Return to the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus.
I urge you to get real brothers and sisters in the Lord. What’s the biggest lie in your life right now? Something that is not real about you….Are you living a lie?
Revelation 3:1 – to church of Sardis - Jesus said to the church of Sardis…you appear to be alive, but I know you…You are dead..
Psalm 139:1 – 4 - He knows everything there is to know about us. There is nothing, absolutely nothing hidden from Him.
Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?" says the LORD; "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the LORD.
We so easily can portray an image of ourselves, which we actually are not. Let's please get real. We are so conditioned living in this world, growing up in such an environment that its so easy for us to not be REAL. Every Sunday people go to church, raise hands and worship, make an offering, all in the presence of God and go back without dealing with the real issues. Neglecting a major issue. Don't let the hype and glamour of lights, sound, music, flash buildings and coffee shops define your Christianity. Get real.
It can be likened to a person having a box of cow dung or manure in his living room and he goes about cleaning the windows, doors, tables and settles down to watch TV. He completely ignores the big box of manure, because it is too filthy to touch. What would you say to such a person? That's right....Get real. That would be absurd wouldn't it?
We communicate to people according to what we want them to think we are, rather than who we really are. That’s exactly what was happening in Sardis… People look at the size of the church, the music, the programs and activities, the conferences and conclude “This church is so loving, so much on fire for God”….But God sees through it all and knows the reality. Isn’t it? God says, you’ve done great getting the people to think that about you, but here’s the truth..!! "You appear to be alive, but I know you, you are dead"!! (Rev 3:1) In other words, Get real.
I would like to encourage you to examine yourself. Are you real? Does your life style easily blend into the New Testament?
If we were to ask our friends, what do you think of Tom….and write that down. And then if we were to ask God, what He thought of Tom…would that match? Or would the people say much more flattering things about Tom…than God would? If we are more concerned about what people would say than what God would, then we are more concerned about our reputation than our character. And we want people to think that we are a certain type of person rather than be honest before the Lord. Again...I say....get real!
Many a times when I worship, I find myself singing, saying the right things, having a smile on my face when people talk to me, I pray for them using the words that I know are the right words to say…be at prayer meetings, and still feel dry inside of me. Then I find myself putting in effort to somehow overcome my dryness and make myself be in the presence of God., like God doesn't know how I feel.. Not being real…I’ve learnt that when I know Jesus and the gospel of unending grace in Him, then I enjoy a level of intimacy with Him which allows me to be real and also tell Him the way I feel and know that He still loves me just the same. That assurance not only keeps me real before the Lord, but EMPOWERS me to overcome my weaknesses. It's so liberating to know that I can get real before God anytime, no matter how I feel or what I've done. He knows all things anyway. He knows my deeds even before I did them, He knows my thoughts and desires. There's nothing He does not know about me. So if I get real before Him and speak my heart out, I'm only being truthful. His love is unending. His mercy endures forever. His grace is sufficient...indeed.
So when people come to church and are not able to freely worship the Lord, don’t find it fulfilling, its possibly because they’re not yet free. When we truly know what Jesus did for us, when we know that we are redeemed from the curse of the law, when we know that we are the righteousness of Christ not because of how good we are and how much self control we have, but because of Jesus' finished work on the cross, when we know that apart from Him we are really nothing and can do nothing, then we can get real before Him. We confess before Him however we feel, whatever we are…nothing hidden from Him. He knows it all anyway. When we find another brother whom we can trust, we simply get real and open up with them as to who we actually are. And there’s much freedom in that confession and also is a mighty witness to the glory of Christ.
This is what confess your sins to one another so that you can be healed, really means. Or we can continue to pretend being who we are and be like the church in Sardis.
When we get real, both before God and ourselves, then and only then can we love others just the way they are. And that’s not just the ones who are obvious with their sinful behavior but also those who appear to be good. Coz we really don’t know what we don't see.
That’s what Jesus meant when He said Love your neighbors just as I have loved you. Knowing ALL there is to know about us, He still loves us. We tend to easily judge people…”He claims to be a Christian, why does he act like that? Why does he do that?” There is a place to judge as children of God…when people do ungodly and worldly things and justify them in the name of Jesus. For eg: Paul stood up to Peter and called him a hypocrite in Galatians.
Nothing witnesses more powerfully than being Real, because when you are real, all glory goes to Christ. There is nothing to boast of.
Phl 3:8 now makes sense, doesn't it?
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
People have said a lot of good things about me, but I stand before one who knows ALL there is to know about me. And that doesn't condemn me, but helps me be real. This is what Paul meant when said “I don’t care who judges me, even when my conscience is clear, that doesn’t make me anything…it’s the Lord who judges me. 1 Cor 4: 3-5
Are you one of those who aspires to be a great leader, or one of those who looks up to someone who is very successful….or are you one who simply loves Jesus for what He has done for you? Because that’s really all that matters.
A good test is this…Suppose you had a beautiful place to live in, fantastic views, luxurious 5 million dollar home, no financial difficulties, no debts, a genuine comfy life….except no God, no Jesus, no salvation…would you be content?
It’s easy to be accepted by people and go with the flow. But when we really be what Christ was like and become honest to ourselves, then the verse “if anyone hates you, remember that they hated me first” makes sense.
Most people want to go the heaven because they don’t want to go to hell..that is it! And that’s the problem with the watered down gospel message. Yes, people say salvation is a “Decision”,…but think of it, is it really a “decision”? Is it not the fruit of what you believe? Even in the gospels, there’s no place where people “decided” to believe. They either believed or not.
When Jesus is portrayed as the solution for your financial troubles, your solution for your health issues, your solution for your desired life style, then Jesus is presented as "useful" to you as opposed to being your savior, your redeemer and Lord. The fact is we are messed up people who really NEED a savior. However Jesus is most often presented as someone who will assist us in achieving our desired life style we already had before we "decided" to give our lives to Christ.
"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
The only way people will know that you are real is when you love them genuinely, without expecting anything in return. Accepting them just the way they are. You don’t have to go tell everyone all the sinful acts you’ve done. Of course not. But when you are real before the Lord, you also realize that there’s nothing to boast of in you and therefore you love everyone else like as though they are definitely better than you. Such love when manifested in you, will communicate the gospel with much power. Your prayers will be genuine and full of faith, (not in your ability to believe without doubting), but fully and totally in the love of God and His power.
Be Real. Stop faking your walk with God. Tell Him exactly how you feel and what you do when no one is watching. He knows it all anyway. Hate the sin in you and don't feel condemned. He already paid the price for your sins. When you are real before Him, you will love Him more. You will love others just as He loves you. You will see others as better than you.
I was radically transformed by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ back in 1997 in a most unusual way and unusual place. Read my testimony here. Over the years of my walk with God, I have come to realize a few basic truths that have altered my life.
True freedom is freedom from self-centeredness. Dying to yourself, your wants, your desires and to what gives you pleasure for the sake of others is more liberating than you think.