It has been a very long time coming (I will soon write another post explaining why..) but here we are with Part 3 of our Life lesson series. This last part is a lesson in spiritual discernment and the need to actively exercise it daily.
Life lesson: Not all who profess Christ possess Christ.
What does this mean? Not everyone who says they are a Christian is in close fellowship with Christ, partake of the Holy spirit and have been born again. This is what we see being described of by Jesus in Matthew 7. Many self proclaiming believers passionately called Jesus Lord, and told him about all the wonderful things they had done “in his name” but what was his response? He told them to depart. Why? because their deeds were evil and they were leading lawless lives.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)
What is lawlessness? Sin in lawlessness.
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4 ESV)
Why is this such an important lesson for us to know and remember?
1. We can be deceived by others.
I for one have been deceived MANY times and entrusted myself to friendships, relationships with professing Christians who I now discern don’t really have an intimate relationship with Christ as evidenced by their lifestyle of habitual sin and lawlessness. Always check the fruit irrespective of the words people say.
When you find yourself around professing Christians who aren’t bearing any good fruit for the Lord it can be very tempting to lower your standards or question yourself. Do not lower your standards – shake off the ungodly company and move forwards. It is better to be alone than to be in the company of wolves in sheeps clothing!
We have to remember that for many Jesus Christ and the Christian title is nothing more than a bumper sticker, a box to check, and a label to wear in order to have a false sense of security. Having this attitude and approach will not save on the day of judgement, only true faith in Christ leading to repentance towards God can save us.
2. We can deceive ourselves.
If we don’t continually examine our lives against the word of God it will be very easy for us to fall away. We will become tossed into the pool of lukewarmness, yet still believe that we walk closely with the Lord when in reality he will sees us as strangers because we disobey him and his word.
The Lord has been so merciful to me in this area, and has on many occasions showed me how liable I am to self-deception through the godly friendships I have formed. These women lovingly pointing out the sin in my life and challenged me towards holiness. Though it is hard to hear, it is what true friendship and love is all about. This what I need, and this is what you need too!
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:6 KJV)
In summary, we must consistently test the character, lifestyle and fruit of both those around us and of ourselves against the word of God. We must not feel ashamed to hold fast to truth and stand on the word of God regardless of the circumstances. We want to be called faithful servants of Christ at his return and be welcomed into his kingdom, and what a glorious day that will be!
I hope you have enjoyed this series and will take these life lessons forward in your walk with the Lord. What is a lesson the Lord had been teaching you recently? Do let me know in the comments!