It's 4th and 15...
It's 4th and 15 on the first drive of the last quarter of the championship game. Your team is down by 7 points. Your coach calls for a field goal - A FIELD GOAL?! All you can think is, "Why on earth go for a field goal when you NEED a touchdown to even hope to tie the game? There's no time left. A field goal leading to a tighter score in a loss is still nothing. Just risk it...go for it...all or nothing! Take the risk and throw it!! This has been my sentiment for the last few months. Not with football - in fact, I haven't watched much football this year. This has been my sentiment for me and the people around me. There is no more time to kick field goals when the game is almost over - time is fleeting. It's time to risk it, go for the touchdown, and win the game.
The last few months and increasingly over the past couple of weeks, I've been burdened with knowing that many people who identify themselves as Christian are people who are lost and searching for truth, not yet having found it. I look around at friends and acquaintances that claim Christianity and see the lost, hurt, searching and confused making bad decision after bad decision, living without grace and peace, and a lack of love. It looks a lot like people who don't know Christ. The Scripture is clear about this: a life led by the Holy Spirit will grow the fruit of the Spirit, that is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (see Galatians 5). But with some Christians instead of love, I see hate; instead of joy, I see anger; instead of goodness, I see glorifying badness; instead of self-control, I see Satan using and abusing them however he wishes. I have been earnestly praying for spiritual awakening in the people who surround me, Christians and non-Christians alike. I keep begging God for answers to why some of my Christian friends keep struggling with the same problems year after year. If they do finally get out of one problem, they flee to another. Their relationships reflect this, and their lives reflect this. I cried out, "God, why??" His response was shocking: "I do not know them." In Matthew 7, Jesus says:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding my commands]."
God does not change. There is a judgment day coming, and before that there is an entire God-led blessed life to be led, if only we will stop doing what we want and start obeying the will of God the Father.
This message isn't just for those who are lost and confused about their spirituality. This message is for EVERY SINGLE PERSON, including me. Please don't let the enemy steal this message from you. God is asking you to do His will. It seems peculiar to me that in the Matthew 7 passage, Jesus doesn't use those who are normally perceived as sinful to describe people who will be condemned to eternal suffering in hell. Why doesn't He talk about people who are openly denying God? I think it's because God knows that it's the most prideful people who think they are the most right who are going to be the most shocked by the reality of their eternity in hell. It's the people who are chasing after their own dreams and their own fame and glory and asking God to "bless them with success" that are the most lost. If your life feels like you're going 100 miles-per-hour, but you have no idea what direction you're headed, this might be you.
So you say to me, "Priska, I do love God. You don't know me. You don't know my heart. God does." To that I emphatically agree. But to that I respond, "What is the fruit of your life? What are you using your energy to grow and harvest?" I hear so many excuses related to Christianity. One of them is "I love God, I'm just focusing on other things right now." With God, it's all or nothing. It's the final quarter of the biggest game - it's real life. You have one decision - this one right now - to either put God FIRST in your life or put Him NOT FIRST. He is either the most important thing - more important than yourself, your savings account and career, your spouse and children, your family and friends...even more important than your calling in life. The best comparison we have is that of marriage. If you told your husband, "Hunny, I love you. You're the second most important person on earth to me, right behind my (mom, son, boss, etc.)", you would have some serious problems. God is a jealous God. He is not someone who will settle for sometimes leading you. He wants it all or nothing, because He is all or nothing. He loves you all the way, all the time, no matter what with the most deep, passionate, enduring, faithful love that ever existed. If you have experienced His level of love - He's the only one who loves you so completely, so He might as well own that whole level - then the only appropriate response is, "I love you, Lord. You are the only priority in my life."
I have to ask myself, "Priska, is God really your top priority?", and I hope you will ask yourself the same thing. Take a heart check. Be real.
- If you love God, why do you know more NFL or SEC football stats than Scripture?
- If you love God, why do you claim to not have time to pray and study God's Word? But you have time to perfect your hair, wardrobe, Instagram, career, and everything else in life.
- If you love God, why don't you go to church (the family of God)? You say church is too far and too early. But how far would you drive to see your favorite band or go to a football game? And how early would you wake up to see your bf/gf or to go to work 5 days a week? Where is God on your priority list in respect to your significant other or your job?
- If you love God, when is the last time God convicted you of sinning? And did you repent, or did you continue? Let's be clear: God's great love for you doesn't waiver depending on whether or not you repent, but God's great love should be changing you to not desire sin.
The truth is we don't value God. We don't realize that this offer that God extends to us is THE MOST AMAZING THING THAT'S EVER HAPPENED!!! We don't realize that the intimate relationship which God offers is like winning the spiritual Powerball. We. Just. Don't. Get. It. The Scriptures make it clear - there is one way to God. His name is Jesus. There are not multiple ways. Either the Bible is truth and you yield your life to the truth of God, or it's a lie and Christianity is promoting lies. Which of these statements does your life reflect?
Francis Chan, a hugely impactful author and speaker, wrote a book about the greatness of God's love appropriately titled Crazy Love. Here's what he has to say:
What I love about Francis is that he gets it. He gets that our priorities are whack, and he gets that God wants more than just to be remembered once a week, or twice a year at Christmas and Easter, or even less...
If you have been reading this blog and God is stirring in your heart, ask Him what He is telling you. I believe God is leading many people to read this who need to give their lives to Him. Is that YOU? Do YOU need to give your life to God right now, at this very moment? The most important thing I can tell you is that it's not too late! You have this moment, right now, to let God change your entire life - your present, your future and your eternity. God's Word says in Philippians 3:
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body"
You can right now surrender yourself to the God of all creation, the one who formed you and loves you better than you can ever love yourself. You can choose Christ Jesus as your Lord. You can receive His love right this very moment and begin a life of obedience to Him. Talk to God right now. If you don't know how, just speak out loud and tell Him, "God, I choose You. Lead me, and I will follow."
If that was your first time to pray that or your thousandth time, YOU JUST CHANGED YOUR LIFE! God will honor your words and actions and grow a desire in you for His love and truth. Begin my basking in His love daily, praying, reading His Word, and practicing obedience throughout your life.
God, I cry out for my generation. I cry out for the generations before and after me. We have been fair-weathered Christians. We have put anything and everything before You. For those of us who would repent, revive our hearts for You. Cause us to long for you. Cause us to desire You so much that nothing else compares. You are the most important thing for all of time, and we put You first in our lives. Thank You for your faithful love shown. In Christ Jesus, we receive it and walk forward, with You as our Lord.
With love, PriskaTabitha