As most of the world sits locked down in their homes and scared, how are we doing as Christians? Are we succumbing to the daily terror in the news? Are we becoming discouraged and disheartened about what is happening? What is our mental attitude and state of mind at this time?
We are rapidly approaching the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. I remember thinking a month ago that I needed to really start digging in and examining myself, and I am surprised by how quickly that time has passed.
The god of this world, Satan, is causing massive panic (toilet paper shortages, as one small example) and great distress on ALL people right now. Most everyone I have talked within the Church is facing trials and troubles in unprecedented waves. It also appears to me that our trials are coming with such frequency that it can be hard to properly focus and take the time to examine ourselves correctly for the Passover.
While trials are not new to us, maybe the intensity with which they are coming is new.
I want to encourage each of us to MAKE the time to seek God, to examine ourselves and to work on the growth of our relationship with God. It takes effort and it takes time. I was listening to an old sermon by Mr. Edwin Pope (the late Senior Pastor of our Church), and he was reiterating how important our relationship with God actually is. The first few chapters of the Bible are replete with individuals who shaped the world by their relationship with God. We have to realize that we too have this same weight on our shoulders. I would suppose that this is not something that we venture to think about a lot. But our relationship with God, and our obedience, is in direct relation to helping to shape the outcomes in this world. Please note Matthew 6:33; 2 Peter 3:12; Matthew 24:22; and Matthew 24:14.
These Scriptures plainly tell us that we each have a direct responsibility in helping to accomplish these things. It is easy to not realize the impact and the magnitude of our calling. Satan wants to destroy each of us because of the impact we can have. James 4:8 tells us: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Now is the time to really be drawing close to God, especially as the Passover draws near. If we have not been zealous in this regard, it is time to rectify this (Matthew 22:37; Romans 12:11; Hebrews 10:19-22, 4:6, 11; 7:25; 11:6 ). Drawing near to God is not a physical act, though it can include that. It is directing our heart, our mind and our attention to God, to His laws and commands, and being willing to look into our hearts and recognize where we have sin and then root it out. As Mr. Norbert Link has asked all of us to do, we should set aside a personal day of fasting and prayer prior to the Passover, if we have not already done so.
The Apostle Paul had to rebuke the Corinthian church, but he was pleased with the results. 2 Corinthians 7:5-12 states: “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more. For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.”
We need to continue looking at ourselves, examining ourselves and making sure that we will be taking the Passover in a right and worthy manner. We need to make sure that we are drawing close to God, so that our examination is not just causing worldly sorrow, but rather godly sorrow that produces change in us. Are we changing? Are we allowing God’s Spirit to help us to change? If we are attempting to get rid of sin on our own, we will fail (2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Peter 1:10-11).
While we begin to see the prophesied downfall of the modern House of Israel, it should cause us to wake up and to become more diligent in seeking and maintaining a right relationship with our great God. We need to do this so that we can stay mentally strong and sound in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Peter 5:1-10; Ephesians 6:18).
When we are properly seeking God, we will be having different desires than this world has. We will want to seek God. We will want to change. We will have hope (Romans 15:13). We will have desire for the Kingdom of God, and our entrance into it. Philippians 2:13 tells us that if we are on the proper wavelength and have the right mindset, then God can and will work through us. This should be what we are desiring and striving towards.
It is amazing how the Word of God is also needed, as we seek to draw closer to God. When we properly spend time in studying the Word of God, we start to become convicted of what we read, and we can really begin to make the changes in our lives that must be made to draw close to God.