(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)
The Lord gave me a really powerful message last week. My Bible Study group was meeting, and I was waiting on the Lord to give me something to discuss with them later that afternoon. As I was praying, the Lord just made it clear that I was supposed to talk about the persecuted church and how much they love Jesus.
So, I grabbed one of our Jesus Freak books off the shelf and started to look through the stories. I landed on the story of Polycarp being martyred. He was a bishop and the last remaining direct connection to the original 12 disciples; he studied under John.
I read that story aloud during Bible Study that night and I was so emotional. Not because it’s such a terrible thing that he was martyred because he didn’t deny Jesus, but because of his passion and devotion for His Savior. I’m not sure if you have ever read that story or not, but he actually told the guards to leave him untied from the stake as he was burned alive.
Polycarp said this as he was about to die, “Leave me as I am; He who gives me strength to endure the fire will enable me to remain still within the fire.”
The Jesus Freak book describes his death like this, “The flames rose high above his body, but miraculously, he was not burned. Those who watched said, “He was in the midst of the fire, not as burning flesh but as gold and silver refined in a furnace. And we smelled such a sweet aroma as of incense or some other precious spice.”
Guys, right now everybody is so focused on fall and pumpkin spice and all that delightful stuff. Right? Is that stuff bad? Nope. But again, it’s one of those things that we tend to focus on more than Jesus.
So, here is my question to you… Do you smell like a fragrant offering for Jesus? Do you reflect Him and His perfect image? That’s what we should be focused on. Not fall and pumpkin spice!
Come on Church! We are more focused on posting our thoughts and opinions on that kind of stuff when we should be proclaiming that Jesus has saved us from our sin!
A.W. Tozer once said this, “Throughout the entire New Testament a sharp line is drawn between the Church and the world. There is no middle ground.”
Listen, Polycarp loved Jesus and gave Him everything he had. He didn’t have one foot in to this whole “Jesus thing” and then one foot out in the world. His focus was solely on Jesus and that’s it.
1 John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions – is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.”
To make it basic, if we love the world, we don’t love Jesus. If we love Jesus, we don’t love the world.
Proverbs 1:15-16 says, “…my son, don’t travel that road with them or set foot on their path, because their feet run toward evil and they hurry to shed blood.”
Truth is, many of us are on the road that the world has paved all nice and smooth for us. However, it leads us towards evil.
My challenge for myself and the girls that night was how far are we willing to go?
Would we be willing to stand in an arena and be killed for Jesus?
Francis Chan once said, “We live in a time when Christians need to be told that they are supposed to live like Christ. That’s weird.”
So don’t be weird. More on that another time…
SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?
= How far are you personally willing to go?
= Do you find yourself loving the world or Jesus?
= What are you going to do differently?