What Causes Me to Be Worldly?

Our team has been studying James this semester and this was a question that our team discussed in devotions this past week. Will, asked us all to answer so we started at one end of the table and I was the next to the last person in line to answer.

 My first thought was “Oh, good! I have some time to think about what I’m going to say.” Then, my thought was, “Well, I better listen to what the others are saying because it is important.” Then, while the others were speaking, my flesh and the Spirit were warring in my heart. I knew that I didn’t have to think about what to say. I knew that there was one very big thing in my heart and life that caused me to be worldly; that caused me to be selfish and sinful! It was my fear. Of course, I didn’t want to say that out loud. The team already had heard me say that I struggle with fear and in fact, it was what I always mentioned. I didn’t want to say that I still struggle. What would they think of me? Would they think I’m a failure for not being able to conquer that specific area in my life? Would think that I’m an awful wicked sinner for not trusting in the Lord for my fears? I’ll probably cry when it is my turn to speak. Would they think I’m such a girl for crying? I do this every time! Would they look down on me and reject me? Would God be disappointed in me for saying the exact same thing over and over and over? What?! No, wait…

There it was…lying out there for God and me to see. My fear was oozing out of me like sin always does.  It was gross and I hated it. I had to tell the team that I still struggle with fear and it causes me to be worldly. I still want to look good in front of people and I want people to think I’m godly and like Christ. Don’t get me wrong. Being Christ-like is not a bad thing, but “every Godward motion is opposed by the flesh.” What I mean by that is that most of the time my motive for being godly and Christ-like was so that others would see me and think “good” thoughts about me and like me because I was “spiritual.” When I told the team I did cry, but God was humbling me and loving me at the same time.

God sometimes uses our weaknesses in our hearts to show us how much we need Him. When our sin is exposed we find that we need the grace of Jesus. Christ died for the sin we have done, for the sin, we are doing this very second, and for the sin, we will do in the future. We don’t have to wallow in self-pity. We can rest in the love of Jesus and with His help, we can change and become more like Christ. We certainly can’t do it ourselves. I relearn that every day. God has been teaching me to be humble. To realize that I will ALWAYS sin, but because I am saved by the grace of God through the shedding of the blood of His Son on the cross, who died, rose and is coming again, I can conquer sin. I have already won because God is on my side. God is “cementing” my foundation in Christ! He is molding me to be more like His Son, Jesus!

 What causes you to be worldly? In James 4:1 it says,

“From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” Then, in James 4:4 it says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” When I read this, I am so moved because I realize that every time I sin, I act as an enemy against God. My God, who loves and calls me His own. Thankfully there is more because James 4:6-10 says, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

I will probably always struggle with fear, but I have Christ! If I humble myself and just be honest with God, seek after Him and confess to Him about my sin and struggles, He will use them to bring me closer to Himself. What an awesome God!

Imperishable Inheritance

Last week our team was in Wilmington, NC at Grace Baptist Church and Grace Christian Academy. We came in knowing that it was going to be busy and exhausting because it was going to be different from our normal schedule. What made this week different was the chapels for elementary and high school every day plus, our regular responsibilities for the week which include: a Cola War, Irish Concert and this week a Bluegrass and Barbeque night too. Talk about a crazy week! Despite our weaknesses, God was working…

Our team came into the chapel services every day before the invitations so that we could council kids that responded. What we didn’t expect was the number of kids that did respond. Even the first day we all had about 2-3 elementary kids for the first service and then we talked to about 2-3 high school kids each after the second service! All week we had kids from elementary to high school and even adults in the regular evening service respond to the Gospel and many were saved. There were some who got an assurance of their salvation and some who had questions about their spiritual walk. At the end of the week, we had all given the gospel multiple times. I personally got to talk with 14 kids this week about the gospel and it really has opened my eyes. What I mean by that is that God was even working in my heart as I was giving the gospel to these kids! For one thing, it is God who saves, not us! And two, I was growing in my knowledge and most of all confidence in what I believe and what Christ did for me on the cross. The Holy Spirit works! The Gospel works! We are saved by the grace and blood of Christ alone!

Most of all, the point of this article is to encourage and for all us to realize that we who are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ have an imperishable inheritance. I was reading just this morning in 1 Peter 1 (ESV) that “[God]has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” As soon as I read that I was thinking of a few girls that I talked to this week who were not sure of their salvation. They were not sure if they understood it when they first asked Christ to save them. I, of course, could not assure them of salvation only the Holy Spirit can do that. So I took them to Romans 6 and shared with them that sometimes we may have sin struggles in our lives that we feel we are a slave to and that makes us think we are unsaved when really we feel guilty and we don’t think God is big enough to cover those sins. However, once we are saved “we are not under the law, but under grace.”(v. 14) Sin has no more power because we have Christ in us. “For Christ also suffered once for sin the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit!” (1 Pet. 3:18 ESV) Christ has died once for sins and He doesn’t have to die again. Christ and His salvation are alive in us and so we don’t have to sin.

The last part of that passage in 1 Peter 1 says, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” Though trials, pains, and temptations may rise throughout our lives, we can have joy that we have Christ who has given us an imperishable inheritance with God in Heaven for eternity!

Beginnings

 

My name is Sarah and welcome to my blog!. You may be wondering what the purpose of this blog is and what it will be about. Well, first off I better tell you that I do something that is very interesting. I travel for a living with an evangelistic group all over the US. The group I travel with actually gets the privilege of staying with the families of the churches that we minister to and it is usually very home-like and comfortable! And to make this blog a little more fun…I might throw in some funny situations or stories. You never know!

The purpose of this blog then is to tell you what God is teaching me on the road as I travel. I guess that’s why I have named my blog “Beyond the Road Less Traveled.” The team I travel on is not just about traveling. It’s about helping churches be healthy in their spiritual growth and also in our own lives. Being on the road is not easy. You’re away from home; away from ease and comfort. No, I don’t mean physical ease and comfort, I actually mean spiritual ease and comfort. It is a daily battle here when you are spreading the gospel and you are constantly being convicted by God’s Holy Word!

God has taught me so much on the road already that I almost don’t know where to begin. First, off I would like to say that I have learned a lot from the people on the team. I have learned more than I thought I would actually. I guess you could say that it is difficult to be humble when you are trying to impress other people on the team. Yep…I’m fearful. In fact, that is probably the biggest thing that God is trying to teach me is to trust in Him and to worry more about what He thinks of me than other people. People are going to see my mistakes and they certainly see when I am fearful towards them. I know I’m not the only one sinning, but it sure feels like it. Basically, being on the road is a real test of who you are and it will definitely show you your weaknesses and your selfishness. I will probably get more into this in a later post, but for now, thank you for reading and I hope to hear from you!