When God chooses to reveal himself, he does so in ways that are unmistakable.
In a world full of distractions and choices to amuse ourselves, spiritual matters can easily take a back seat. God can remain hidden for those who have no time for Him. He can depart from those who have little respect for the work of His hands.
When Christians are confronted by the appearance of indifference towards spiritual matters, we have a tendency to remain hidden and not share the gospel. We are prone to be like God and cast judgement on a person’s receptivity toward the message of salvation. Placing a gag over our mouth that keeps us from proclaiming His name rather than allow His Words to overflow from our hearts can be a result of pre-judging the condition of a person’s soil.
Do we clog our hearts when we cast judgment on others?
Are we too busy judging other fields rather than tending to our own?
The prophet Isaiah (ch. 5) confronted his people about the dangers of being absorbed by its culture. The people of Israel had allowed their fields of faith to be overgrown. Wild grapes were thriving and growing in their vineyards instead of the select grapes produced by faith and trust in His promises. It was God who had built up these fields. He set apart the promised land, supplied daily nourishment, and provided the seeds. Out of neglect, God’s people let their fields go.
“In spite of all that God’s grace had done for them, they turned away from him and pursued pleasure and evil. When God expected fruits of faith like love, gentleness, humility, faith, and reverence, the people yielded a crop of perversion, glutton, arrogance, greed, and mockery.” (John A. Braun, Commentary on Isaiah, 1-39)
An Evangelist understands the fruit of patience ripens into persistence by keeping God’s timetable and not their own.
An Evangelist begins to build bridges of trust with sacrificial acts of kindness and generosity that have no strings attached.
In His mercy, God promises victory, forgiveness, love and life for those who trust in Him.
In His grace, God warns us again and again about the dangers of this world until the time for repentance is gone. Then, judgement is inevitable and irresistible.
How often do you hear in Bible class or at church about the growing anti-Christian sentiment in our country? Do we join in the chorus of grumbling over the pervasive and growing immorality?
More importantly, have we already pronounced God’s judgment on others? Are we so busy judging the condition of another persons’ soil that we neglect to tend to our own.
The spiritual condition of our country could be a direct reflection of un-kept fields that have been left untended by Christians over the past many years.
I offer THREE reasons why our nation is struggling:
- Gospel seeds were not planted.
Jesus tells us that the fields are ripe and the harvesters are few. Have we been taking the time to plant the seeds of the gospel?
Lord, I am guilty. I ask for your forgiveness. For not only my sins of commission (of what I have done), but all of my sins of omission (of what I failed to do). Today, Lord, plow up my fields of self-serving interests so my fields can be receptive to your seeds.
- Seeds were planted in the political arena instead of people’s hearts.
Prominent evangelical Christian leaders rallied the faithful to form a moral majority, or to focus on fighting a cultural war on values. The lack of fruit from these efforts have painted a portrait of Christianity that has little resemblance to Christ.
I am guilty, Lord. I ask for forgiveness. My sinful nature is more prone to solving society’s problems through laws rather than changing hearts through the gospel. Help me, today, to renew my trust in You.
- Weeds were allowed to grow in our own fields.
It is difficult adjusting to a new technological age where distractions and busyness dominate our lives. We are swept away by the internet, on-demand video streaming, video games, and social media. The feelings of being overwhelmed is probably a result of having fields that are overcome by weeds.
I am guilty, Lord. I ask for your forgiveness. Help me to recognize weeds in my fields and actively remove them.
The lack of fruit in my own garden has set me up to be pruned. If God chooses to cast judgement in my world, I will suffer too. That’s what happened to God’s people during the days of Isaiah.
But, I know that I am forgiven. The Lord has taken away my guilt. In the meantime, I will not judge, nor pre-judge — predict or be callous to what God’s judgement will be. For God has taken that responsibility away from me. I look to tending the fields God has given to me and remain in Christ in order to bear the fruit He desires.
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January 2016 Email Newsletter for Praise and Proclaim Ministries
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