"I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths."
This set of scriptures spoke to me today because we are in a time when the world wants acceptance for what it is doing and not truth. The truth makes people uncomfortable and it is easier to follow our flesh or our thoughts than it is to follow the Lord. We are to love people but we need let the truth correct them and that can only come from The Word of God. If people get offended by the word all we can do is; patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage the people God has placed in our church. If they get offended and leave, we can't try and change to make them comfortable. The Lord will make them grow when they open their hearts and surrender their thinking. We as the church need to work in love and truth, we can't say the things that make people sit back and not feel the urge to let God transform their lives.
Believing is one thing, transforming to live the new life in Christ is another. It's not working to earn, it's working to shine for others. We can believe and do miracles and still hear "I never knew you." Are we willing to surrender and give up our flesh to say yes to what is truth? It might make us angry or uncomfortable, or even say; this is how I want to feel and it's right because it feels right to me. But we have to see if it aligns with Gods word, and let it go if it doesn't. I love what Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 23, "You say, I am allowed to do anything - but not everything is good for you. You say, I am allowed to do anything - but not everything is beneficial." As new creations we must work on living the new life we have in Christ. We no longer live to satisfy our own desires or wants, we live for Christ. Verse 24 goes on to say, "Don't be concerned for your own good but for the good of others."
We have to stop thinking that the free gift frees us from doing anything, and allows us to live as we once did. As new creations we are new in Christ, and being new in Christ frees us from our old sinful ways and makes life worth living. This is why my favorite verse is Philippians chapter 1 verse 21 which says "For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better." Paul understands he isn't Saul anymore, and what he did isn't who he is anymore. And he said he worked harder than any of the apostles. I want to end with what Paul says in Philippians chapter 1 verse 27, "Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News." We need to forget ourselves and our feelings and follow the things we learn from the Word and the Holy Spirit. Amen