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What’s Keeping You Away?

By Watchman | February 18, 2013

Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.  Lament and mourn and weep!  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.  –(James 4: 7-10) 

     If you are one of the many who has not yet made a choice to ask Jesus to be your savior,  I am addressing this post specifically to you.  Why have you not given your heart to Him?  What is keeping you away from the Creator of the universe; the One who loves you, calls to you, offers you forgiveness of sins and eternal life?  As I’ve said before, time is growing short.  Already we can read the signs of a society that will not much longer tolerate the urging of the Spirit or allow the widespread proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So I ask again, What is keeping you away from Him?

     Is it unbelief?   How my heart goes out to you, and how I long and pray for you to have your spiritual ears uncovered and your spiritual heart renewed!  I understand how hard it is to believe in the unseen love of the Father when you have been raised to believe only what you can feel and see, or have been taught by the things that have happened in your life  that a good God could never have allowed such things to occur.  I understand that you listen to believers speaking of having the Lord “speak” to them or lay something on their hearts and these words have no reference for you.  Except for those lucky ones who grew up knowing the Lord after accepting Christ at a very early age, most of us used to feel exactly the same way.   There is no way to explain so that you can comprehend it what happens when you acknowledge your sin and ask Jesus to wash you clean in His shed blood.  The closest I can come is to tell you that God loves you so much that the moment you ask Him to be the Lord of your life, it is as though blinders come off your heart and you realize that you have seen the Lord standing near you knocking at the door of your heart since before you even knew who He was.  Please consider opening your heart to Him today.  If you find that I am wrong, what difference will it make to you?  You will have lost nothing and it will have cost you nothing, so you can shrug off my words without any harm.  If I am right…you gain eternal life.  If I am right , Jesus will cleanse your heart and renew your soul and spirit and set you on a new path as a new person—-for no other reason than that He loves you.  It is His free gift to you and to all who turn to Him.  I know that the one prayer that He always answers quickly and  affirmatively is the one in which a true seeker asks Him to reveal Himself.  I am pleading with you now to pray that prayer, and to keep an open mind and heart as you await an answer.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 1: 18

 “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”  2 Corinthians 4: 4-5

      What is keeping you away from Him?  Is it the fear of losing your independence?   Today it is a badge of honor to proclaim, “I don’t need anybody!  I can do it all myself!”  And yes, God allows us to go our own way if we choose to do so.  It is His character to allow us to make the decision to follow Him or to rebel and celebrate our own achievements and strengths.  What I hope you will consider today is a paradox:  dependence on God brings real liberty.  Independence from Him is rebellion and makes us slaves to sin and in bondage to death.  We do not lose by accepting Christ;  we only use our gifts in another manner.  Scripture tells us, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”  –Galatians 5:13-14.    God never calls us into bondage, only into liberty.  Jesus Himself tells us in John 8:36, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

     What is keeping you away from Him? Is it the fear  you will have to change your lifestyle?  I haven’t heard pastors and preachers address this much, but I know that there are many people who know God exists, but they just feel they’re not quite ready to give up their lives for Him!  Their jobs are important, money is important, how their friends and family see them is important.  They fully intend to accept Jesus at some point, but until then He’ll just have to be happy with their attendance at church and the occasional tithe.  My dear friends, God will not settle for a tithe.  What if, unbeknownst to you, your soul will be demanded of you tonight?  All the money you make and all the deals you can put together will not buy you a moment in the presence of God.  On the other hand, God gave you gifts and abilities, and doesn’t in the least mind your using them…as a matter of fact, He expects you to!  If you are a wonderful accountant or a gifted musician or a talented salesperson, God will not make you quit doing what you love and are good at in order to become a street preacher!  The only difference will be that you will be expected to bring His light and love to whatever job you do, and to do your job as though it were for Him!     Are you afraid that if you give your  heart and your life to Him  you will no longer be able to have fun?  I have to admit that before being born again, I wondered about this.  Now I know the Lord and His ways; I have studied scripture and sought His will through prayer, and I can tell you truly that God does not mind our having a good time.  There are indeed certain ways of having a good time of which He does not approve; the form your “fun” may take may undergo a radical change.  It is not a painful transition in the least!  The more of yourself you hand over to the Lord, the more you want to please Him and the more your spirit begins to cringe when you indulge in some form of recreation (be it entertainment, sexual diversion, whatever) that you know will be abhorrent to Him.  God loves for us to have innocent pleasures.  He loves us to have healthy and happy relationships with family, friends and spouses.  He doesn’t want us sighing and grimly forsaking all that is fun in life…He wants us laughing and happy and feeling the joy that can be found in abundance in doing His will and following in His ways.  Remember that although we have (with the help of the enemy, Satan) perverted them, ALL good gifts come from God for our enjoyment.     You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  (Psalm 16: 11)  Are you afraid that you will have to give up your favorite sins?  It is amazing to me how hard we struggle to continue hugging our worst sins to our hearts, fearing to leave them behind, long after we have realized that these sins are keeping us separated from God.  The truth is, we want to fool God by keeping certain  evil behaviors, thoughts, actions and attitudes in a little box we don’t let others see but which we don’t want to throw out.  God knows they are there.  We can fool our friends and family and even ourselves; we cannot fool God.  Hand that sin to the Father in the name of our savior Jesus, and He will cleanse you from the sin, and give you the strength and the determination to resist evil from here on out.  If you are afraid that you cannot do that, remember that we all have sins to overcome, we are all tempted and, sometimes, we all fail.  When that happens, we have “an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”  (1 John 2:1-2)  

What is keeping you away from Him?  Is it fear of your past, and the knowledge that you are a sinful being?    Dearest brothers and sisters, you are indeed too sinful to stand in the presence of a holy God, trusting only in your own righteousness.  So am I and so are all people.  We are born in sin, and all the good works we could accomplish from now until the end of time would be as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) in the sight of God.  Even Peter, the Big Fisherman, one of the greatest of the Apostles, knew that he was too sinful to be in the presence of Jesus:

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”  (Luke 5:8)

Although he was at Jesus’ side through the three years of His ministry, at the time of Jesus’ death Peter fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy and denied Him three times.  Had he not sought and received forgiveness from Jesus and from the Father, what a loss that would have been to the church!  Peter became the fisher of men that Jesus had told him he would be.  He spoke at the time of the first Pentecost, bringing three thousand people to Christ in what has since been known as the birth of the Christian church.    Romans 3: 23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”    Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and repent of our sins, the bondage of sin in our lives is broken.  The author of Romans also tells us “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord…for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace…and having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness….There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin:  He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  (Romans 6:11, 14, 18 and Romans 8: 1-4)    What does all this mean?  It means that when we come to the Lord, He is indeed faithful to forgive our sins, cleansing us from allunrighteousness, and we can then stand before God pure and clean, reflecting the righteousness of Christ who is within us!  Praise God!  This is the most wonderful gift and the best of all promises that we could ever receive!  Don’t be afraid to go to Jesus with all your filth and your sin.  He will take them from you, forgive you, love you and give you a new heart and a new spirit!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the  world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”   (John 3: 16-19)

    What’s keeping you from the love of God?  Won’t you search your heart and hear the voice of the Father calling to you?  Won’t you answer Him; open the door to your heart now and invite Him in?  Won’t you join me in the presence of the Most High God?

Maranatha!

 

Topics: A Special Word for Today, According to Scripture, Just A Thought, Kingdom Living, Salvation | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “What’s Keeping You Away?”

  1. Shirley Says:
    February 19th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you for this. I know someone who needs to read this. I am going to do my best to get it into his hands. This is such a good explanation of a relationship with Jesus. Thank you, again, for your obedience to God.

  2. Susan Says:
    February 21st, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Melissa this is an outstanding entry. You have demonstrated well what a relationship with Jesus is truly about. Thank you dear friend for the most timeliest and needed of posts. 🙂

  3. Linda Says:
    May 14th, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I enjoy reading your post and this is my second visit to your page. Thank you and keep it up! 🙂

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