If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. Matthew 16:25 NLT
One can’t, at once, promote two reputations. Promote God’s and forget yours. Or promote yours and forget God’s. We must choose”, writes Max Lucado.
We all have people we know and love that as they age and get closer to the end than the beginning of their lives, look for answers about an afterlife in the religions of this world. They seem content to continue down the easier wide path that leads to the edge of the abyss, fully believing their ‘angel wings’ will miraculously appear and carry them on into heaven, or their interpretation of heaven.
My heart aches as I beseech God to open their eyes so they will seek the answers from Him, not from this world. This world’s only offer is an enticing window dressing. I know because I looked longingly into those windows for years. After I purchased what it had to offer, the sparkle quickly faded away like mist on a hot summer morning, leaving me face down on the ground with a mouth full of gravel.
When I made the choice to give up on the worlds wisdom, my reputation went along with it. My choice to follow Jesus to heaven, not Satan over the edge of that cliff into hell, labelled me a religious fool. But I was strengthened with the words in 1 Corinthians 3:18… “If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God . . . .”
Comforting words to the stinging rebuff one often receives when one disagrees with the norm. Still my prayer is that they will be set on fire for the Lord, thus rescuing them from the fires of hell.
Am I asking the impossible or losing hope in God’s power? Is my despair a feeling of their rejection of my new reputation? Or is it that I believe the Bible when it tells me what kind of forever lies beyond deaths door and their time to choose is running out.
A quote from Dr. David Jeremiah says… “Make no mistake – when we reject the Creator-God of Scripture, we must find a substitute. When we reject God, we turn away from His love and provision and become our own god.”
Ann Graham Lotz words hit the mark when she explains the cost to anyone who decides to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior . . .
Separation from the world is logical, since we operate on a totally different level in every area of our lives. But separation is also a command we are to obey for our own benefit, lest we be pressed into the world’s mold. However, separation from the world requires a certain amount of courage, because the world often views our separation as an indictment of itself and resents us for it.
Jesus underscored our separation from the world when He said,“You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19
Hates you? Do you doubt this? Then I suggest you take a strong public stand for the uniqueness of Who Jesus is for the truth of the Bible from cover to cover, for the necessity of living a life of integrity and purity and humility in order to please God. Then count the seconds before someone labels you an extreme fanatical element of the religious right! But while the world may mock you, heaven applauds you!”
The last quote I offer in the hopes of encouragement for Christians or those seeking, is from Walter Wangerin, Jr. which he bases on Ecclesiastes 6:2 and names his article —
“The question, my children, is not whether you will suffer but how you will suffer. For either you will take the world’s terms as your own and give as good as you get — an eye for an eye, spit for spite, pain in equal measure —
Either, I say, you will rage like the world to save yourself, feeling justified in any counterattack and changing nothing whatever beneath the sun —
Or you will find in unearned suffering an opportunity of the spirit. This is a hard saying, I know. But it is not impossible. The presence of Christ in you can translate suffering into a ladder — a Jacob’s ladder with four rungs up toward redemption and four rungs down that holiness might enter the world again.”
So… my advice to you is – do not worry about your reputation, but promote God’s reputation whatever the cost! I do encourage you to keep your saltiness, but temper it with Christ’s words of love.