I woke up with three things on my mind this morning:
A. Cultural assimilation doesn’t equal salvation.
B. We were created by God Who alone deserves a particular glory and honor from each one of us regardless of who we otherwise associate with.
C. Honoring those He created (all human beings) isn’t an option as hard as it may be to recognize or do so.
A- Would you or I have a genuine, daily, intimate relationship with God in Jesus Christ if our spouse, closest friend or friends one day disbelieved and decided there is no God, the Bible is a myth-book and people like you are deluded in your faith? In other words, do you have a personal walk with the Lord each day based on other’s acceptance and kindness toward you or based on intimacy and a growing moment-by-moment relationship with Him?
“Though none go with me, still I will follow.”??
“But if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served, which were beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” -Joshua 24.15
What if Joshua’s “house” left without him never to be seen again? In the real world such things happen. Our friends are no more God than any of us are. Our Lord and Savior is alone our salvation – there is no other according to Jesus’ own words.
B- All created people, things, the universe itself, and certainly salvation and active, ongoing discipleship is all sourced in God Himself. Love, grace, mercy, kindness, forgiveness and eternal life were and are HIS idea and according to Jesus, His very coming into our world, sufferings, crucifixion and His resurrection were and are the will of God the Father. He has sent the Holy Spirit to empower those who follow Him. All this is ultimately true or it is not true. WE as people are ultimately either true in relationship to Him or we are not.
C- In one of my daily devo readings a particular line jumped out at me: “Belittling or denying the good that others do is a form of stealing. If we do that, we have taken away the honor they deserve. ” (https://todaydevotional.com/devotions/dont-take-what-isnt-yours)
The first part of this brings to mind Paul’s statement in Romans 13.7 “honor to whom honor is due” (note “is due” is implied but not in the original text best as I can discern via study). Peter further writes “Honor ALL people” -1 Peter 2.17
The Greek for those two works “honor” and “all” respectively mean “all, every kind, the whole” and “to prize, value”. In that all humans are created in God’s image -and- contain by the fall as well as capacity for personal choice a sin nature. Is it not the case we at times struggle with such honoring of -all- people? Yet Paul and Peter’s statements stand.
In summary, for myself personally the past 50 plus years of walking with Jesus have been a journey of challenge, spiritual growth, God’s provision and of course pain, suffering and watching many I loved and love either walk in faith with Him or fall away. To be blunt, very little if anything surprises me about human choice and behavior, both those who live out of relationship with God and those who do not.
To be very clear, loving, honoring a person does not always mean maintaining a close, deepening relationship with them though it certainly -does- between ourselves and God. Faith, trusting God Who is perfect and trusting flawed humans are two different matters indeed.
From the first moment of faith in Him until writing this in late February, 2022 my walk with Jesus is not based on what others do or don’t do with Him, His Word and His calling (or non-calling) on their lives. Jesus ALONE is my salvation and I do not believe there is any other worthy of being called Savior, certainly not another human being who like myself is as apt to sin as God Himself is fully perfect, totally sinless!!
The essential relationship with God is THE. ISSUE. and shall be in eternity. How we treat one another is or is not based in His love, and that -regardless of another’s faith or zero faith, is an ongoing matter: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
If my neighbor follows Him or not, loves or hates me cannot dictate my love and relationship with Jesus nor my loving my neighbor to the best of my understanding of what God’s love for them requires of me.
May God grant you and I grace to trust Him though trusting people and even our own motives has often proved a calamity. It really does come down to your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn