Jumping ship is impulsive. Stepping out of the boat requires a conscious decision. If you want to become a mature, functioning believer, you will have to step out of the boat of comfort and dependence upon others.
It is going to cost you. No, really, it is. Believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior is going to cost you. The Eternal life He provided through His sacrifice is free. But being branded a Believer, will COST you. Becoming a disciple of Jesus -beyond mere words and a few actions- THAT will cost you.
I have lived in several countries and cultures. I know that each one has its nuances and differences. Today I write from the U.S.A. Christian’s perspective. In the U.S., we have those who wear badges that proclaim them as Believers. And they probably really do “believe”. The badge is worn on Sundays and Holy Days and whenever else it is popular and convenient to be seen wearing one. These believe, yet they do not see. They do not hear, they do not follow. All truth and goodness is there for them, but because they are still in the boat, they do not access it. Our churches have become full of these badge wearers. And lest we are too hard on those who sit in the pews wearing the badge, let us turn our attention to the ones distributing those badges. The ones who stand in front and tell the millions that “God loves you so much, He would never use hardship to teach you, He wants to pour out bushel fulls of blessing all over you til you are sopped with blessings. He wants to baptize you in blessings! All you have to do is receive it!”.
Scripture states that He will supply all of our needs. Is that not blessing enough? Do we not trust in His sovereign wisdom to know what we need and what is merely a fleshly desire?
I just need to “position” myself and wait for Heaven to unleash a bucket-full?
Set aside your questions,
silence that whisper that says
“something is not right here”, still your discernment;
after all, it is all going to be O.K. The leaders said so!
Sitting in the badge wearer’s boat requires NO effort on our part. Filing in, filing out, subscribing to a rote cloaked in a “holy” mantle changes no one, changes nothing and requires nothing of us. Contrary to popular “church” teaching THERE REMAINS A PRICE TO BE PAID FOR YOUR FAITH! It may cost you friends, money, definitely popularity, some comfort, even jobs. In lands other than the cushy U.S.A. believers are not so entrenched with the consumer mentality and therefore they do not flinch when there is a price for their faith.
They are more invested in the Kingdom than in any project, goal or comfort zones.
Yet some here in the U.S. have branded them with a “poverty mentality”. Really? Wow. That speaks volumes about their own ignorance! A TRULY prosperous soul is content simply knowing that
1. the Lord is God,
2. He desires our companionship and has made that possible through Christ.
The rest is fluff! It is not necessary. Not saying that teaching beyond those points is evil, but without those points there is no foundation. And THAT is evil. Let’s go one step further. The list above of things that may be required of you does not go deep enough. What if if costs you family relationships? What if believing asks you to change your mind, to cleanse your heart? It does. It will cost you your independence in the sense that while you retain your unique characteristics, your method now must be about what is best for the King and His Kingdom. He is a good and wise King. He looks after His subjects. But He is less concerned about our temporary comfort than our eternal condition!
So your boat is your beliefs, and extends to the gatherings that you attend- or to put it more conventionally, the church you count as “yours”. Is the boat secure? In too many places the “churches” are Boats shot full of holes of being seeker- friendly, politically correct speech, fearful of rebuke or backlash. The truth and power of the Gospel is leaking out swiftly. The separation of sheep and goats has begun. The great Apostasy is upon us.
When you get out of the boat you truly MUST trust Him to lead you. Your focus is not on the routine- but on the very next step you are about to take. A wrong move could be disastrous! Thankfully the Lord provides the guidance through the precious Holy Spirit indwelling Believers, enabling them to develop into Followers.
What is in your heart? If what is in your heart ( referring to the God-deposits- dreams, Scriptural passions, God’s directives) does not match what is in your boat then GET OUT OF IT! If your “boat” is your church and God is not showing up there, then get out and find Him! If He shows up a little but it constantly restricted by time and program, STEP OUT OF THE BOAT!!!
Jesus didn’t live and minister in a boat. He lived in the world!
He walked upon the water of His trust and deep conviction of the Father’s sovereignty and faithfulness. The problem with these kinds of “churches” and teachings is that the individual gets swept up into a steady stream of regurgitated lukewarm teaching. That kind of food never develops one into a mature, fully functioning Follower. Instead, they are spoon fed and kept at an arm’s distance so that they may be controlled. There is no apostolic like leadership; no mentoring taking place, because that would mean that the mentor would no longer be in control; God would and well, now, doesn’t the “man of God” know best? Speaking from 20+ years in ministry- not always!
WHAT HAPPENED to the original pattern? Man happened. And hear if you have ears to hear, the Spirit is saying “enough” to the churches! Yes, a “pastor” has a place, as does an elder, a deacon and an evangelist, teacher, prophet and bishop or apostle.
ALL are to be disciples, regardless of what titles you feel are applicable to today’s time.
And that is what we have LOST here in the Church in America. We have lost sight that first and foremost, we are to be a Body, not an organization! That means we need one another, regardless of your skin, your locale and your creed. If you are acknowledging Christ as the Son of God, the only Savior and the written Bible as His Word, then you are part of the Body. There is ONE BODY, ONE Mission .
**”I worry for a Church so concerned about not making people uncomfortable when the very nature of submission to the Gospel is DEATH to self. Look at the Egyptian Coptic Christians who were beheaded yesterday. Look at Peter, who was crucified upside-down. Look at Jim Elliot, speared by the people he went to serve. Look at William Tyndale, martyred for his work in printing God’s Word. Look at Jesus. The true Christian life has nothing to do with comfort and everything to do with self-sacrifice.” –
“Because while Political Correctness may say: ‘Follow me and maybe we’ll find some Truth,’ Jesus humbly pleads, ‘Pick Up Your Cross and follow Me: I am the truth.’
People are dying for the faith we take for granted, that we take and hide under a bushel, that we take and paint vanilla — so we don’t get persecuted.
That’s what we get to decide and carry home, carry in our heads, carry around in what we read, what we watch, what we support, what we cheer: Cheap Plastic Commercialized Feel-Good Love? Or Wood Passionate Cross Made-New Love? Worth humbly laying down our lives for.”**
If I must choose between beheading and burning – separated eternally from our Father, I choose to be separated from my body!
Laying down my badge now and picking up my cross…
Acknowledgement: A photo and some quotes ** are taken from a recent post by Ann Voksamp .