Cache Valley, Utah
| Does the World Love You?|
I was recently talking with an elderly brother and sister in the Lord and the brother shared something very interesting that stuck with me. An old friend of his from before he was saved said to him: "I liked you better before you became a Christian." Now this got me thinking.
This brother, before he was born again, was the type of person who was the center of the party. Funny, animated, larger than life, living it up in the world... Everybody loved him. But then the cross of Jesus Christ exposed what was really in his heart: sin, pride, anger, selfishness, lust, love of pleasure, drunkeness... He was exposed as a sinner. The intervention of God in his life, by being born again, radically reconstructed who he was. He stopped his partying, his sin, his open lifestyle, and became obviously different in the eyes of his old friends.
This testimony rings so true in my own life, and after asking some others about this they also testified the same. Our old friends now find us repulsive, boring, unattractive, foolish. A Christian is no fun to the unbeliever. I want now to just examine the seemingly "boring" characteristic in the one who is born again. To the world this is so, but to the body of Christ, the exact opposite.
A person who is born again is a brand new person. [i]"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."[/i] (2 Corinthians 5:17) What then [b]isn't[/b] made new?
[i]"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."[/i] (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
The ones who are born again are given an entirely new perspective on life. They realize their position in Christ and their position in world. This new perspective causes them to act totally different than how they would have acted in their old way of thinking, or as Paul says: [i]"...in the vanity of their mind."[/i] (Ephesians 4:17) Compare the unbeliever and the believer's state of mind:
-the unbeliever lives in the flesh, the believer lives in the Spirit
-the unbeliever loves the things of this world, the believer hates the things of this world
-the unbeliever is full of pride, the believer is full of humility
-the unbeliever is extravagant, the believer is meek
-the unbeliever seeks entertainment, the believer seeks to be empowered
-the unbeliever loves to play, the believer loves to pray
-the unbeliever is restless, the believer is resting
-the unbeliever puts on a show, the believer is transparent
-the unbeliever has much to boast in, the believer has nothing to boast in
-the unbeliever seeks man's approval, the believer seeks God's approval
-the unbeliever is unpeaceful and chases after lusts, the believer has the peace of Christ ruling in his heart
The list could go on. Those things that are wonderful to the Christian are foolishness to those who are perishing! What a bore to pray, to read the Bible, to deny entertainment, to be transparent! But the sad thing is that many Christians find these things boring as well. Ask yourself: Do I seek entertainment, play and fun, or do I seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? Which is more desirable? Do you find some Christians boring? I wonder if it is those very Christians who are the ones seeking God and putting to the death the deeds of the flesh? If you are falling into this trap, I believe the diagnosis is worldliness. You love the flesh. You must be born again.
[i]"But ye have not so learned Christ; [b]If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him[/b], as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be [b]renewed in the spirit of your mind[/b]; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."[/i] (Ephesians 4:20-24)
| 2006/2/7 13:15||Profile|
| Re: Does the World Love You?|
I get teared up when you speak about unsaved folks. I've only gotten two reactions from most unsaved folks. They either hate me before I even got a chance to open my mouth, or they are just the opposite yet scared. They feel the love, yet it scares them, but they want to get to know it. I call it "it" because I know it's not my love but His Love. I have no trust in me at all, I know I'm flesh.
I asked God for His gift of love because I know how grateful I was to first feel loved (by Him) and that's the only way I want unbelievers to see Him. They're attracted to His Love but it scares them, because they know, to have all of it to come into themselves, they'll have to give up all. They'll want to be 'friends' but not "buddies", of course. Ha, I just can't go to The Club with them ... ha. (Used to live there before Jesus).
Some do receive, some walk away sadly, like the rich man. That's when you get hit in the heart with a pain like a gun shot.
I can't trust in myself, but just trust in the Love of Jesus to do His love thing. He's it All.
I can't say anymore. Just pray for laborers.
God Bless you Eli.
| 2006/2/7 14:19|
2 Corinthians 2:16 says "To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
So, to the unbeliever, we are the savor of death. That is, we are supposed to be dead, crucified in the flesh (Romans 6:6), crucified to the world (Galatians 6:14). That's definitely not attractive to those who desire to live after the flesh.
Jesus told us that the world would hate us just like it hated Him (John 15:18-20). And I agree with you guys totally. Those of us who would live godly in Christ will be despised by men. But most of the church is buddy-buddy with the world. Eli said it: it's worldliness. These saints want and seek after the same things things that unbelievers do.
Does the world love you? If you are saved, it should not. If our salt has lost its savor (Matthew 5:13), the world will love us. But here's the catch: salt without savor is [b]good for nothing[/b] (5:13).
Of ourselves, we are not sufficient; our sufficiency is of God (2 Corinthians 3:5), and he causes us to always triumph in Christ (2:14).
May the Lord sanctify us through His truth (John 17:17)!
| 2006/2/7 15:01||Profile|
MeAgain wrote: I asked God for His gift of love
I dont want to nit-pick, but love is not a spiritual gift. It is a fruit of the Spirit, and it is a command. If you are living in the Spirit then one of the fruits (or manifestations) will be love. Just wanted to point that out.
Anyway.. to answer the question posed by this thread:
People either loved me or hated me before I was saved, and it's pretty much the same way now. This Forum is evidence of that.
However, those who knew me before Christ are pretty much either not in my life anymore, or the radical transformation that Christ did in my life was a seed for them and they got saved later on and are my brothers and sisters in Christ now.
Am I loved by the world? I dont know, I dont care. I do know that as I live out my faith a lot of people do respect that. As a coach I am very involved in the lives of a lot of young men (anyone who wrestles or plays football for me is not a "boy") and for the most part their parents like my influence on their child. You have some knuckle-head parents out there who are never happy... and dont like it when I yell at little Johnny... but thats an exception.
But there are also times that my faith makes it hard for unbelievers to like me. I will tell it like it is if someone asks. I have people at the gym strike up conversations with me just to proove my faith wrong. They cant shake me and that frustrates them.
If I know someone has a drinking problem, or something like that... I dont mind telling them that they dont have a sickness! They are drunkards. Small fib? You're a liar. Use Christ's name in vain? You're a blasphemer. You're in an "alternative lifestyle"? No, the Word of God calls you a "sodomite". Etc etc etc... I see no point in candy coating the truth. The Word of God doesnt.
And ya know what I have found? The more brutally honest I am with unbelievers... the more they keep coming back.
So I think the world has a "love/hate" relationship with me. So do some in the church...
But my message will never be popular in the world. And my message is hardly ever popular among the worldly in the church either.
| 2006/2/7 16:04|
Thanks Krispy, I understand what you are saying, amen, it should be the fruit in or out from us, but anything outside of my own capabilities or substance, I consider a 'gift' from God (like a present :), because before Him, I never knew love, from anyone ... but after Him, that's all I can see.
I needed a baptism of/in love. That knock you on your back end type POW-ZIP-BANG-BOOM experience. Like the Explosion of Creation being the expression of His True Love. Like seeing that He [b]IS[/b] Love. Like the difference of water baptism and the Holy Spirit baptism, sort of ... and I mainly asked for that love to be for the unsaved ... because I still remember how I felt 30 years ago, before Christ.
I couldn't look at another post on here after this thread earlier. I just sat and cried, but then felt the Lord saying, Go on over to the unsaved forum. They're mentally and physically sick over there. So I went and there it was, the POW again and another wonderful experience with a mentally ill lady.
Bless God - Bless His HOLY Name alrighty.
I even Love you now Krispy ... rotflmho.
Hey, they've changed to happy tears now.
Thanks brother. Wish we could meet you and your dear family.
| 2006/2/7 17:02|
| Re: just the world?|
I have people that like or don't like me, but hate? We have a saying in A.A." Your opinion of me is none of my business."
I tend to think of this in the terms of light and dark, am I light that shines for all to see? Well not if I'm going around judging people; does my life reflect a transformation from death to life, I sure hope so, you never know who's looking.
I install kitchens so I'm in different houses, of different people all the time. Not to long ago I had a woman ask me if we were a Christian company. I hadn't mentioned the bible, church, salvation or Christ. I was just being me, a peaceful, positve nice person, did she hate that?
All I said, jokingly, while I was doing electrical work is that if I died I was ready to go because I made peace with and was right with God. She completely made my day in a way she probably never knew, what a FANTASTIC compliment, not to me, but to Christ.
Before I got saved and then sober I was worthy of pity, contempt and hate by the way I acted. I was bitter, mean, sarcastic and negative. I am daily grateful with the work Christ is doing in my life, because I am now worthy of love, respect, and trust. I don't need to scream from the rooftops the Good News because God is completely sufficient at opening doors and hearts, in His timing and with His word. I need to be ever prepared, the good soldier not entangled with this world,always keeping my eyes and heart open to tell someone, anyone how much Christ loves me and them also.
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Tim 23-26
What's at stake is not how other people feel about me but their very souls and I will fight with the weapons as appointed by my Captain, in the manner of all His soldiers, as we have been trained by His Spirit. Beware of who is listening to you words but even more so who is watching your actions. " Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks," and " by their fruits you shall know them"
Richard E Lewis III
| 2006/2/7 20:55||Profile|
I must say that I can relate with everything that is being said. I have what appears to be a very favorable relationship with all (yes all) of my co-workers. I don't know of anyone at all who openly hates me.
But I must also say that the scriptures cannot be mistaken. God cannot lie (Hebrew 6:18), can He? What shall we say then? how shall we define truth: our experiences or the words of scripture? I am compelled to believe God's word in spite of what my experiences tell me.
What am I saying? Well, I don't really know. It seems that we get along great with people. It seems that the unsaved often like us, trust us, and respect us. You all probably know the sentiment that goes like, "You're a Christian, that's great... that's just not for me. But I'm glad it's working out for you." It feels like everything is peachy-keen. I don't know how to explain that.
Are sinners the enemies of God? Yes-James 4:4. Are saints children of God? Yes-Galatians 3:26, Romans 3:14. Does that make sinners the enemies of saints? It would seem so. Can enemies be friends?
I don't need to scream from the rooftops the Good News because God is completely sufficient at opening doors and hearts, in His timing and with His word. I need to be ever prepared, the good soldier not entangled with this world,always keeping my eyes and heart open to tell someone, anyone how much Christ loves me and them also.
This is perhaps the crux of the matter. We often maintain the logic of Francis of Assisi and say "I will preach the gospel, and use words (only) when necessary." I thought that was the appopriate thing to do at one time. I would pray "Lord, send someone my way, and let them ask a question or make a comment that will lead easily into a spiritual conversation." And I would wait for God to do it. He did so a number of times, for His own glory. Thank God that He did.
I think that sometimes we have to knock on that door we're waiting for God to open, and stick our foot in the door when given the opportunity. Why should we wait for someone to ask about God? And I'm not saying that this is all that some of us are doing. But some of us are, like I used to. Why can't we be the initiators?
Fishermen go out in the boat, bring along poles, bait, nets, etc., and actually leave the shore for the deep. Our line of thinking is sometimes more like "I hope some fish come and check out my net."
I have found that when I don't speak about Jesus or salvation or whatever, things are amicable at work. When I begin to speak about the Lord and spiritual things, and attempt purposeful evangelism, people call me crazy or don't talk at all. Sometimes they can't wait to get away, even though I trust that I am "gentle unto all men" in "meekness"(2Timothy 2:24,25). Those are the times people hate me.
People love to be able ask Christians questions or whatever when they are curious. They can "take it or leave it" at will, there's no pressure on them, and the discussion is on their terms. It's like shopping for them, I think. Oh, they like us then. There's no animosity then. But just watch what happens when a saint attempts to steer the conversation towards a sinners personal responsibility to God. Trouble! Take it from me.
I apologize for the long, rambling post (you'll see that rambling is my trademark). But I feel strongly about this. Christians are called to be distinct. That we are not more hated and more persecuted in the Western world is a concern of mine. What does this say about the church? The fact is that we often look and act just like the world, which lieth in wickedness (1John 5:19).
Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you (1John 3:13). Marvel if it does not hate you!
| 2006/2/8 1:15||Profile|
I think contempt usually comes from those in authority, or those who influence society. For instance, it should be evident to all that Hollywood hates the true church. They really dont have an issue with the false church, and thats evident by the fact that most shows on TV generally show the Catholic Church in a relatively good light. But when was the last time you saw true Bible believing Christians in a good light on TV or in a movie?
Contempt for the church also comes from some in government. The Republican party uses the church when it's convenient for them, and back away when it's not. The Democrats are even worse about it. The ACLU obviously hates the idea that believers even exist.
But on a whole, if we live out the teachings of the Word of God we will find favor among unbelievers that we have day to day contact with. Not always, but usually.
Act 2:46-47 [i]And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, [b]and having favor with all the people[/b]. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.[/i]
| 2006/2/8 7:59|
Can we have favor without being liked?
Jesus had favor with men (Luke 2:52), and they put Him to death.
Is it possible to obtain favor with men as a provision from God and still be hated by them. I am asking honestly, because I'm not sure.
| 2006/2/8 8:28||Profile|
Cache Valley, Utah
[i]"For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life."[/i] - 2 Corinthians 2:15-16
| 2006/2/8 12:58||Profile|