Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How to be the light and be set apart!

On this week I was challenged with past decisions of my own and the instructions I have given to others I mentored.  I looked back at my life 13 years ago before real salvation. I was in sexual immorality, full of pride and arrogance, rebellious, clubbing, and partying. I was going to hell. When I got saved my first instructions were to “Come out from among them”. It was advice I pasted on to those after me. For me it was a simple but hard decision to make; it was either my relationship with people or taking time to focus on Christ.

The spirit of deception would tell me “Tiffany you did not have to do all that.” I could even convince myself “My leader was just trying to control me and mislead me”. I have received some bad advice, and I myself have given some bad advice. When I tested the advice in accordance to the word (1 John 4:1), I realized not all HARD advice was bad advice. We have to be very careful with the spirit of offense. When we get offended we tend to take EVERYTHING that person has done and said as something evil! The greatest lesson my leader has ever taught me was how to live a life without compromise. 

We are called to be separate from the world. On the other hand, we are called to win the lost, to go into the ENTIRE world with the gospel, and to be like Jesus. I hate to say “Be like Jesus” because this has now become one of the greatest deceptions ever. The church has used this saying to justify continual sin in their lives. Hebrews 4:15 tell us “for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus sat and ate with sinners, He attended weddings and dinners with them. He washed the feet of his betrayer. He drew lines in the sand and said those without sin cast the first stone. Afterward He told the adulterous woman “GO & SIN NO MORE.” (John 8:1-11)  Jesus NEVER COMPROMISED who He was in midst of eating and hanging out with sinners.
Paul tells the church in 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness”. He goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”
How can we apply these scriptures to our everyday walk and still be the light? What does the bible say about being the light to the lost? I want to start with Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” First in order to be a light to anyone you must be salt. You must be a change agent. The word goes on to say in Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Do we trust God and His word? To the new believer or to the one that has “arrived” there are two truths in the bible. We are called to be a light to the lost and we are called to come out from among them. Sounds like a contradiction? Look at the room you are in right now. Look at the room light. Can you imagine the light on the floor? Would that light serve its purpose to the room on the floor? Worst yet, if you take the light bulb out of the electric source to put it on the floor would it even work? The light in the room it is in “fellowship” with all the furniture in the room. The light bulb is screwed into the source so it can shine. The light is also high enough to be in fellowship but not compromise the “job” it has. The ceiling light is high enough to produce light to the whole room. It changes the whole room when it is on. Like the ceiling light we are called to be in fellowship with the unbeliever to cause change. We are called to be the light to reach the lost without you character changing.
We are called to walk in a way worthy of our calling and walk in humility. Do not be deceived into compromise because others say “You think you are better than me”. “You forgot where you come from” or the two I love “Judge ye not!” and “We all sin and fall short of the glory of God”. Let me not forget one of the most misused words in the English language “You’re in a cult”. The Holy Spirit is living inside of you. The greatest thing we can do is trust in the Holy Spirit. Did the Holy Spirit tell you to go? Did the Holy Spirit tell you be in company with that person? Jesus Himself came to do the will of the Father. He did nothing of His own accord but He only did what the Father told Him to do. (John 6:38, John 4:34, John 5:19) 
So how can I do the will of the Father, be set apart, come out from among them and be the light?
1.       Be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you can discern the will of the Father. 
Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
2.       Be like Jesus for real. Be in the world but not of the world! This is Jesus praying for His disciples.
John 17:15-18 “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
3.       Be willing to count it all rubbish for the Christ.
Philipians 3:8 “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
4.       Be the LIGHT! We are called to be the light! This light should bring about salvation. This light is in you to proclaim what Christ has done. The best light shines bright so others can see!
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
1 Peter 2:11 (Living before the World) “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
5.       Be a light and do the will of the Lord without complaining!
Philippians 2:12-16 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
6.       Be sober-minded & watchful because the devil hates that you are no longer serving him.
1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
7.       Do not grieve the Holy Spirit in these relationships. Ask yourself who is controlling the narrative?  
Ephesians 4:29-30 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
8.       Stand firm in your new life and do not be entangled with the yoke of bandage again. Do not go back into the bondage of religion or sin. Stand on what the Lord has done in your life.
Gal 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
9.       Be humble. Give grace and mercy as you have been given grace and mercy.
1 Peter 4:10 “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
10.   Be humble and do not be ignorant of temptation either.
Luke 6:36 “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
To my past mentors I want to thank you for teaching me how to stand so that I can be a light. To those who I have mentored, are mentoring and reading this blog I pray you understand there is a cost to serving Christ. If you can be honest with yourself and allow the word of God to prevail we all must take time to grow up. There will be seasons in the beginning, in the middle and all the way to the end when the Lord will say come out from among them. This call will require change in relationships. This may even cause a change in ministries. This will cause some natural lost but what a reward it is to be obedient to Christ. The Lord will never have you in a relationship if it means you have to compromise. I love when Paul said he became all things for all people and he still ran a race not to be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:19-27)
I encourage you to be light and be set apart. Win the lost to Christ without compromising. Be slow to speak and quick to hear! Walk in truth with the Word of the Lord as your guide. Lean not on your own understanding. Do not let offense cause you to miss some of the greatest lessons in life. Be like Paul and discipline your body and bring it into subjection of the Holy Spirit so when you are done being the “light” you yourself will not be disqualified because you compromised your salvation for friendships and relationships. 

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