Most of the world has been “self-isolating” and “social distancing” for the last few months. Hopefully, Christians used that time to study God’s word and draw closer to Him, rather than being inundated by the mainstream news and its reports on this flu which has caused so much panic.
“Cabin fever” has been wearing away at our nerves. Some business owners are finally able to re-open their doors, and many people are able to return to earning a living. Nerves will be on edge, and there’s a good chance that anger will cause many problems. As Christians, we need to keep ourselves true to our Lord. We need to walk in His ways and be sure we represent Him well. Our walk with the Lord is a fulltime journey, and we need to be sure that we don’t falter.
“ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways” (Psalm 119:1-3).
In other Bible translations, the phrase “keep his testimonies” is translated “obey His laws” or “observe His rules.” His rules are for our own protection; and by obeying Him, we stay healthier and happier. Walking in His ways means we don’t deviate from His law and his rules. We don’t lie, cheat, or steal. It also means we love others as ourselves.
Jesus is always our example. Jesus showed love as He healed people, forgave people, and shared the Gospel. His life reflected the love of God but He always came against those in authority who twisted God’s law. Jesus was God incarnate, but Christians have the Holy Spirit sealed within us. Since He lives in us, we should hear His guiding voice easily. Stress comes when we’re tempted to go against God by those in authority or by our own self-interest. If we love Him, we need to follow His example.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Vines Expository Dictionary says this about “love” as it’s used in this verse: “Christian love has God for its primary object, and expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to His commandments. Self-will, that is self-pleasing, is a negation of love to God.” If we love our Lord Jesus, we keep His commandments (His doctrines) and walk in His ways. The reverse of that is, if we don’t keep His commandments, then we must not love Him. When we keep the commandments of our Lord Jesus without deviation, we are blessed with a clear conscience and a better life.
After being confined to our homes for so long, it might be tempting to “go wild.” We need to watch our own actions closely to be sure that we aren’t influenced by people who’ll cause us to stumble in our walk. We’re going into the world, and we need to be an example to the world instead of allowing the world to influence us.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).
The answer to those questions is “none.” There’s a difference between associating with the unrighteous people of the world for business purposes and fellowshipping with them as friends. Fellowshipping with others means we visit with each other, seek advice in times of trouble, and share common beliefs. We need to work, and many people we come into contact with aren’t Christians. If we’re walking closely with Jesus, others will see Him living in us, and that opens doors for witnessing. We need to share our faith with the lost, but if we fellowship with them or join in their sinful ways, we deny our Lord.
A Christian is only righteous because of our faith in Jesus… it’s His righteousness that makes us righteous. If we choose to live in opposition to His ways, then we’re opposed to Him. So how do we remain uncompromisingly true to the doctrine of Christ and still live in this fallen world? To remain faithful to Him, we must study His word and apply it to our life. Instead of measuring your choices against what the world accepts, measure your life against Scripture.
It’s not always easy to resist the temptation to join others in sin, but it is a choice we make. We have freedom in Christ, but that freedom isn’t a license to sin.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
Satan never rests, and he wants you to stumble in your Christian walk. To him, the battle for the souls of humanity is continuous, and it’s his intention to stumble us at every turn. If you don’t resist his ploys, then non-believers will see your sin and mock Jesus. They will use your failures as proof that Christians are hypocrites. We are only human and we fail, but our failures bring us to our knees asking for forgiveness. Although Satan is always there trying to turn us onto the wrong path, Jesus is always willing to forgive our sin and lead us in the paths of righteousness.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
When we ask for forgiveness, we need to mean it and turn away from the sin that cripples us. It’s easier to walk with the Lord if we aren’t crippled by sin.
When we study Scripture, we find there’s no middle ground for us. Either we’re in fellowship with Him, or with Satan. God says to have no fellowship with unrighteousness, period. Christians need to be the light that shines in this dark world and preach the truth to those who are condemned by their sin. We preach either with words or with the way we conduct our life. Until a non-believer comes to know Jesus, we aren’t to fellowship with them.
“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:6-8).
Every Christian was once an unrepentant and unforgiven sinner. Once we realized that we were dying in our sin and turned to Jesus, we were forgiven. Praise God for that forgiveness. Now His light illuminates our path, and we need to walk in His ways. The light of the Lord Jesus shines through us into this fallen world. If we reflect His light in all that we do, then others will be able to follow too.
We face many things today that cause turmoil and upset. If we aren’t vigilant, we may wander from His path of righteousness. This latest virus has been used by Satan to test all of us. As we draw closer to the Rapture, things will get worse. Difficult choices must be made. Do you want to have a tracking chip placed in you? Or is that too much like the mark of the beast described in Revelation? This is a choice we may face very soon. The Rapture will precede that evil mark, but it’s just one more sign of how close we are to the Rapture.
Jesus never said our walk with Him would be easy, but He overcame the world. “These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
The tribulation referred to in this verse is suffering, sorrow, and trouble. If you walk close to Jesus, you may be mocked and persecuted by worldly people. If you choose not to take a chip into your body, you may lose a job. There are many challenges to our faith that we face each day, and we have to choose wisely. The only way to choose wisely is to walk close to Christ.
Today, most Christians have already allowed their fellowship with each other to be compromised. The fellowship we find in worship has been thwarted… don’t shake hands, don’t be close to each other, wear masks. This isn’t what Scripture dictates. It says to call for the elders when we’re sick so they can lay hands upon us and pray. Jesus went against the “social distancing” rule when He touched and healed lepers and had dinner with sinners. The first Christians didn’t allow anything, even being thrown to lions or imprisoned, to compromise their walk with the Lord. We live in times that try men’s souls and too many Christians choose to let the world dictate our standards instead of God.
“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you…” (John 15:20a).
If indeed we are His disciples, then He is speaking to each of us. We will be challenged and persecuted when we walk in His ways, but that shouldn’t compromise our walk.
The majority of Christians understand very little about what our Lord meant by His statement, “…Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34b).
Ear-tickling pastors don’t preach about this. Instead they hone their sermons to be politically correct to be sure not to violate their tax-exempt status.
We must crucify our own selfish interests and submit our life to Christ. When we take up our cross, we must be prepared to be rejected as Jesus was, persecuted, maltreated, denied the fundamentals of God- given rights. We may even have to die for our Lord. The first century Christians faced much persecution and torture, but would not compromise their faith. The government tried to force them to deny Christ; but rather than stop the advancement of Christianity, it only fueled the fire.
Do we have that same fire? Are we willing to walk in His ways rather than follow the ways of the world?
When Peter and other apostles were arrested for sharing the Gospel, he had an answer. “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
The doctrine of Christ is binding on all born-again believers. We may have to choose between friendships and walking with Christ; and there will be times when family will reject us because of our faith. We may even be jailed for our faith. None of that should hinder our walk with our Lord. When we obey God rather than men, we will walk closer to Him.
As we gradually are allowed to step out into the world, be sure that your walk with Jesus is not compromised by joining in the ways of the world. Remember to obey God rather than men.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos”— God breathed.
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