(Ezek 3:18 NIV) When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.
What do all these words have in common? They should all describe Christians. Are these words people would use to describe your Christian walk with Christ? If not maybe you better do some soul searching and some heart to heart talking to God.
I know that many people think of being a fanatic as a bad thing. Well don't let the crazy people who have been called fanatic turn you away from being a true fanatic for Christ. I am not talking about selling everything you own, wearing flowing robes and sandals, preaching on the street corner about doomsday; I am talking about living your life in a way that glorifies Christ, Who bought you with His life. If you live for Christ, meaning putting Him first, you will be labeled a fanatic. Count on it.
Even many Christians will label you as a fanatic. That's okay, that is between them and God. I know many people think I am a fanatic, but I am sure that when I meet my Savior face to face, He will not say, "Ralph, you really went overboard. I did not mean for you to be so consumed." In fact let's take a look at some scripture about how we should live our lives.
(John 12:25 NIV) The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
(Rom 12:2 NIV) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(1 Cor 3:18-20 NIV) Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."
Remember what Jesus said the greatest commandment was? (Mat 22:37 NIV) Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' I don't know about you but for me it is hard for me to love someone or something with all my heart, soul and mind and not be committed to them. It is natural to be enthusiastic, extreme, inspired and consumed by whatever we love with all our heart, soul and mind.
I am not trying to say that every word that comes out of your mouth has to be about Jesus Christ, but I do believe that every word that comes out of your mouth should be weighed against that love for Christ. What I mean is I find it hard to believe someone who loves the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind will continue to talk like a drunken sailor.
When we love someone, truly love them, we will naturally try to do what is best and pleasing for them. You don't try to hurt those that you truly love. If you do hurt them you will feel remorse, it is all part of true love. Yet we often don't have any concern for God's feelings. We accept His free gift of salvation and then go right back to OUR business. Oh we have lots of great explanations for our actions. After all we can't be salt and light if we stay in church all the time. I will agree with that, your light has to be in the darkness to truly shine, but if you think you have to do as the world does to show them your light, think again. How can your light shine through the slime and filth of sin? It is like turning on a bright flashlight which has mud and dirt on the lens, no light can shine through the filth. First you must clean the lens.
I used to have a problem speaking to non-believers about Jesus. I hate to admit it but I was embarrassed. I was afraid of what people would think of me. Then one day I had a friend who had known me before I rededicated my life to Christ. His name was Bill and I found out that he was dying. I wanted to witness to him but just could not get the words out. Over the next week I decided that I would speak to him about his soul. The problem is that I never got the chance, he died the day before I was going to speak to him. I will not candy coat this at all, if no other Christian spoke to Bill in that week, then I am sure he is in eternal punishment. Don't get me wrong, Bill was a great guy. He was good and loving, but none of that matters in the least, all that matters is whether he ever accepted Christ as his savior. The thought that he did not make it to heaven grieves me but I can't go back and change it. I can, however, make sure that it does not happen again because I am reluctant to speak out.
Here is another verse that I now take very seriously: (Mat 10:32-33 NIV) "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
Some of the hardest people to deal with for me are other Christians. I think they tend to think I am a fanatic more often than the lost do. I try not to judge anyone, I have no right to judge other than the fruit that comes out of their lives. The saying; 'Been There Done That' applies to my Christian walk. I sat in the back of the church and get to my car and was half way home before most people got out of the building. I believed that you could take all this religious stuff too seriously. I had one foot on the solid Rock and one in quick sand. I should not have to tell you which one was being pulled on harder. The world has a very powerful suction, you cannot withstand it for long. If you try to keep one foot in the world you will eventually have both feet there.
You cannot stand still. You will either be moving towards God or away from Him. Jesus said: (Mat 6:24 NIV) "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. He was talking about money but you can replace that word with the world and the meaning is the same.
God has given me a passion to help other Christians become fanatic, enthusiastic, extreme, inspired, consumed! It is not an easy journey, it takes work. I did not change over night, and I am not where I should be yet. It is a growing process, it is a slow and sometimes painful process. You need to not only read the Bible, but pray for understanding. Many Christians don't even bother to read God's Word, much less speak to Him on a daily basis.
As my friends know, I love the book of Ezekiel. I take a lot of ribbing about that, but God has really spoken to me through this book. When I try to speak to Christians about making more commitments to God I often have this verse come to mind: (Ezek 3:5-9 NIV) You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel-- not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate. But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house."
Israel was God's chosen people, yet they did not want to listen to Him. I think sometimes that we as Christians are a rebellious house too. We want God's blessings but we don't want Him to interfere with our lives. It is time we started acting like we love God for Who He is and for what He has done for us. I thank God that He is Who He is. That He is not like us, shallow, self serving, and fickle.
These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.
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