There are people who are scared of dying. When a funeral comes along, they whip up any sort of excuse not to be scared. “It happens all the time,” they will say. But when it’s THEIR turn to die, then they get real scared. All their lives they’ve lived AWAY from the presence of God, doing their very best to “FIT” into the world, avoiding any appearance of being religious, because they wanted to “FIT IN” with the crowd and avoid feeling rejected by others or seeming embarrassed by some sort of “crazy religious beliefs”. So they keep their religious beliefs, and sayings, and practices, to a “real minimum” — barely noticeable at all … IF AT ALL!
Such people may pretend to have answers, but deep inside they are very scared. The first sign of their fear is the fact that they try so hard to “fit in” and “not be rejected”. That is their main fear! Because they don’t want to be rejected, they actually make themselves out to be enemies of God in the process! For the Bible says, “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). This is a sad, disappointing, situation. All it takes is a little bit of rejection from the world to gain favor with God, and it’s a favor that lasts an eternity!
Think about it: You can either suffer rejection from the world right now and gain your acceptance with God for an ETERNITY, or you can find favor with the world right now and suffer rejection from God for an ETERNITY! The choice is yours.
Jesus said, “If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
Is Jesus preaching a “hate” gospel when he says this? Absolutely not! That would be inconsistent with other parts of Scripture that teach that we must love our enemies and do good to those that persecute us.
Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”. (Matthew 5:43-44)
What Jesus *is* saying in Luke 14:26 is that your LOVE and DEVOTION to him must FAR EXCEED any love or devotion you have for others.
The problem is, many people LOVE the world so much, and the approval of man, that by comparison they actually HATE Jesus! They’ve reversed the entire order of things! They may say they love Jesus or are devoted to God, but in reality it is just the reverse. The word “Jesus” scarcely comes out of their lips, except perhaps as a curse word. And the same applies for the word “God”. Sunday is a day of “rest” but their “resting” is at home! And the television shows and movies they watch, not to mention the computer games they play and other activities that they engage in, betray any sense of devotion to God! Instead, they have made themselves out to be ENEMIES of God!
We need to take the warning of James seriously. “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Do any of us belong in this category?
Thank God there is forgiveness through Christ. If you have never come to him, TRUST HIM NOW! If you have already trusted him, but need to repent of sin in this area, there’s no time like the present to “get right” with the Lord.
Today’s the day!
“Behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2b)