The Scripture is very clear that we are to have one identity. That identity is Christ:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
As we talked about in previous blogs, the scripture also tells us that we are to be in the world to minister, but not of the world in our thinking or behavior.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:15-17
The problem? We struggle to live in between the two worlds we are a part of. We struggle being consistent in who we are in all aspects of our lives. Admit it, you struggle. If you look at your life, you are not the same person you are at camp as you are with your friends back home. You struggle to be the same person with your friends, speaking, valuing, and doing the same things between your two (or more) worlds of existence.
Why? Why do we struggle so much with this? Simple: FEAR. We struggle because we become afraid of what a certain behavior, belief, friend, thought, word, etc. will do to our reputation. But what reputation are we more concerned with? Take a moment to ponder these questions and answer them honestly:
Are you afraid to be the person you are at camp when you go back to your friends at home out of fear it will damage your reputation with those other friends?
OR Are you afraid to be the person you are at home/school/with non camp friends when you are at camp out of fear it will damage you reputation with those at camp?
Either situation is just as wrong. It is a life of double mindedness. A life that leads to destruction of your character and integrity no matter which way you fall. In fact, the scripture makes some harsh statements about situations where we struggle like this:
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.
Have No Fear
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 10: 16-33
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
We ARE going to face the wrath of the world when we walk the way of the Lord. I’ll say it again, we are going to face the wrath of the world when we walk in the way of the Lord. And we should be fearful of those moments the world sways us to honor their ways and thoughts above the ways and thought of the Lord. Matthew tell us that we who deny God before men (and you can deny God through more ways than just literally saying it) will be denied by Jesus before the Father. That is a tough truth to handle!
We are not meant to shift our position of thoughts, feelings, views, speech, behavior, interest, level of faith or honoring of God, etc. at the whim and will of men (read certain friends). We are called to be consistent and resolute in our honoring of God in the midst of all circumstance. We are not to be double minded or weak, we are to stand firm for the truth.
When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing?
What Jesus is implying here is that John was not weak in His resolve and the people did not go out to see someone weak in their resolve. It was the very strength in his resolve that made John’s message so attractive to those who were coming to see Him - those Jesus was speaking to.
The answer to the two questions above that we need to live in our lives is this:
I am afraid that the person I am at school AND the person I am at camp will damage the reputation of Jesus.
Our reputations are not important and are not on the line, it is the reputation of Jesus that is in danger when we claim to be His followers and behave in a way different than He would behave.
You have a wonderful but challenging task, the task of firmly and resolutely sharing the message of Jesus without reservation, without fear, and without wavering like a reed blowing in the wind. In light of this fact I urge you as Moses urged the Israelites “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Remember, God uses you to change the lives around you by making you more like Jesus.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
2 Timothy 1:6-15
Galatians 3:28 - One in Christ
1 John 2:15-17 - Don’t Love the World
Matthew 10: 16-33 - Difficulty and Fear
Luke 7:24-25 - Strength in message
Deuteronomy 31:6 - Do not fear
2 Timothy 1:6-15 - No Shame
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