“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.“
This week has seen many opportunities to make a choice. To choose the amazing peace given to us by Jesus or chaos. To choose to take our amazingly ordinary selves and be transformed by God into something extraordinary. To choose between demanding our will or God’s amazing will be done. To be double-minded or single-minded in our quest for closeness with the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus stepped up to preach on the mountainside to the believers, He laid out a series of directives intended to help us understand and attain true righteousness. As Bible scholar Warren Wiersbe says about the Sermon on the Mount:
The religious leaders (at the time) had an artificial, external righteousness based on law. But the righteousness that Jesus described is true and vital righteousness that begins internally, in the heart.Warren Wiersbe, The New Testament Bible Commentary
He goes on to state the lessons Jesus preached in Matthew 5 through 6 were not for the unsaved world at large but rather for individual believers. Which brings me to the concept of choosing. Throughout our faith journey we are continually called to choose — God or an idol of our own making — as we reach for that true righteousness. The testing of our choices may seem to take place every single minute of the day at times. Other times in our life we seem to be easily cruising along with Jesus and then a serious trial interrupts our lives and we are faced with choosing our faith over our fears.
I have a very good friend who is not a Christian. The day after the election we went to lunch and she said something amazing to me. My friend: “During election night I started praying. I knew you were praying too. And I know that God will probably listen to your prayers over mine and I took comfort in knowing you were praying.” I was slightly stunned. I’ve been much more open about my faith this year when talking with her. Showing her how I rely on Jesus’ amazing peace to keep me together during hard times. But I was shocked that she was praying. I told her God listens to all our prayers. We then went on to another topic. Later, while at home, I felt called to send her a text message. This is the conversation:
Me: “You said something today that I don’t think I paid enough attention to. You said you thought my prayers would hold more weight with God. God is for all of us whether we believe in Him or not. He wants to be our “go to” for peace and grace and trust — no matter where we are along our faith journey. The only difference is that as a follower of Jesus I am held to different expectations. I know His Word. I know what He expects of me. I know He wants me to be obedient and turn all my worries over to Him and not trust in anything else. So, He expects me to act accordingly— and I fail many times over. But because I know I have failed I also know to ask for His grace and forgiveness. He won’t answer my prayers any more than yours if they don’t come from a desire to do His will. It’s frequently at times of great worry and distress that people turn to God. However, He considers those “friends” and “faithful” who rely on Him at all times and thank Him for His for blessings. I hope this doesn’t sound all Jesus Freaky but I think it’s important to understand how much love He has for every single person — Christians and not yet Christians 😂
My “non-yet Christian” Friend: “Thanks! I hope all our prayers help! “
I’d call that pretty amazing. Friends, as followers of Jesus, we are expected to choose Him over our idols of fear, worry, earthly kings, money, relationships, our political stances, and anything else from which we think we artificially gain righteousness. We are expected put our eyes and our hearts and our minds squarely on the Lord and slough off the world from our backs. Because God has mightier plans for us. He has solutions we can’t even imagine. He is fighting our fight for us in the spiritual realm. And he expects us to choose Him and act here on earth as His faithful friends.
Madison and I will see you again on Monday! Have a blessed weekend friends!