Welcome back to Part 3 of 3 of “Important Truths I’ve Learned”.
You may read Part 1 HERE.
You may read Part 2 HERE.
This is the final installment of this three-part series. In each entry, I have been listing five valuable lessons which the Lord has taught me over the years. Again, I certainly have not “arrived” and still have much to learn, but I hope the following insights will help and inspire you in some way. The truths below are listed in random order.
1.) You will become unpopular and even hated if you stand for truth; but speak it and stand for it anyway. Some people have a huge fear of being unpopular; but it is far better to be unpopular with people than it is to be unknown by God! Woe unto those to whom He will say, “I never knew you… depart from me” (see Matt. 7:23). In scripture, the Bible says that the people hated Jesus without a cause (see John 15:25). It also states this: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19). And Mark 13:13 states: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Have courage to stand alone and be unpopular, hated, and misunderstood for a season. You see, we’re in a foreign land here, but when we’re home with our Lord, we’ll be fully accepted, understood, and loved for all eternity.
2.) Be a genuinely kind-hearted person and look to make others smile, not expecting anything in return. One of the fruits of the Spirit is goodness (see Galatians 5:22). It is heart-warming and rewarding to be good to people and to show Christ’s love and kindness. We never know what someone else is going through so an act of kindness, no matter how small, can go a long way. Ways we can show kindness is to always show appreciation, give words of encouragement, compliments, and do good deeds – expecting nothing in return. Matthew 7:12 puts it like this: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Love and kindness doesn’t mean we accept and embrace sin – it simply means we show Christ’s concern and care for those without Him and to continue encouraging other Believers, as well. I like the quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. where he said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.“
3.) Keep everything in perspective and zoom out! If a photographer has the camera zoomed in to the dirt on the ground, it will magnify each clod of dirt and make it appear as a huge boulder. Also, he will not be able to clearly see and photograph the beautiful, vast world around him if he’s only focused on the dirt. The same applies to life… I often have to remind myself to “zoom out” and look at the big picture of eternity. It’s so easy for life’s problems to appear bigger than life and to become too overwhelming. But we are as a grain of sand viewed from outer space and our God is far greater than our problems. Always remember that, in the end, God will set everything right anyhow – so our momentary affliction or heartache is only temporary. We must remind ourselves of such truths often. Just as Jesus did when He was on the cross… it was for the joy set before Him that He endured the cross (see Heb. 12:2). In other words, He had immense joy to look forward to; and that was what enabled Him to endure. Likewise, the Christian has Jesus to look up to and immense joy in Heaven to look forward to – that is how we endure. It’s like this… “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2nd Corinthians 4:17-18). Just as the hymn so beautifully says… “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face – and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” His grace is sufficient, it’s enough to help us endure. May God grant us the wherewithal to look at the bigger picture and zoom out when life gets overwhelming.
4.) God won’t let His children go to Hell; rest assured – and live free from this fear. In this life, friends come and they go – whether by choice, a move, or death. But we must remember that God will never leave us nor forsake us (see Deut. 31:8). But what I am referencing is the fact that He won’t forsake His own children to Hell. There was a season in my life when the enemy tried to fool me into thinking that I wasn’t “good enough” and that I would land in Hell somehow. However, I had to learn to trust that God has a firm grip on the surrendered soul. God is a loyal to us when we are loyal to Him. His loyalty shows toward Israel as a picture of His loyalty to his beloved. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands…“ (see Isaiah 49:15-16). As devout followers of our Lord who walk in the light, we can always have blessed assurance as we rest in Him and strive to please Him. Bible teacher, Arthur Pink, once stated: “Not one for whom He died can possibly miss heaven.” Granted, we must do our part and allow the Spirit to strengthen us to abstain from sin – but as we do so, we can rest in the Beloved. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1st John 5:13). And Romans 8:16 which states: “The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children.” If you are His – He will not let you go. Should you err, He will see to it that you are brought back into alignment through various means which He lovingly yet firmly employs. As the Good Shepherd, He would leave the 99 sheep to search for the one sheep that had gone astray (see Matthew 18:10-14). What love! What assurance we have in Him!
5.) Separate from the world of sin. A line of a popular Christian song says it like this, “Take this world and give me Jesus.” That is my heart’s cry and the cry of Christians around the world. Remember, we live in the world of sin, but we do not take part in it (see John 17:16). Sin brings no pleasure to the child of God that is fully surrendered to Him. Staying pure in God’s sight is a work of the Spirit but also a discipline. Scripture teaches us to guard our heart above all else, because everything we do flows from the heart (see Proverbs 4:23). “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you…” (2nd Cor. 6:17). I have found that abstaining from worldly music, movies, books, activities, etc. makes for a clearer mind and conscience. (See my blog, “Watch What You Watch”). As Christians, we are crucified to the world, and the world, to us (see Gal. 6:14). To still love the world of sin represents spiritual adultery and lack of loyalty. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). It is disgusting to be lukewarm in our spirituality… be one or the other – good or evil, in or out, hot or cold; because God has said, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). Thank God, we’re free from the world of sin!
Remember, the Bible is our safeguard to keep us from being deceived by erroneous teaching. It doesn’t matter if the whole world endorses a particular sin – if the Bible states that it is sin, then it is sin. If the Bible warns to abstain from it, then abstain. Though thousands may ridicule us and think we’re wrong – we must stand our ground even if that means standing alone. As the Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister, George Macdonald put it… “Truth is truth, whether it’s spoken by the lips of Jesus or Balaam’s donkey.”
I hope something I’ve said in these past few posts has ignited your faith and helped you in your walk with the Lord. Until next time, God bless!