Monday, May 26, 2014

Diagnosis for a heart changed by God

As Christians or followers of Jesus, how can we tell if we are truly progressing in our walk with God? How can we tell if God is really changing our hearts for the better?

My Pastor put it perfectly yesterday during his sermon. What is the diagnosis for a heart changed by God?  Persecution.  Are you being persecuted for your faith? This really got me to thinking. The truth of the matter is, most of us would have to say No, of course not. That doesn't happen here in America. Well maybe not the type of persecution we hear about in other countries (Not yet, anyway), but do we suffer at all for our faith?  Do people make fun of us, reject us, talk about us behind our back because we follow Jesus? Have we lost friends over our faith, family members? Have co-workers shunned us, or perhaps we didn't get the promotion we deserved because our boss secretly hates Christians. Have we been targeted by the IRS? Hated by pro-choice and gay-marriage groups?  I'll admit that these sorts of persecutions are pretty mild compared to what's happening in much of the world where people are thrown in prison, raped, tortured, and executed for their faith.  But still. How much of even these benign forms of persecution do we endure?

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.2 Timothy 3:12

Hmm. Well it doesn't say all who believe in Christ Jesus, does it? No, it says all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus. So, maybe my pastor was right. Maybe persecution is a true indication of how much we live out our faith day by day, of how much we've allowed God to change our hearts.

Jesus himself said:
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. John 15:19-20

We live such comfortable lives here in America, but have we become too complacent? Have we become too comfortable? Have we made Christianity into a spectator sport? Into something that revolves around our needs and our wants and not around God?

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth." Revelation 3:15-16

That's Jesus talking. Not the sweet lamb Jesus but the Lion-of-the-tribe-of-Judah Jesus. He came to us first as a lamb, but the next time the world sees Him, He will be a lion.  And I don't think He's kidding for one second about this vomiting business. 

Are you being persecuted? Is there enough of Jesus shining through your life, enough of His glory and love evident in all that you do, that others are seeing it?  Or do you keep your faith for Sunday morning and a few devotionals during the week? 

I had to really think about this in my own life and it really convicted me.  I hope it gets you to thinking too.

And by the way, Happy Memorial Day!!



  1. Mon May 26th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Excellent post, yes convicting for sure, and certainly thought/heart provoking. Another 'timely word in due season', MaryLu !!! I often question myself ... questioning my -- life, choices, heart/thought processing, etc. Too often, I know I fall short. Thank-you for sharing this.
    "Happy Memorial Day" ... to all of my American friends, as you (we all) remember what this day is all about !!!
    Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

  2. I just listened to a sermon this morning where the pastor said that we should expect troubles in this life and this should not surprised us. The Bible tells is that we will have troubles. We need to be careful that we don't go out looking for persecution though just so we can "feel" Christian or be able to yell persecution. If we are doing what Scripture says, then persecution will find us. There are some groups, who I don't really think are truly Christian, that are so outspoken and so zealous and do it just so they can say, "see, look at how we are persecuted!"

    I don't think any of us here in America, or very few of us, actually know what true persecution is. I think it is a word the Western Church uses too much. I consider persecution, being like what is shown in the Bible. Being beaten, tortured, and killed for your faith. I watched the movie The Radicals last night, which is about the early Anabaptists, and it showed Michael Sattler being tortured and burned for his beliefs, and his wife was drowned for her beliefs. But I do believe there will be a day, and I wouldn't be shocked if it is sooner rather than later, where being a Christian is a death sentence.

  3. Hi Ladies! Happy Memorial Day! We all fall so short, Brenda.. and Emma.. you are so right. We shouldn't go looking for persecution to prove that we are Christians.. if we are living our faith out loud, it will find us! I also believe that persecution, real persecution is coming our way soon. God give us strength. :-)

  4. Hi, MaryLu!!

    While most of us don't suffer the extreme persecution for our beliefs as people in many countries do, I do feel that it is becoming harder to share the love of Jesus every day, and that the bible tells us it will continue so. Perhaps our being too lax in our Christian duty has helped contribute to some of the areas in which our religious freedoms have been revoked. There probably aren't many of us that take advantage of every opportunity to share the love of Jesus, myself included, and I pray to be more disciplined in that respect. At times, I wonder if the many religious posts I share online might be offensive to some people - but then remind myself that if anyone is offended, he/she is the one who needs to see the post!!

    Love and hugs, MaryLu!!