Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Come As You Are


Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.  Psalm 97:10

Come as you are does not mean "stay" as you are.  God does love you just as you are, but we are to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus.  It is not "loving" to tell people only the first part of the message and leave off the rest because we want to seem "nice" to them.  It's easier to go with the flow, but that is not what we were called to do.  Jesus said the world would hate us for following Him, because they hated Him first.  “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you."  John 15:18-19

We are not trying to "earn our way to heaven" by obeying God after we come to faith in Jesus.  We are loving Him by obeying Him.  "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."  John 14:21  He said the most important thing is to love God first and the second is to love your brother.  Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40  Nowhere did He say that the truth equals hate and lies (or partial truths) equal love.  We are to speak the truth in love.  This does not mean refraining from speaking.  It means staying calm, sticking to what God's word says on the matter and caring for the soul of the person.

Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:26-29

The Bible is very clear that there is a difference between stumbling or slipping and deliberately, willfully practicing sin.  One is unintentional due to our weak, sinful nature and the other is what God called "trodding on" His Son.  (Hebrews 10:26-31)  Don't trample the Son of God underfoot.  Don't abuse grace.  If we are truly born again, the Holy Spirit who dwells within us will help us overcome the sinful nature as we daily take up our cross and follow Jesus.

Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:38

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?  Luke 6:46

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.  John 17:14

Do not love the world nor 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 lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:22-24

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another. But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Titus 3:4-6

So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience.  You also lived your lives in this way at one time, when you used to live among them.  But now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it.  Colossians 3:5-10

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him.  They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.  But that isn’t what you learned about Christ.  Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God—-truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.  Ephesians 4:14-25

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

So to re-cap: God loves people, but He hates sin.  Whoever loves God should turn from sin.  If they slip, they should confess it to God and repent of it.  He is faithful to forgive.  Ask Him to help you live in a way that pleases Him.  He's worthy of all of our praise, thanks, worship and love.  This life is short and then you get to meet Him (and be with Him forever if you have placed your trust in Jesus as your Savior).  Don't trade heavenly, eternal treasures for worldly, temporary garbage.