Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How to Not Fall Away

"You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes." -Deuteronomy 11:18 (ESV)

When you reach a certain age, you and everyone else around you start getting busy with college, work, friends, and just life in general. I have heard several different statistics, but in my own personal experience, about 1/3 people will fall away from Christ before they graduate college. If you do not believe me, look at the number of high-schoolers in the average congregation, and then look at the average number of college-age people. I can guarantee you that no one who was once actively seeking Christ knew that they would fall away before it happened.

We tend to believe that we are invincible at times. "Oh but I will never fall away." we all tell ourselves. However, we can see very clearly that that statement is not necessarily true. We know that those that enter heaven are few (Matthew 7:14). So how can we be sure, absolutely sure that this doesn't happen? How can we be sure that we will not fall away in the future?

Study is crucial to reminding yourself of the importance of Christianity, and of the Law. Deuteronomy 11:16-21 focuses on this. Starting in 16, it says, "Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them" Now yes, this was God speaking to the Israelites, but this still applies to us today nonetheless. God was giving them instructions on staying faithful to Him.

In order to serve Christ, we must first know what His commandments are, but we must also remind ourselves of them. I have been a Christian for quite some time, and have grown up hearing His Word my entire life. However, I can guarantee that whenever I do not study constantly, and whenever I do not put effort into learning more about God, I lose interest. And I can promise you, I can guarantee you, that if you do not make sure and write His words upon your hearts, and learn of them and bind them on a sign on your hand (Deuteronomy 11:18) then you will soon forget them, and you will fall away.

"You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorsteps of your house and on your gates, that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth." (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 gives very clear instructions on how we should view God's commandments. We ought to be constantly reminded of them, and constantly following them. The moment we start making exceptions and stop reminding ourselves of these laws, that is the moment that we begin falling away.

We can show up every Sunday, we can pray every evening, and we can even read our Bibles every
day. If we do not listen to the words we are reading, and if we do not see the words for what they are, and if we do not act upon them and share them, then are we really better off than those who have never known the name of Jesus? (Matthew 10:33)

The thing about Christianity is that it is not an idea that we choose to accept. It is not a pew on Sundays. It is not a list of songs that we sing every week or a certain amount of "Amen"s that we say during each sermon. Christianity is not a mask that hides our true selves.

Christianity is a decision to serve God. It is a decision to bring souls to Him. The reason so many fall away from Christ is because they do not see Christianity for what it is: a life. A life that starts when you are baptized and continues on in the same way until after death.

If you are not living God's Word, then I ask that you change something now. If you are not studying regularly, and making it a point to know and do God's Will, then I implore that you change that. Start now. The deadline is the end of your earthly life, and you can always start now. Just please do not wait to do so. You never know when it is too late, and you will be past the point of no return.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Submission Like Isaac's

"When they came to the place where God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood." -Genesis 22:9

          We often read Genesis 22 and think about Abraham's great willingness to give God everything He asked for. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his first and only son to God without hesitation. However, we rarely look at things from Isaac's point of view. Isaac clearly was aware of the process of offering sacrifices, as we see in Genesis 22:7. However, Isaac was 100% submissive to both his earthly father, and Heavenly Father in all things.

          In this world, the word "submission" is a dirty word. It's become such a dirty word, that it makes the average person's skin crawl in disgust just at the mere thought of it. But we as Christians cannot have this attitude towards it. How can we fully devote ourselves to God, giving Him all things, without submitting to His every word? 

          The reason that the world sees "submission" as such a dirty word, is that it essentially means to remove all will from one's self, and to take on the will of someone else. We want freedom. We want to be our own people. But in all reality, no matter what we believe, we are never ours. We either belong to God, or we belong to the devil. There is no middle-man. There is no other option. We have heaven, and we have hell. We cannot serve two masters, (Matthew 6:24) meaning that in order to serve Christ, we must first submit ourselves wholly to Him. We need to make His will our will.

          As we have previously established, Isaac was old enough to understand sacrifices. He understood their importance, and had clearly witnessed them before, meaning he was more than likely over the age of 12. Now keep in mind that Abraham had Isaac at a very old age, so he was over 100 at this time. Isaac could have easily escaped from Abraham. 

          Isaac could have easily taken down his father. Isaac was placed on top of the wood, even though he knew what was going to happen. He was willing to give up his own life for God. He understood that the very last thing he would ever see was his father's eyes, as he was killing his own son. And yet, Isaac did not run. Isaac did not attempt to escape. Isaac stayed.

          God was not going to make Abraham give a human sacrifice. However, God sent His son, as well, to be a sacrifice. God allowed Jesus to be put up on the cross, and Jesus never opened up His mouth against those that were accusing Him (Isaiah 53:7). 

          If Jesus was submissive to those murdering Him, that we could be saved, why not submit ourselves to the One that promises eternal life? We need to learn from Isaac, and be obedient even in death just as Christ was, (Philippians 2:8) and be focused so much on Him, that we no longer have to worry about the things of this world.