Monday, January 17, 2011

Are You a Sheep, or Are You a Goat?

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?


Unknown said...

AMEN!!! Thank you so much for the reminder. We, too, are making big changes in our household for the Lord this year. I am excited to see God's work in and through your family!! :)

Kara said...

I committed myself to reading the entire Bible the year I lost my baby. It was so amazing the way God spoke to me. And it was usually most evident on the days I wasn't motivated and just wanted to read 1 verse only because I felt like I had to. Enjoy the many blessings and the Word of God as you take this journey!

Becky said...

One of the concepts I have been pondering this year is the phrase, 'Follow me.' How often do I plan something and say, 'Please bless me in this endeavor.' I am in a sense, asking Him to follow ME. The concept of leading. Where HE leads me I will follow. Wow! I love the Keith Green song, 'The Sheeps and the Goats.' Google it!

Ellie said...

Despite the fact that I have been reading her for almost 2 years, I don't think I will be back after this post. You are not a preacher, pastor or priest. You are not qualified to be interpreting scripture. Stop preaching and go back to the warm, funny, mommy posts you used to do. Because that's what you are. A mommy. And a good one.

boltefamily said...

I am sorry to hear that this offended you Ellie. I am thankful that you have read for the past couple of years. I wasn't trying to preach or interpret scripture. I was being obedient. God was calling me to get this message out and I did it. I live my life for Him. I want to be obedient.

This blog is a blog of my life and what the Lord is doing in me. It is more than funny mommy stories. This is what was on my heart. I write to please no one but Him. He is the only audience that matters. You certainly have every right not to read what you don't like, but I also have every right to write what is on my heart.

I don't claim to be a preacher or pastor or priest. I do however know that He has called each of us to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. I take that responsibility seriously.

Laurie in Ca. said...

This has been on my heart too Kristy. I had always been the black sheep of the family but I want to be a sheep for Him. He is changing me day by day and I never want to forget that I am nothing without Him. This message was straight from Him through you by His Spirit. Thank you for being obedient in putting His Words here. I love you so much.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Wonderful post, Kristy! Thank you for being courageous to tell the be bold for Him. You are middle road...and we need to remember that. The sheep and goats verse has always been a tough one that cuts to the core. He has been speaking to my heart about radical obedience, as well. I fall short...and pray for His daily grace and mercy to cover me...and for His Holy Spirit to work in me.

Thank you for this.

Unknown said...

Ellie -
Everyone wants to hear "warm and funny". That's the problem. Jesus often talks about our lack of service/commitment to Him as Christians. He Himself says He detests lukewarm Christians. Be hot or cold, or I will spit you out of my mouth. Pretty powerful stuff.

Our society is pretty lukewarm, I'd say. Go to church, put some money in the bin, but if you do more than that, you're crazy.

We've been getting some odd comments from people not liking the fact that we are foster parents. I keep referring these people to all of the passage in the Bible where Jesus talks about caring for the least of these.

It's not just about going to church and then buying anything you want at Target and forgetting the poor, the hungry, the forsaken. It's about being sold out.

Christy, THANK YOU for this. THANK YOU.

Thank you for your boldness. People are uncomfortable with it.

Jesus made people uncomfortable, too.

Change can cause discomfort. It is radical and it causes us to sacrifice.

Amy said...

Excellent post and thank you for your obedience in sharing what God has laid on your heart. He does that for a reason- so that those who need to hear can. It is not your problem if they take offense- your job was just to tell it as it is- and it's their job to choose to hear the truth or not. You may not officially be a pastor- but ALL of us are called to share the word of God when we accept Him as our personal savior.I am glad you take that seriously- because many don't.
LOVED this post and love your obedience.

Michelle said...

I enjoyed reading this Kristy! Thank you for writing it all out. The world is uncomfortable with the truth and that is ok. You continue to teach, not preach to us all and I still enjoying reading and learning from you! :)

Jason and Vanessa said...

This is by far one of the best gospel presentations I have heard! That Is not to boast in you at all because I know the Lord was using you to bring froth the hard truth of His word. To God be the golry. I thank God for you friend!


Mela said...

great post!