I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.
This is the scripture I woke up hearing in my mind this morning. I’m also a very visual thinker so the image above is what popped into my head! Sometimes I think God uses humor to soften the blow of really hard things.
Here is the hard part. We live in a season and culture of great rebellion and I don’t mean just in the secular world. Of course those who are not following Christ are in rebellion against Him but it’s more than that.
The churches in our culture that preach and adhere to the true Gospel message of sin, repentance, restoration and sanctification are harder and harder to find. I spent over a decade in a region and went to many churches and never heard the Gospel! I never even heard the word sin!
I went to one church for quite some time before I realized the pastor actually thought that the fact that Jesus is the only way to salvation was just too narrow. I was so disheartened to find that some musicians on the worship team were not even believers and often spent Saturday night getting intoxicated on various substances! Ezekiel 22:6 comes to mind.
“Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.”
Another church, that was outwardly quite different, had the same problem! It’s very well known leader had actually joined a secret society and was actively recruiting other men (women aren’t allowed). This place seemed particularly dangerous because not only was it not preaching the Gospel but it was teaching a type of mysticism that is spiritual but not scripturally sound.
Finally, God allowed us to move on. We have found more authentic Christians and churches that won’t compromise. Even still, we have seen an infiltration of worldly philosophies. One in particular stereotypes people by nationality and socioeconomic status! In this belief system certain groups are judged inherently better and more deserving of grace and mercy. I was dumbfounded by this one and if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it myself. The Word of God says in Leviticus 19:15, “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.”
Some actually teach that there is no Hell (Jesus spoke more about Hell than Heaven) or that no human will ever go there if there is one. I recently met a man who believes that Christians can indulge in sin because we are saved by grace (which is true) and not by what we do or don’t do. I get that but why, if you know Jesus and the enormous sacrifice He has made, would you even want to grieve Him or take it lightly when you do.
I once said in a group of Believers, “None of us deserve anything except Hell.” Meaning that salvation is truly a gift that none of us can earn and someone quipped, “Well that won’t make you very popular!” She was right!
Jesus said, “You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Mark 13:13
None of us have it all together or are doing it exactly right or are without sin. That is certain! The challenge before us in this generation, in the United States in particular, is simply to live and speak the Truth to the best of our ability without compromise. Everything around us tempts us to compromise the Gospel and justify our compromised lives. We must take up our cross daily, die to ourselves and live only for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom. We must be hard headed, so to speak, about purity, holiness and truth even if we are hated. Well, not “if” according to Jesus, but when. Even so, love extravagantly and give yourselves away. Spend yourself, your energy your time and resources for the Kingdom of God and the people Jesus died for. Count it a compliment if you are persecuted! Determine today that you will give everything to gain all that Christ has for you and has called you to do. He is worth it! May He recieve the glory due His name because of your uncompromising, steadfast faith in action.