Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happiness and being on fire for the Lord!

I heard a sermon recently given by a young person (18) to the youth group, saying this very thing...

She had found happiness and was "On Fire for the Lord!"

She mentioned that she grew up in a Christian home as her parents are very much involved in her church. She did a pretty good job considering this was most likely her first sermon she has ever given. She gave much attention to the use of Scripture and I commend her for that. But I can see problems coming in the future for her unless something changes. Let me set the scene for you...

The sermon begins with a story of her life up to basically the teen years (appropriate considering the audience she is speaking to). She tells of being a good person and a good student. She was on fire for the Lord and all was good in her life. She had a boyfriend and they began fighting all the time on the phone. When her senior year in school started, she found out it was harder for her than expected. She was always mad and mad at the world. (she lost her fire). So, she read Scripture to find out what it says about "happiness." She dumped her boyfriend and was back on fire for the Lord. She went on to say that she had more trials (lost her fire) and that she searched Scripture to find out what it says about "happiness." Again, she was on fire, especially since she had just gotten a new boyfriend.

Please don't get me wrong here. I think she did a pretty good job on her sermon (message) to the youth. She showed the importance of using Scripture when you are going through tough times. Absolutely correct to do that! She spoke intelligently and it was obvious she spent some quality time on her preparation.

Here is where my concern comes in...

when we base our walk with Christ on how we "feel," we are setting ourselves up for a roller-coaster ride. To be on fire for the Lord should not be based on emotions...

We are told in Scripture that we WILL go through trials and tribulations. No promise of peace, happiness and joy (as far as us being on fire for the Lord!) when the "soft" gospel is presented, people will understandably fall at the first sign of trouble. Why? Because they are expecting peace, happiness and joy.

If I could make a suggestion to this young girl, I would have her search Scripture for the need to repent of sins. To her credit, she did mention the need to leave our burdens at the altar (which is close to what we should do), I would just suggest that she take it a little bit further. If a person only feels the need to "figuratively" leave our burdens at the altar, he will still not know just how God see's him. We need to get the message out there that we are all sinners. Each and every one of us! ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God! So, to tell someone that they are a sinner is not enough, and to tell someone that all they have to do is "leave" their burdens at the altar, again, is not enough.

Again, "telling" someone they are a sinner is not the way we should do it.
What we should be doing is "showing" someone they are a sinner.

How do we do that?
We use the Ten Commandments. It acts as a mirror to show us how wretched we truly are.

Ten Commandments
10. You shall not covet.
who among us has never coveted something or someone?
09. You shall not bear false witness.
who among us has never told a lie?
08. You shall not steal.
who among us has never stolen anything in our lifetime?
07. You shall not commit adultery.
who among us has never looked at another person with lust?
06. You shall not murder.
who among us has never so much as hated another person?
05. You shall honor your father and your mother.
who among us has always done what our parents have told us to do?
04. Remember the Sabbath to keep it Holy.
who among us has always remembered the Sabbath?
03. You shall not blaspheme the Lord's Name.
who among us has never used the Lord's name in vain?
02. You shall not make for yourself any graven image.
who among us has never made other things our god?
01. You shall have no other gods besides Me.
who among us has always put God first in our life?

The Bible tells us that if we break just one of the Commandments, then we are guilty of breaking all of them!

See, I can tell someone that "they" are a sinner. But if all they know is that they are a sinner they will still fall short. We are told that sin is transgression of the Law. Let's show people what God's Word says about them. As for me, I am a lying, thief, and adulterer at heart, a murderer at heart, a covetous person, a person who has not always honored my parents, a Sabbath breaker, a blasphemer, an idol worshipper and I have not always put God first in my life! I am a wicked man! It was when God's Law was presented to me that I realized just how wretched I truly am! I was headed for hell and I needed to cry out to God to save me.

How about you?
You can fool yourself into thinking you are a really good person. Maybe you will only admit to having lied at some time in your life. By man's standards, that would be pretty good. But by God's standard, you are still just as wretched as I am. All liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. No homosexual, no thief, no adulterer, no liar, no covetous person will enter heaven.

When a person realizes they are a sinner then and only then will they truly cry out for God to save them. And God did just that! He sent His Son to die on the cross while we were yet sinners. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus to save us and we repent of our sins we will be saved. Our sins will be washed away by the Blood of Jesus on the Cross!

We were once His enemy but now we can be seated at His Table!

So when we realize our sins we can truly come to the altar and give them over to God by repentance. We become a new creature in Christ. The old self has died and we are now ready to live life anew in Christ Jesus!

It is when we become a new creature that we will find True Happiness.
Happiness comes when we realize that we are saved from Hell. Regardless of what we are facing here on earth, it is nothing compared to what Jesus endured on the Cross. Happiness is not found in our boyfriends or girlfriends. It is found in Jesus Christ!

Are you on fire for the Lord? Don't let the Light burn out on your life by circumstances. Always let your light shine even in the midst of trials and tribulations. It is during those difficult times that people will see Jesus living within us. If we keep falling away because of difficult times, then we do not have Jesus living within us, but the world is still living in us.

Put your faith and trust COMPLETELY in Jesus and repent of your sins.
Your being on fire for the Lord, will burn forever!


Question of Identity said...

'Always let your light shine even in the midst of trials and tribulations.'

This is absolutely correct.

I think that it was John Wesley that said 'Get on fire for the Lord and people will come and see you burn!'

How we need to keep that fire burning!

Good to have you back blogging! Have had Time 2 Change withdrawals (lol).


pastorbrianculver said...

Thanks Neil!! I have had withdrawal pains too. I am excited to be back on the blog-o-sphere!

michelle said...

yay! you're back!

pastorbrianculver said...

Gee, it's nice to be missed!! ;o)

Rhea said...

I was missing the posts too :-)

WayneDawg said...

Great post my brother!

pastorbrianculver said...

thanks Wayne! hope you and your family are doing well