The Daily Word of Righteousness

Spiritual Survival in the Coming Days, #9

And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. (Acts 11:26—NIV)

Much Christian literature of our day tells us how to get what we want. These books often are popular and make considerable money for the author.

How many Christian books of our day tell us if we are to enter the Kingdom of God we must deny ourselves?

You know, we are dealing with two difference entities. One entity is the Christian religion. The other entity is the Christian discipleship. These are not the same at all and their respective values often are quite different.

One can be a member of the Christian religion for his or her entire lifetime and never become a disciple. Since in the New Testament the terms "Christian" and "disciple" are absolute synonyms, we can say that one can be a member of the Christian religion for his or her lifetime and never become a Christian.

The very starting point of becoming a Christian is to declare we have left everything to follow Jesus. There is no other starting point. There are other starting points for the Christian religion but none for the Christian discipleship.

After our clear declaration that we have left everything to follow Jesus we are to be baptized in water as a sign we have died with Christ on the cross and have been resurrected with Him and have ascended with Him to the right hand of the Father.

This is how we begin the Christian life. We can't slide into it, we have to come to God and tell Him we are determined to lose our life in Him and save it in Him.

We can see there are not as many Christians in America as one might wish—numerous church members but not that many Christians.

After we take this first basic step of salvation, we must spend the rest of our life working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Our fear is that we will come short of the Glory of God; short of the rest of God's perfect will; short of that for which we have been grasped by the Lord.

A major aspect of our discipleship is that of God removing our idols from us and placing them under our feet.

It is so easy to make a good start and then to not bear lasting fruit because we were sidetracked along the way!

It is a race and we must run it to win. If we do not, we may not continue to live a victorious Christian life in the coming hour of darkness.

The disciple must "take up his cross daily and follow me." He absolutely must deny his most fervent desires and ambitions and take up his cross each day and follow the living Lord Jesus.

What is your cross? It is that which you desire desperately and cannot have without breaking God's laws. It is that situation you detest but cannot escape without breaking God's laws, without going against the Lord's will.

There is no way in which we are going to emerge victorious and be able to help others in the days to come unless we are willing to set aside our own life to do God's will. There is no other way! If you try to get around your cross, God Himself will send a powerful delusion on you. This is what the Scripture states. You did not receive the love of the truth!

To be continued.