Saturday, January 5, 2013

What Will YOU Be Doing If Jesus Paid You an Unexpected Visit?

I was on my way to work the other morning, listening to my favorite Christian radio station. There was a commercial that came on by a local Pastor telling a story about running into one of his congregants in a gas station. The person was buying a lot of alcohol and was totally embarrassed by running into his Pastor in the least enlightening way. The Pastor did a beautiful job of explaining to his sheep that Jesus can help his addiction and eventually the congregant sought counseling from the pastor and broke free through the blood of Jesus! It was an awesome reminder of how broken we all are and how fixable we become in the shed blood of our Lord Jesus! What a way to start my day!

His Glory 
Then as the worship music began to play, the Lord, through that example, laid the title of this entry on my heart and I was off and thinking about the meaning of it and how important that question really is to us and for us. It's a way to keep our walk with the Lord in check and in truth. It's a way to fend off a temptation or the beginning of an action. So I obliged the Holy Spirit and began writing this entry....for myself, as well as for any set of eyes that fall upon these words. First, I want to acknowledge that ALL of us are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God. We are all broken and not one is perfect, nor can any of us BE or ACT perfect. The Bible tells us in Romans 3: 21-26, "(v21) But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, (v22) even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; (v23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (v24) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (v25) whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, (v26) to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." These are such powerful words spoken directly to our spirits!

So now let's talk about the question posed in the title......"What will you be doing if Jesus paid you an unexpected visit?" Take just a moment to think about that before reading on. Think about your days....think about your actions towards others and in some cases, even unto yourself. Think about addictions, crimes, promiscuity, lies, cheating, stealing and just doing something you know you shouldn't be doing! Then, remember as a child, or a youth, doing something you knew wasn't right, something you had been taught that you shouldn't do, just to see if you could get away with it? Remember, then, suddenly being caught once you completed your mischief, smugly thinking you'd succeeded in fooling everyone around you including your parents, and thinking you'd gotten away with it? Remember the shame, the horror, the guilt, the fear and the total gloom and doom you felt having to face your parents, the "ultimate accusers?" Oh, what horror we all have experienced at the actions of our own choices!!! Your mouth goes dry. Your mind goes blank. Your hands sweat. Your eyes dart around the room trying to come up with a huge lie to cover up the wrongs you just got caught doing. Looking back now, it's funny how we THOUGHT we could outsmart those who have walked the same path before us!

God's Glorious Light
With that scenario, imagine being right in the middle of bullying someone, or stealing, lying, cheating, robbing or any number of the unpleasant actions, addictions or reactions that are part of the world's sinful nature.....when suddenly, you look to your right and see Jesus standing right there beside you! Imagine the shame and embarrassment you would surely feel at THAT moment!?! Wow! Doesn't that put things into perspective for you!?! If it doesn't, then it SHOULD! Even though I've been a Christian for years and KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that God sees, and knows, EVERYTHING about me, I still shudder at my ability to fall short of His glory and I still detest the fact I've broken His heart by the actions or thoughts of my struggling ways. I desire to please God! I desire to be doing a righteous thing should he appear beside me unexpectedly! In 1 Corinthians 10: 31-33 tells us, "(v31) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (v32) Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, (v33) just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved." We are to do everything to the glory of God. Not some things, not a part of everything, and NOT just what we THINK and CHOOSE to do. But we are to do ALL things for His Glory. And the purpose? So that the unbelievers may be saved. Simple yet profound.

I asked, if imagining being in the middle of an unpleasant, sinful act, when you looked up and saw Jesus standing beside you, would be enough to put things into perspective. Well, remember that even though you can't visually SEE Jesus standing there beside you, He IS beside you, watching everything you do, listening to every word you speak. In Proverbs 15:3, we are told, "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good" and in Jeremiah 23:24, the Lord declares, "Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?' declares the LORD. 'Do not I fill heaven and earth?' declares the LORD." Even though we will continue the struggle with our sinful nature, those of us who are born again Christians, believing in the shed blood of Jesus for our sins, are forgiven of those sins and are covered by the blood of Jesus. The sins will not be remembered on Judgement Day, for born again Christians will be judged, not on their sins, but on their righteous acts and what they've done in the Kingdom for the Lord. The Bible treats this judgment of believers with great sobriety. It’s not a meaningless formality, but a monumental event in which things of eternal consequence are instituted. It has a profoundly positive aspect of reward for earthly service, as well as the sobering aspect of loss of reward for unfaithful service. Jesus says to Christians, in Revelation 2:23, “I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” In Mark 9:41, He says, "I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”

Our sins are still seen while we are on this earth and we will be chastened to conform us day by day into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ! We are to strive to turn from our sins, from our sinful worldly ways, to be Christ-like and be a good example to others around us. For those of you who are not born again, Christ believing Christians, it's not too late. Your sins can, and will be, forgiven too! They will be forgotten on Judgement Day as well because you have accepted Jesus Christ into your hearts, repented of your sins, and believe on the virgin birth, death and resurrection of Jesus! His blood covers our sins so when the Father God looks at us, He sees His Son because it's His Son's blood that covers us! How beautiful is that?!?! In Hebrews 8:12, He says, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Heaven marks the beginning of an eternal adventure, but also marks the end of earth’s window of opportunity. One moment after we die, we will know exactly how we should have lived. But, sadly, there will be no more second chances. As there will also be no more opportunities for the unbelievers to go back to earth and live his/her lives again and this time to put faith in Christ, so too there will be no opportunity for the believer to go back and relive his life, this time for Christ. This judgement for the unbelievers will be for their eternal SOULS and resting place in Hell! This is not the wish of our Father God! He does not desire you to spend eternity in Hell because He created you to be with Him for eternity! Everyone has a choice and I pray that if you are reading this, that your choice is to be with Him for all of eternity!

As I was preparing for this entry, I began to go over my life. I started to cringe at some of the moments in my life and imagining Jesus showing up! There are plenty of times in my life that I would have been in total shame and disgust at myself in His presence! I have learned from those choices and mistakes, and haven't repeated them. But just to imagine being in the middle of just ONE of those horrendous choices when Jesus came to visit me makes me CRINGE. The good thing though is through this one exercise of imagination, it will surely change me for the better. We are all a work in progress and we ALL can learn and grow closer to the Lord. This one exercise will help me focus on knowing, and reminding me of knowing, that He is ALWAYS there beside me, watching me and listening to me and I don't have to see Him standing there! He's in my heart and He left the Holy Spirit for me! How much more of a reminder do I really need? Without God, nothing is possible! But with Him, EVERYTHING is possible! Praise the Lord!

Just imagining that question should be enough to help us think twice before giving into a temptation, an evil act or a sin. Since we are visual creatures, we tend to forget that God is watching us every moment anyway, irregardless of if we see Him or not. I find it easier to grasp the severity of our actions when I visually imagine Jesus showing up and standing beside me. It puts EVERYTHING I do into the perspective of Christ!

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