is more evil than another, except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Luke 12:10)
- Be soberly minded in these last days (Romans 12:3)
- Beware of alienating certain believers that struggle with a particular sin (“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8) The devil would like nothing more than to pick off a believer who is weak and has been abandoned.
- We must be holy as God is holy and not compromise on the truths of the Bible (1 Peter 1:16)
- We need to pray that our love for others doesn’t grow cold in these last days and our desire to live lives for the glory of God.
Thank you so much for taking the time to go to God’s Word and I pray that you are somehow encouraged, and can begin to embrace your calling as believers. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Until next time, God bless, and I pray you continue to grow as a child of God.