This morning I feel very tired. My eyes are heavy, and I am fighting off going back to sleep. I am tired partially because I probably did not get an adequate amount of sleep, but I am also tired emotionally over certain situations going on in my life which seem to have no end to them in sight.
So, as I sat here contemplating if I should just go get some more sleep, I inquired of the Lord, and I asked him if he ever gets tired over the things which make me tired. And, he answered back with a few scriptures:
“I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.” Is. 1:14 NASB
“You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.” Is. 43:24 ESV
God hates hypocrisy. He hates false forms of worship and empty sacrifices which have no substance behind them because they do not result in changed lives. He hates it when we just mouth empty confessions of love, worship and service to him, but our words are not followed with action. We tell him we love him, but our actions say the opposite. We tell him he is our Lord, while we still control our own lives and we do not submit to his will.
He gets weary of us just repeating the same sins over and over again while we claim to know him and to worship him, and especially if we keep making excuses for those same sins. He gets tired of our many false confessions of how we intend to change, too, while we never or rarely do. He doesn’t want to hear our words if our words are lip service only but our hearts are far from him. He knows if we are just “throwing him a bone” in hopes to appease him or if our words are genuine because our actions follow suit.
The Lord Jesus led me to read Philippians 3 (Select vv. NASB).
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision. V. 2
There is a warning here to watch out for those who are evil workers but who fake their relationships with Jesus Christ or who teach a false gospel. I think there are many within the church gatherings who might fit this description, though, so I think it would be good for those who believe they are Christians to examine their own hearts and lives to see whether or not their confession of Christ is words only, or is primarily just words, perhaps to impress others, but that there is no real substance behind those words, because they are still walking according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit.
Some of these evil workers could be our friends, family members, neighbors or co-workers. They may give the false impression of having an intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ. And, they may be good with the sermons and the false confessions of faith, but by their lifestyles they deny the Lord. Their words do not match their walks, in other words. And, some of them may willfully put on a righteous act to impress others in order to hide insidious sins which they want no one to know about, much like the Pharisees.
Some of these evil workers, though, will also try to lead others to go “down their rabbit hole,” i.e. into a world of lies, sin and perversion. So, we have to pray for wisdom and discernment so that we are not easily led astray. These evil workers, not content with their own depredation, will try to drag others down with them because sin loves company, and it hates righteousness.
You may feel as though you may not ever be led astray by them, but they are very clever, subtle, stealthy and manipulative in their approach, and they disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. So, to the unsuspecting, they may appear to be godly, and even what they are saying may have the appearance of truth, but they have a way of twisting truth or of telling half-truths, and they can be very convincing, so we do have to test what we hear to make certain it is of God, so that we are not fooled.
For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh. V. 3
The true circumcision are those who are born of the Spirit, and who worship God in the Spirit. We read in Romans 12 that our acceptable worship of God is to give our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him. We should no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we should be transformed of the Spirit of God, in heart and mind, away from sinful lifestyles to living and walking in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, empowered by the Spirit of God within us.
This means that our walk should now match our talk, not in absolute sinless perfection, most likely, but that consistently and faithfully we should not be talking beyond what we are living. If the Lord does have us share a spiritual truth, and we know we are not living it, then we should be willing to acknowledge that and not pretend or give a false impression that we are.
We who are the true circumcision should put no confidence in the flesh, too. This means we should not rely on our own flesh, but on the Spirit to help us. And, it also means that we should not put our confidence (assurance) in other humans, too, who are sinful beings, and who may not be telling us the truth. We should not be followers of man, but of God, and we should test what others tell us to make certain they are telling us the truth. Just because something sounds good or looks good doesn’t mean it is good.
So, we need to be wise and discerning and pray.
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. Vv. 17-19
Sadly enough, there are many people within the gatherings of the church who profess to be Christians, but who live just like this description here of those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. And, some of them are the pastors and the elders and the deacons and small group leaders, et al.
Yet, it is not just that we must test what they do and say, but that when we do, and when we stand for what is right, and we reject what is wrong, that we can expect to be persecuted for it, too. Those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing, who are these evil doers, but who hide their evil deeds behind a mask of righteousness, will persecute those who are standing on the truth and who are exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness. It is a given!
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. Vv. 20-21
But, in all this, we can be encouraged, and we can have hope, for this world is not our home, we are just passing through. All that we are going through right now is just temporary. A better place is awaiting us. And, in the meanwhile, our Lord is our all sufficiency, who will help us, and who give us all that we need to continue to stand strong, and to keep following him.
So, don’t be disheartened by those who are of the false circumcision who are mouthing empty words of worship of God while they are hiding their sins in secret so that no one will know. And, don’t let it get you down if they are also the ones who are persecuting you for standing for righteousness. Just put your trust in the Lord, rest in him, and keeping doing what he says.
All Through the Night
An Original Work / December 7, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.
When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.
Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.
Thursday, December 21, 2017, 5:30 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging words which give us hope and healing. Amen!