Barnabas Bulletin ~ 0146
KEEP YOURSELF UNSPOTTED!
A MINISTRY OF ENCOURAGEMENT and challenge to Christian Workers and Christians generally, inspiring YOU to rise to greater heights in God, Who is for YOU! He wants to use YOU more and more in these challenging times!
WELCOME to “BB” No. 146! May you know tremendous and continued blessing, enlargement of vision and purpose, and real encouragement as you open your heart and life to JESUS CHRIST the LORD, and His mighty Holy Spirit ~ and BELIEVE all that He has for you. Let the challenge of His conditions for loving and serving Him teach you more and more each day of the importance of RESPONDING TO HIS VOICE in praise, thanksgiving, faith and allowing His LORDSHIP to rule in your life; of your capturing His vision for you, and obeying it. It happens by “faith that works through love” (Galatians 5:6 ). Be encouraged to know that God desires to speak to YOU. Are you listening? Will you obey? That obedience is called faith! And faith works
The Scriptures are always encouraging and challenging us to keep ourselves on the right side of what it means to be a Christian. In James 1:26-27 (NKJV) we read: “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives (“cheats, deludes”) his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure (“clean, clear” – Strong’s; “free from every stain, odour, colour, or any useless thing whatever” – Bullinger’s) and undefiled (“unsoiled, unstained” – Bullinger’s) religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their troubles, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
The first thing we notice here is that the responsibility of keeping ourselves pure before God is on each individual. We cannot blame others if we become defiled and spotted. The word “unspotted” means “unblemished (physically or morally); without spot” (Strong’s); “without spot, stain, or blemish” (Bullinger’s). When someone gets a spot or spots on their body it soon becomes evident. It “stains” us. We are affected in a negative way. Therefore we must guard ourselves against the temptations of the world, as the world is anti-Jesus and will take us away from His presence and will for our lives. Keep yourself unspotted!
It is important to know that the world is always there to entice us. It does not want us to be a “full on” Christian for Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:15-17 tells us: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world ~ the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life ~ is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Friendship with the world makes us an enemy of God (James 4:4-5 )! God has a plan and purpose for every born-again, Holy Spirit-filled Christian. When we are committed to the doing of His will we really do not have time to be enticed by the world. We are all given the same amount of time every day. What we do with our time determines where our heart and life is. Jesus said: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21 ). When Jesus is our Treasure, then our heart and time will be taken up in that which pleases Him. He has called us to serve Him daily, to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8 ). Every Christian has a God-given task that will occupy our heart and time.
But when we get spotted by the world, then our commitment and enthusiasm for the Master’s business starts to wain, and we find ourselves becoming double-minded, then worldly-minded ~ and we know that a double-minded person is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8 ). Keep yourself unspotted!
Listen to Jesus’ prayer to His Father (for us): “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:14-16 ). The world hates what we stand for. Be awake to this fact. It is out to pull us down and to make us ineffective and powerless. We need to know continually that God in us is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4 ).
So, how does one become spotted? It comes about as a result of decisions we do or do not make; the kind of people we mix with and allow to influence us; the things we give ourselves to that are not of God. Temptation is a part of this life, but we do not need to yield to it. That is why faith and vision are so important for us ~ what are we really living for day by day? Faith and vision motivates us in the purposes of God. My experience in the purposes of God is that there is usually not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that God has called us to do! After 53 years of being a Spirit-filled Christian I am still highly motivated in that which God has called me to do. And I love it! Hallelujah! Boredom is not a thing I know about! It is not about, “What can I do?” for if we know the will of God for our life then we know what to do and can get on and do it! If you struggle in this area, then get alongside other Christians who are motivated and accomplishing something for God and let some of their motivation and enthusiasm for Jesus “rub off” on you! There really is no excuse for being idle in the Kingdom of God. Let the words of that old chorus sink in deeper to us: “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.” Keep yourself unspotted!
One of the observations I have made in recent times is that it seems many Christians do not know where the world ends and the Christian life begins. There has become such a mixture in the church that many do not discern the difference! And that is very sad. How can we be effective in winning this lost world for Jesus if we are so caught-up in it we are unable to discern their great need? ~ Rodney W. Francis.
Prayer: “Father, I come to You in the precious name of my Lord Jesus and ask You to help me to be more discerning of the difference between the world and Your purposes for my life. Help me to grow in my love for You more and more. I want to do Your will fully, and realize that it can only happen as I have a divine connection with You – and separate myself from the ways of the world. Put into me a greater burden for the many lost souls all around me. Speak to me I pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Equipping For Leadership In The Nations Through The Power Of The Holy Spirit