I can remember when I met ‘real’ Christians that had a strong commitment to Christ, I would think of them in some way as being ‘weak’ or ‘disadvantaged’ in some way. Even though I grew up in the church all my life, I did what I saw everyone else doing. I worked hard at keeping my ‘Christian’ life separate from my personal life. I just believed that the two roads would never cross each other.
I guess it is fair to ask me the question, “what changed?” It wasn’t until in my late twenties that I was introduced to the person of Jesus Christ. Everything changed for me. I finally learned why God would do such a thing, such as giving His only son as a sacrifice to reconcile mankind back to Him. I learned a ‘hard’ truth, that mankind is inherently wicked and is in desperate need of a savior. To contrast all of this, I learned also that even though God gave the free will to everyone to choose to receive His free gift of reconciliation, it would come with a price. To receive this benefit, it would have to come with the greatest sacrifice anyone could ever give. This would be by God, offering His one and only son, Jesus.
I had to write these passage to encourage myself today. I was speaking with two ladies today. Both supposedly are Christian [one is Catholic and the other is Presbyterian]. They both concluded to me that ‘radical’ Islam is separate from, what they called ‘peaceful’ Islam. One lady went as far to tell me that the violence in the Bible comes from the SAME ideology as they radicals! I had to be careful in my response to the both of them. I wasn’t worried about offending them, but it was clear to me that they didn’t have a clue of what Islam is all about. What surprised me the most was the statement that the violence in the Bible stems from the SAME conflicts that are used today. So in her opinion, in the story of David and Goliath, David was a ‘radical’ overbearing Christian that was attempting to make a point!
Also today, I got some harsh responses back on my FB page on the topic of Masons and Shriners. The names that I was being called didn’t hurt my feelings at all. What really grieved my heart was the intensity that came from people who call themselves ‘Christian’. My Dad was a mason for over 30 years and yes, there are even clergy and ministers who actively hold positions in these organizations! What blows me away is how so many Christians that don’t know the Word of God!
When people [who called themselves Christian] are willing to strongly defend their position on issues that the Bible clearly state that are in God’s eyes ‘sinful’ [ie, homosexually, abortion, Masons, Islam, whatever] I really have to question their commitment to our Lord and Savior. The Bible so eloquently puts in Matthew 7:13-14:
13″Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14″For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
So in closing, I guess that is what I see happening. The issue here is NOT that the Bible is in error. The hidden agenda here, as I stated about myself at the beginning of this essay is, people are NOT concerned about the TRUTH. The real focus is about SELF. Like a child that throws a tantrum when it can’t get it’s way is the analogy I like to use. So you could ask me as well, “how did it change for you?” I had to ‘mature’ in my relationship with the Lord. God loved me so much that he ‘allowed’ me to choose what I thought was BEST for my life. He allows me to pick out my own theories, concepts, and beliefs. Of course, all of these things ran their course and didn’t live up to what they promised.
For that, I am grateful. So I know that God loves everyone on this planet. He will allow ALL of us to choose our own paths. The difference with God is that ONE road leads directly to Him. Oprah Winfrey says, “many roads can lead to God.” Jesus is the ONLY living being recorded in history that has said He is the ONLY way! All religious leaders, including Muhammad, have never made such a claim to humanity. My heart still grieves because I want people everywhere to know just how much Jesus loves them.
When I look out and see the great multitudes of people, I can’t help but wonder, “how is God going to reach all of these people?” When the two ladies, who tell me that they are ‘Christian’, say that ALL religions can cohabitate together as one, I have to calm down and take a deep breathe. If God was able to break through my stubborn and self-centered thinking, then he can do the SAME for them! I just have to trust God that He is driving the process in people’s lives and not me. All Christians everywhere are called to ‘proclaim’ the gospel to this unbelieving world. God has NEVER armed wrestled anyone into the kingdom of God and He never will. To this, I will stay encouraged.
By Sgt. Roy Lewis