The Choice is Ours

What would you choose?  To yield to the pressure of the crowd to do something that reflects poorly on Jesus in you, only to beat yourself up over it later?   Or, refuse to yield to that pressure, making it very awkward for yourself in those moments, with some discomfort later?

Which did I choose?  This time, I stood firm in my convictions.  Though I realized others were squirming – at least inside – because of my choice, it really wasn’t so hard.  No one chastised me for it, but I struggled for a while with the fleshly discomfort of standing apart from the crowd.

How much better this discomfort than what I have felt repeatedly in the past, in those times I chose to do contrary to the Lord’s will for me.  Those were the times I opened the door wide to guilt and condemnation – such cruel and unrelenting taskmasters!  Because I chose to be acceptable to others, I ended up living under oppression – a much more difficult thing to overcome emotionally.  In those times, I joined ranks with my accuser as he taunted me with such statements as, “You knew better than that!  Why didn’t you stand against the pressure?  You’re never going to make any progress in God if you can’t resist even the little things!”

I’ve had many more experiences with oppression than fleshly discomfort; yet, from this single instance, I found standing apart with Jesus Christ to be so much more rewarding (and easier).  It has helped me decide I’d really rather be alone with Jesus than in a stadium full of people ignoring Him; however, looking with the eyes of His Spirit, I see I’m not alone at all.  Many more are standing apart with Him in all kinds of settings all over the world.

Maybe one of the others who followed the crowd this time, when I stood apart to follow Jesus, will have the courage to choose to stand apart with Him next time.

Matthew 7:24-25 NIV   Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

What’s That Sound?

I have a brief thought I want you to consider this time around.  It has to do with the sound that we make in the spirit realm – and we are always making a sound.   When we walk and live in the fear of the Lord, our lives resound and reverberate, shattering strongholds as the sound goes forth; and it continues, even gathering momentum.  The interesting thing is that we don’t hear these sounds.   They are at a frequency beyond our ear’s ability to hear, because they are in the supernatural realm.  Consider the life of Jesus, the One about Whom the following speaks:

Isaiah 11:1-5  “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.  2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord  —  3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.  He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.  He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.  5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.”  NIV

On the other hand, when we live according to the flesh, the sounds we make lack the power of God, so they only make an echo, an empty noise bouncing off walls and ceilings and returning to us.  Do these sounds continue indefinitely, gaining momentum as they go?  Or do they serve only to tickle ears, even our own?

2 Timothy 4:2-4  “2 Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable.  [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome]; correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior].  And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.  3 For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, 4 And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.”  AMP

Oh, that every sound coming forth from my life will shatter strongholds because of the power of His Word in and through me!  Resounding, not echoing, dear Lord!