Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and a house divided against itself falls. (Luke 11:17)
It is the common and constant refrain of Christian leaders and concerned friends: “Don’t be ‘yoked’ with unbelievers.”
We use the imagery of two oxen connected by a wooden yoke to symbolize things like partnerships in marriage and partnerships in business. We plead with people, “Don’t get tied in with someone who doesn’t follow Christ!”
Some resist, “I know they aren’t a Christian, BUT…” and they sign the deal or walk the aisle anyway.
Don’t be that person!
Jesus isn’t trying to restrict your freedom, He’s trying to rescue your future.
Worship is not an event you attend once a week; it’s the lifestyle you practice every day.
In reality, everyone, everywhere, at all times is worshipping someone or something, because worship is simply the act of demonstrating the value (or “worth”) of something by giving it priority.
When you prioritize one person, activity or interest above others in your schedule, that’s a form of worship.
When you spend more money on one thing than another, that’s a facet of worship.
When you devote your highest affection and devotion to a cause or individual or group or passion or pastime, that is an expression of worship.
I know you may push back, thinking that “worship” has an overtly religious sense, and of course it does. Yet, at its core, the meat of what worship really IS has much less to do with observing a faith and much more to do with demonstrating a pattern priorities. How you BEHAVE reveals what you really BELIEVE.
Because of this, if you want to know what you really worship, look at where you devote your resources, and more importantly, WHY you do so.
“If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.” (Acts 25:11-12)
The heart of the gospel is spiritual, but the ways in which we live it out must be practical because we live in a physical world. Each of us has been placed at a specific point in history, in a particular country, city, and system of government and economics.
Paul was in the same situation. He did not stand outside the system of his day, but was an involved part of it. God had placed him in the Roman empire as a citizen. Because of that, he had options, and he used them.
Maybe it’s time for you to do the same.
Do you have situations in your life that are less-then-ideal? Do you have relationships where wrong has occurred, or circumstances where a change needs to be made?
When it comes to trusting God and pursuing His purposes, don’t forget that while prayer is the most important thing you should do, it’s usually not the only thing you can do. If there are practical options available in your situation, pursue them! If there are tools at hand, use them!
You exist in a place and a time and a system because God put you there. Even though it’s disheartening to have opposition, you can take heart and find hope in this truth: God gives you options to use.
p.s. To learn more about resolving conflict well, check out message 02 from my teaching series, “CounterCulture.” CLICK HERE to listen online.
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For a thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:4)
God has the greatest perspective of all.
Think about it. The long slow sequence of events that happened in your life to bring you to this moment? He sees it all at once. The results and repercussions of the choices you’re considering? He sees them all right now.
There is no “history” or “future” with God, because He is eternal. This also means that He alone has the fullest and clearest perspective on your life. This is great news, because He loves you! He wants to speak to you through His word and His Spirit, so that you can flourish and be filled with joy!
Because God sees the bigger picture, He knows how to guide you to the best results, and because He loves you in Christ, He wants to do just that.
The question is, will you listen? Will you trust Him? Will you obey or keep pretending that your perspective is the most valid and important one of all?
Whatever you’re facing, let God lead you to the right decision, because God has the best view of your life.
“And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold… And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.” – Luke 19:45-48
It’s one thing to make a scene and drive out a few money men for an afternoon. It’s quite another to set up shop in their spot from then on and not have these business people come back to reclaim their livelihood.
Something about Jesus’ person and His teaching has a profound way of making space for lasting change. How telling, that though factions of business and religious leaders undoubtedly wanted to drag things back to the way they were, they could not because “the people were hanging on His words.”
It wouldn’t be long, though, before the same crowd that hung on Jesus’ words demanded His body be hung on a cross. It seems that though Jesus’ touching and teaching can make space for lasting change, how long it lasts is often up to us.