We are called to Pay the Price, for what we Have
Once, years ago, my husband was holding meetings in another church. Every night people were coming forward, confessing sins, and surrendering their lives to Christ….
….yet….after a while…he thought there would be more outreach for Christ.
People who open up their lives to Christ usually want to share their joy with others….
…but, later in the evening meetings, the same people would come forward,….mostly for the same things.
“What was the reason?” he asked the Lord.
And the Lord said, “They will not pay the price for what they have. I have heard their confessions….I have heard them as they commit this and that part of their life to Me….
…..but when they get up from the altar….
….they will not hold the ground I have given them in their lives….
…..for surrender to me will bring attacks from the Adversary.”
From then on, my husband not only sought to preach about sanctification…..but also about the warfare which comes from following the Lord whole-heartedly.
Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (tricks) of the devil”
To stand in this scripture, is to hold on to the promises, and gifts, and callings….the grace and hope, that the Lord has won on the cross for us……against the temptations and tricks the world and the devil throw against us.
Our Strength is in the Lord,…..not in our surrender…..but we must stand with Him.
It is true, that when we are born again…..we do not possess all that He has for us.
We have the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Guide, and faith as a gift…..and so we have the ability to “grow in grace and the knowledge of God”.
But we have to grow.
What is it to grow in grace?…..well, we can go from grace to grace by using the ability and power you have been given. God will give us as much as we use….not as much as we want.
And what is it to grow in the knowledge of God?….it is to read, and seek understanding of His Word.
To use that understanding to come to Him and say,….
“Lord, I see you want me to be patient amid trials (Romans 5:3). I am not….I panic, I get frustrated, I grumble….forgive me.
Please show me, blessed Holy Spirit, how to be this way….and work this patience within me.”
His Word gives knowledge in light…..and the experience He leads you in gives you knowledge in love.
Luke 8:5, 11 “A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.
In this day, we tend to play down His Word as our authority….and play up our “right” to obey it or not.
But once we have heard God’s Word….we are saved or condemned….by what we do about it….
1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”
This “seed” has been spread everywhere….as Christ told His disciples to do.
Luke 8:12 “Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” (2 Timothy 2:26)
I have always thought of these “wayside hearers” to be the religious-hardened. Those that barely hear the Word in their ears, before rejecting it for themselves.
The Bible plainly says, the Word was sown “in their hearts”……how is this possible?…..with this outcome?
First let me explain that the Word is never for our ears,…alone.
If that were the case, it would be like documents filed in our mind, for latter…..mostly forgotten about.
No, the Word is always through the ears….to the heart.
There must be a response to the Word….not just an emotional response,….but a turning toward, and a holding onto.
So how was this Word in their hearts…..yet “devoured” by the Adversary?
(he is pictured as “the fowls of the air”. Notice the term, “devoured”….as in
1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”)
Because,….it is “trodden down”….then it is taken away by the devil.
When we receive the Word of God to us, we can do two things: hold on to it….or throw it down.
(My husband used the illustration of the Word as pieces of paper….and his pocket on his shirt as his heart.
The Word comes into the heart….but, oh, that does not mean anything for me…..now….and the paper (word) is taken from the pocket (heart) and tossed on the floor.
Oh, that Word is good, I should probably pray about that…..later….and the paper slides out of the pocket on to the floor.
We may have a number of “reasons” that the Word is not held on to….and obeyed…..but the Word always ends up on the floor.
And my husband is walking all over them! Illustrating the way we “trod them down”….
……..if we do not hold and obey them.)
When we receive God’s Word to us…..and it does not matter how it comes….through a message, the scriptures, through someone’s testimony….however it comes,…
….we must hold on to it….surrendering right then to that Word….
…….using it on ourselves, in honesty with God….for it is His Word to us.
Luke 8:8, 15 “And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bear fruit a hundredfold. And when He had said these things, He cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”
Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins (will), even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
If we keep God’s Word, in honesty (which shows it is a “good heart”), then the fruit of the Spirit will begin to manifest itself…first in us:
Love for the Lord and His Word…
Joy…that exuberance, which comes from His presence within
Peace..a settled union with God’s Will
Then the fruit of the Spirit without, to others…both of the household of faith and not:
Long-suffering or patience with others.
Gentleness or showing others Christ as we would children.
Goodness or kindness especially to those who do not show kindness to us.
Faith…that faith that stands with Christ in the world. (Jude 3)
Meekness….or keeping ourselves in our humble place before God..whether in success or failure.
Temperance…to be moderate or hang on with a loose hand all our worldly goods.
The price we pay, for what Christ has won for us…..and it is all of Him….but the price He asks us to pay….is to stand with Him in everything…