Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Are you a Sheep or Are you a Goat (Repost)

On January 17th of last year...I wrote the following post...I've got to be honest as I examine my OWN heart over the last year I am questioning which category I fall into. I desperately want to follow God, BUT do I love Him above all else? Do I surrender ALL control to Him? If I were Abraham, would I have gone so far? Am I bearing good fruit? I guess I am in a season of self examination, but I've got so many questions about what LIVING all of this should look like. Anyone else struggle with this?

I will be honest. I have had it on my heart to write this post for weeks, and yet I have been dragging my feet because it is hard. I have committed to reading through the entire Bible this year and the plan I am on has me reading from the New and Old Testament daily as well as Proverbs and Psalms. I have never been really good at making myself sit down and read the Bible each day but I have to say somehow this plan has me motivated. Anyway, in my daily reading, I am finding myself challenged each day often by things I know I have read before, but it is hitting me differently now.

My heart has been so broken lately. After reading Matthew, there were several verses that hit me like a ton of bricks. My heart is so stirred and my hunger to devour His word has been reignited. That said, my heart is also broken. Broken because many of us live with a false sense of security. We think that if we say the "Sinner's Prayer", and are basically a good person, our ticket to Heaven is guaranteed. This could not be further from the truth. God is very specific in warning us that this is not the case.

It is a hard message to deliver, but I feel this intense sense of urgency to get this message out. Too many of us are living under a false sense of security. We are talking the talk but not walking the walk. God is really pressing these things on my heart, both for MYSELF and for you.

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14

He is telling us here that there are two gates. A narrow gate, and a wide gate. The narrow gate leads to Heaven, to eternal life and the wide gate leads to destruction. He also tells us that MANY find the wide gate and yet few find the narrow. Kind of unsettling isn't it? I mean, I think that today in Christianity we have created this "Middle Road" because we are "basically" good people, you know, we aren't going around stealing and killing people, BUT we also don't want to submit ourselves to radical obedience like the Lord calls us to, so we kind of take this middle road. We go to church, we tithe what we can, we serve on committees and pray before meals. Surely God will look upon us with favor right? Not so much. There is NO middle road. It is either RADICAL obedience or destruction. He doesn't care if we are "basically good people who go to church". He calls us to obey his command.

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17-20).

Here we are being warned again. It does not matter how our lives LOOK on the outside. God has no use for Pharisees. We are called to be righteous, to choose the commandments of God over the Commandments of men. We are called to surrender ALL, not part, but ALL of our lives to Him. ALL of our day. As I sit and reflect on my days, I can say with great certainty that most days I do not live out radical obedience to the Lord. I think mostly about MY comforts and MY wants and My needs and let's be honest, TRUE Biblical Christianity is not about self. In fact it is about the opposite, it is about denying self. It is about giving beyond what makes you comfortable, it is about taking risks. It is about TRULY loving others MORE than you love yourself. I can also tell you that through my time with the Lord and my reading of His Word, I yearn to live my life the way HE wants. I want to wake up daily and die to myself. I want to pick up my cross and follow wherever He leads. I can tell you there are going to be some BIG changes in the Bolte Household in the coming year as we take the focus OFF of ourselves and aim it directly at the ONLY ONE who matters.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.” Matthew 7: 21-23

What this verse is telling us folks is the cold hard truth. One day, we will all sit before Him and he will separate the sheep (righteous) from the goats (wicked), and the scary thing is that the Bible tells us that many who think they were sheep, will in fact be called out as goats. Choosing Christ is not about a man made "sinner's prayer" it isn't about going to church or tithing your leftovers.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
If we have TRULY given our hearts over and allowed the Holy Spirit FREE REIGN, we can't help but be different people. We live differently and we act differently. We should WANT to obey his EVERY command and not find excuses for not obeying them. IF in fact our hearts are changed, our own sin should cause us to mourn. It should cause us to repent and make the changes needed to live a righteous life. I am not saying anyone is perfect here and I will be the first to admit that it is easier to type these words about what you should do than to live it out myself. But the day is coming. The Bible warns us that many of us are living with a false sense of security in our salvation, we think we are basically good people who are living a good life. We think the Kingdom of Heaven is ours, and yet He tells us we have to give it all. We have to TURN FROM SIN. We have to CHOOSE to follow Him and not man. It is a narrow road. There is NO middle road, it is RADICAL obedience or disobedience. PERIOD. No in between, and when the day comes, will you be a sheep, or will you be a goat?


Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Oh...these words are cutting me to the core. His words...the warning of the sheep and the goats. Hard to reconcile with all the grace and mercy I love so much, hard to know what makes my heart right with Him...when I am so full of flaws and sins...and yet I know those sins are covered by the blood of Jesus. But, my heart one that loves fully with an attitude of complete surrender. Surely there are still areas of my life I haven't surrendered...and He continues to refine. I know He hasn't given us a spirit of fear...and that He doesn't want us always doubting whether or not we are truly His. But, at the same time, you are right...we must not grow complacent. We must remember that even in grace, He desires an obedient heart...

Grabbling with these scriptures...mulling, chewing, listening...

And, praying...

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Hoping my rambly comment made some sense...forgot to proof before I published...risky!