Friday, January 1, 2016
"On Fire": In 2016, Do What SPIRITUALLY PROFITS You!
"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?"---Luke 9:25(NKJV)
I don't know about you...
But whenever I read (or hear) that Scripture (there are other variations of it in Matthew 16:26 and Mark 8:36), I tend to think of things like fame and fortune. Oh, but I have said on many occasions that the Holy Spirit is my favorite DJ and *this morning*, a song came to my mind that put this verse in a completely different light (Psalm 18:28):
I was in high school when Toni Braxton first "broke" and I remember my mother letting me listen to her, but not at night. She used to say "I'm not going to have you hearing that you can't breathe without some guy while you're sleeping and then going to school acting crazy over him." Remember her other song "Breathe Again"? Yeah, flesh and blood did not reveal that (LOL).
Anyway, so although this was the jam, the hook is "You mean THE WORLD to me. You are my everything. I swear the only think that matters to me..."
What PROFITS it a man to gain THE WHOLE WORLD and destroy or lose him (or her) self?
How is it benefiting *any of us* to put ANYTHING or ANYONE before God?
Especially since it goes directly against what the Word tells us when it says to put *no god before God* (Exodus 20:3) and to love God with our all, which includes our heart (Mark 12:30-31). And one way to know if we're placing someone before God is if we are ignoring the Word in order to be with them.
Case in point: I know someone who at least *used to* (LOL) follow this blog. She recently got engaged. Yeah, seems like it would be awesome but he's a divorced man and no matter how much Christians may ignore God's teachings on how to interact with divorced people, the Word is clear (you can read a pretty "ouch thorough" article on it entitled "Divorce & Remarriage: A Position Paper"). I sent her the article and a friend of mine said that she stated on social media that she didn't need people to tell her that God doesn't want her to get married.
The unfortunate thing is *we all* need accountability because the Word says so: "...but exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Hebrews 3:13-NKJV) SIN IS DESIGNED TO DECEIVE YOU (Matthew 24:4). Not only that, but something God has been talking to me about, more and more as of late, is understanding what his mercy *really* is all about. That many folks are abusing it...*faaaaaaaaaaaar too much*. Here's an excerpt from the article "The Mercy of God":
Take heed of ABUSING the mercy of God. Do not suck poison, out of the sweet flower of God's mercy. Do not think that because God is merciful, you may go on in sin; this is to make God's mercy your enemy. None might touch the ark but the priests, who by their office were more holy. Just so, none may touch the ark of God's mercy, but such as are resolved to be holy. To sin because God's mercy abounds—is the devil's logic! He who sins because of God's mercy—is like one who wounds his head because he has a plaster. He who sins because of God's mercy—shall have judgement without mercy. Mercy abused, turns to fury. "Let none of those who hear the warnings of this curse consider themselves immune, thinking, 'I am safe, even though I am walking in my own stubborn way.' This would lead to utter ruin! The Lord will not pardon such people. His anger and jealousy will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will come down on them!" Deuteronomy 29:19-20.
Nothing is colder than lead when taken out of the mine; and nothing more scalding when it is heated. Nothing is blunter than iron—yet nothing is sharper when it is whetted. Just so, nothing is sweeter than mercy—when it is improved; yet nothing is fiercer than mercy—when it is abused! "The mercy of the Lord is upon those who fear him." Mercy is not for those who sin and fear not—but for those who fear and sin not. God's mercy is a holy mercy; where it pardons it sanctifies.
God's mercy is not so we can do what we want believing that he'll overlook it if we do...
God's mercy is for when we strive to do his will and then fall short. BIG DIFFERENCE.
And yes, if someone means *so much to us* that we're willing to overlook what the Word says is God's standard for relationships and marriage, they have now become THE WORLD to us and how can that be profitable, especially spiritually?
As I was telling someone recently, when the Word says that "pride comes before destruction" (Proverbs 16:18), one of the greatest forms of pride is knowing what the Word's standard is on something and somehow believing that *you are the exception* to it. Nope. God is not going to allow you to do something that's contrary to his Word because that would be contrary to his will and he grants/blesses what's according to his will (I John 5:14-15). Amazing how many people call themselves "followers of Christ" but the main thing they *don't* want to do is one of the main things we're called to do: *deny ourselves*:
"When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, 'Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'"---Mark 8:34(NKJV)
Honestly, we could stop there, but there's another word in the lead Scripture that jumps out at me to: PROFIT. When something profits you, that means it is "advantage; benefit; gain". The Scripture is asking us can anything *truly profit us*, can it really work to our advantage, benefit or gain, if it results in us ultimately losing our souls or destroying ourselves, even if that simply means the quality of life that we could have on this earth (John 10:10)? The answer is a resounding "no", but people do it anyway. Via the choices that they make. On a continual basis. Yep...the gate to destruction is quite wide (Matthew 7:13-14).
Which brings me to something that I watched yesterday...
While I was growing up, hands down, one of my favorite programs was A Different World and yesterday, there was a mini-marathon on. While watching a particular episode, I found myself wondering what some of the lesser spoken of characters are doing now. One of them is Ajai Sanders who played "Gina" in the last couple of seasons of the series. (To me, she was hilarious.)
Anyway, it appears that one of the things that she does is stand-up and I peeped a minute or so clip that had me be like "Ah! PROFIT!" She's not in church (although she's not cussing and I'm pretty sure she's not being literal about envying the porn industry); however, peep the very last thing that she said about "The Power of the V". Remember *that* commercial?
Anyway, here's the clip:
A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION. Whew! What an interesting *and real* way to look at fornication. How can using sexual sin---something that the Word literally tells us to *flee from* (I Corinthians 6:18)---going to bring you love when that is of God (I John 4:18)? See how sin deceives us?
It's no different than when the serpent told Eve that although *God said* not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, that it's not what God meant (Genesis 2-3). What he was doing back then, he's doing now. *It's still working now*. We've got to "wise up" (Matthew 10:16).
IT DOES NOT WORK TO OUR ADVANTAGE...
IT DOES NOT BENEFIT US...
WE DO NOT GAIN ANYTHING TRULY BENEFICIAL...
WHEN WE DECIDE TO PUT ANYONE OR ANYTHING BEFORE GOD.
Like Ajai, when we do, we're basically running a non-profit organization (just wow!).
And so, as we're into Day One of another year, being that I'm aware that "16" biblically symbolizes love and loving Christ's way (CHRIST'S WAY), the prayer I have for all of us is that we won't make "the world", no matter what form it may come in, more important than our soul and what GOD SAYS is good and right...is *profitable* for it.
He has *so much more* in store for those of us who let him be God...
Which includes allowing him to lead us to *his best* based on *his Word*!