Friday, August 11, 2023

Even Keel

 I’ve learned to be as unaffected by praise as by criticism. Whether men speak well of me or all that comes from their lips is slander does not affect me in the least as long as I know that what I’m doing is in line with the Word of God and obedience to the will of God for me as an individual.

You can’t control what other people think, nor can you control what they say, how they perceive you, or whether they like you or not. What you can control is whether or not you are obedient and faithful. Coincidentally those are also the metrics God will judge us on as individuals. God won’t be concerned with whether or not I was liked, but whether I was obedient. He won’t be concerned with how many people thought well of me but whether I was faithful to the calling He called me to.

That we would go out of our way to endear ourselves to the godless, that we would betray the truth to be accepted or validated by the world is beyond my ability to process, yet, somehow, people do it daily, craving fellowship with the darkness they ought to have rejected outright.

God has a plan and purpose for every one of His children. He does not see my purpose as lesser than yours, nor your purpose lesser than someone you might look to as the ideal of spiritual tenacity and accomplishment. My job is not to compare myself to others, nor is it to attempt to fill the shoes of those who came before me. My job is to obey God's orders and do so to the best of my ability.

We spend far too much looking over the fence to see what our neighbor is doing and too little time tending to our own gardens to ensure that what grows there is pure and undefiled by the enemy. If everyone is distracted, then no one is paying attention, no one is watching, no one is warning, and so we have a noticeable decline in every metric that signifies a healthy believer, a healthy church body, and a healthy community.

You can’t have a healthy community without having a healthy church body, and you can’t have a healthy church body without having healthy members of that body. It’s like a ripple effect that begins with the individual, then cascades from there.

We don’t like to admit it, we might not even want to, but the reason for America’s moral decline can be traced back to the American church’s moral decline. Once the church failed to hold the standard, once the church failed to maintain the plumb line, everything else got dragged down into an abyss of degeneracy and hedonism, the likes of which have not been seen since the days of Marquis de Sade. Yet, somehow worse, because now every errant thought, perversion, or distasteful compunction can be broadcast instantly to millions and called virtuous and idyllic.

The contemporary church has been beguiled into believing that its sworn enemy has its best interest at heart. Because those who’ve crept into the household of faith unnoticed have risen to positions of prominence and power, they are consistently trumpeting that the devil wants to be your friend if only you’d let him, and those who would revel at seeing the children of God laying bleeding in the street, aren’t really that combative, just misunderstood. Everyone wants to coexist until they have the upper hand. Then, it’s either submit or perish.

We’ve been taught not to be skeptical when the devil or his minions praise us, and that’s something I never understood just from an objective point of view. If your master’s enemies are praising you while despising Him, why would you be enticed by their praise or think it’s okay?

We’ve gone from fiercely defending the sheep from the wolves to cutting backroom deals with them for a slice of the proverbial pie. That the slice comes at the expense of the sheep doesn’t seem to bother the so-called shepherds as long as they get theirs.

All the things they boast about, the cars, mansions, jets, and such, came at the price of souls. They came at the expense of the innocent, who trusted them to point the way to Jesus and instead manipulated the unsuspecting into making them physically rich while they remained spiritually poor. It needed to be so because had they gained spiritual insight, the sheep would have seen the vacuous emptiness of those they once held in esteem and hoisted upon pedestals. They knew from the start that their teachings contradicted the gospel, and so the last thing they wanted to do was encourage their followers to read their Bibles or study to show themselves approved. No need to ever crack it open; you have more important things to do. Just wave it in the air and say a few meaningless words once in a blue moon; that should suffice. Now, for the taking of the offering.

Everywhere you turn, someone is trying to exploit the children of God and much of the time, it is done with the knowledge and consent of those tasked with shepherding them. So what if the lives of the sheep are ruined, and they’re left with a permanent bad taste in their mouth after the whole ordeal? There’s always another flock to fleece, another group of gullible people to talk into a pyramid scheme, all with the word ‘Christian’ somewhere in the title to make it seem spiritual and above board.

It’s a sad day when the sheep must protect themselves from the shepherds just as readily as they would from the wolves. Then again, there is One Shepherd who’s already proven His selfless love and unbridled affection for the sheep by hanging on a cross and dying so that they might be redeemed. Perhaps the time has come to put aside childish things and follow after Him. He’ll never ask you to invest in a Bible-themed theme park, Jesus coins, sanctified crypto, holy sandals, or underground hovels to live out the apocalypse, but He will ask you to deny yourself, pick up your cross, and go where He goes.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

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