There were two men who were lost at sea and adrift on a raft. As the days went by it began to look really bad for them. Finally, one of them, frightened at the prospect of dying, began to pray: Oh Lord, please forgive me for all the commandments I have broken and all the sins I’ve committed.
I’ve got some pretty bad habits-I drink, I curse, I steal and I treat people like dirt. But Lord if you spare my life right now, I promise that I’ll change my ways. I’ll never steal again, I’ll never curse again, I’ll never….Suddenly his friend interrupted him and cried out “Tom, wait. You don’t have to go that far. I think I see a rescue ship…
‘You don’t have to go that far!’ This is one of the great dilemmas people face when they first become born-again believer. A new believer is faced with the challenge of deciding just how far they will go with God. In fact, throughout our entire Christian life, we always face this test.
We need to continually ask ourselves just how much of our lives has been surrendered to the Lord. This is the key spiritual battle we have to fight on a regular basis– just how far will we go with God?
You can go further!
Now you may be saying to yourself “I have decided to follow Jesus and there’s no turning back.” Good! That’s an incredibly powerful statement of faith. It’s part of the spiritual mindset and biblical foundation God wants you to have. But there’s no doubt you can go further – much further. And the further you go the stronger, more mature and better equipped you will become.
Look at it this way: how far you go in building your relationship with the Lord can be compared to the difference between being a believer in Jesus and becoming a disciple of Jesus. Believer versus Disciple – do you see the difference?
Believer Versus Disciple- What’s the Difference?
Transitioning from a believer into a disciple is actually one of the main goals of our Christian journey. It’s a transformation process that leads us into new levels of godliness, holiness and righteousness with particular attention given to the types of Activities, Behavior and Conduct we’re involved with.
These are the ABCs of the Christian life. It’s where the rubber meets the road. It’s about maturity. Are we letting the Lord do His work in us? Are we developing our Christian character? Are we advancing into new areas of spiritual leadership and influence at home, at church and on the job? Good questions, right?
Now someone might read this introduction and immediately be thinking “hey, wait a minute. There’s no way I’m going that far. What do you think, I’m a priest or something?! Well actually, YES! It’s because the Lord Jesus Himself said it! Look at what it says:
“….and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen”.- Revelation 1:6
According to the Bible, every Christian has been made both a king and a priest. When you pledged your allegiance to the Lord you became part of God’s family and part of His holy nation. Peter the Apostle explains it this way:
“You have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were less than nothing; now you are God’s own. Once you knew very little of God’s kindness; now your very lives have been changed by it.” -1 Peter 2:9-10
What a description of every believer! You have been chosen by God Almighty to be a priest of the King. Many other translations of this verse teach that God has chosen us to be both priests and kings. This automatically implies that we all need to learn how to walk worthy of this calling.
Becoming A Disciple
To accomplish this, we need to take on the attitude of being a disciple. This includes transforming our thinking, our personality and our entire being into someone who is seen by others to have a sound moral character, based on biblical standards and values.
This isn’t so we can walk around sanctimonious and super self-righteous, but instead so we can project and reflect God’s love, goodness and kindness, all seasoned with humility, modesty, wisdom and knowledge. Peter goes on to teach in the following verses that these qualities will be noticeable to all and cause them to glorify God.
It’s no coincidence that God has embedded a special time on His divine calendar to work on transforming ourselves from entry level Christianity into becoming a disciple of Christ. This ‘appointed time’ every year emphasizes building your character and transforming your life from what it was to what God says it should be.
Counting The Omer
It’s a 50-day season that takes place annually between Passover and Pentecost. Leviticus 23 calls it “counting the omer.” In ancient biblical wisdom this is taught to be a big part of your spiritual journey.
This special season is where the question comes up: How far will you go with God? The biblical reality is that our God who is a Gracious Father wants to help you develop into the very best version of yourself. But you need to be willing to work with Him to make changes and grow into some things.
It’s often complicated because many new believers come into Christianity from difficult and dysfunctional backgrounds. The BC life (Before Christ) has created consequences that result in having to carrying the heavy weight of sin. As someone once said:
‘Sin always costs you more than you want to pay, takes you further than you want to go and keeps you longer than you want to stay.’
God Has The Master Plan
The good news is that God has a master plan of salvation and redemption. Even now the Lord is working in you to change and improve some things., but it helps to have a willing partner in the process. The Lord has great things planned for you, but without your willing consent, it won’t happen. But oh, my friend, once you come into agreement with the Lord and decide that ‘you’re all in’ a miracle transformation will begin to take place.
Surely this doesn’t all happen by the end of the week, right? If it took you twenty years to get into that mess, it might take a good while to get out of it. This is what the Lord is showing us with this 50-day timeline between Passover and Pentecost.
Let’s go back quickly and look at the very first Passover. It was a one-night event and is when Israel came out of Egypt. It was God’s grace at work to set the captive free. This represents your born-again decision; the day you committed your life to Christ. However, getting Israel out of Egypt and getting you to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior is not everything God has planned. He wants to take us further.
Working Out Our Salvation- A Work In Progress
The fact of the matter is that salvation is much more than just getting you out of your own personal Egypt. There’s so much more. You’re a work in progress. It’s part of your powerful, spiritual journey. Now that you’re saved and now that you’ve come out of Egypt, the next steps involve getting Egypt out of you. It’s about learning of the true nature of God and His many wonderful attributes; and how these characteristics can be integrated into our lives.
The spiritual strategy behind the entire season from Passover to Pentecost represents a transition away from living with a slave and sin mentality that was cultivated before Christ. You are now in God’s Kingdom and have been anointed and appointed to be a king and priest. Developing this mentality involves renewing the spirit of your mind, which is changing your attitude, behavior and conduct – the ABCs of spiritual growth. The Apostle Paul calls this ‘working out your salvation.’ The Living Bible says it this way:
Dearest friends, when I was there with you, you were always so careful to follow my instructions. And now that I am away you must be even more careful to do the good things that result from being saved, obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease him. -Philippians 2:12
You must be diligent to do the good things that result from being saved…both loving God and hating sin. Think of it this way. What would have happened If Israel had refused to follow the Lord after that very first Passover night? What if they had decided to go their own way? Would they have actually become God’s nation of kings and priests? Probably not. They would have left Egypt physically but Egypt and its mentality would have never left them.
Will You Go All In?
As you can see, leaving Egypt physically wasn’t the only decision they had to make. They had to leave that world psychologically: that is, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. So do you. If you never become pro-active and begin to incorporate Gods Word into your life, you will never break free from the past. Your spiritual success depends on how far you’re prepared to go with God. Israel was “all in.” Are you?
So, what are we learning? If you want to be truly free and truly walk into the destiny God has planned for you, you need to keep advancing and progressing toward the life God describes. Part of that process is learning to let go of the past, let go of your old way of thinking, your objections, arguments and emotional baggage. God doesn’t want you to and you don’t need to continue to carry things like the spirit of anger, hatred, animosity, hostility, bitterness and other things you’ve brought with you out of the old lifestyle. This is what Paul describes here:
“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” -Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT
You are a new creation in Christ. And every year between Passover and Pentecost the Lord gives us another opportunity to ascend to a higher level – to rise up and become a better version of ourselves. Then at the conclusion of this 50-day count, when the Day of Pentecost fully comes, the Lord promises an outpouring of His power, His revelation knowledge and a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit.
So, I ask you again, are you willing to go that far with God? You’ve made it this far. I think you are, Praise God! Amen!
Blessed To Be A Blessing
One of the sure-fire ‘next steps’ any believer can take to advance in God’s kingdom is becoming a cheerful giver. Being a blessing to others is a hallmark trait of Christianity. It reflects God’s nature and character. According to John 3:16, God so loved the world that He what? … He gave. James teaches us that true spirituality is blessing the widows and the orphans (James 1:27). Our ministry is dedicated to fulfilling this very thing with every offering sent to us.
If you can, please help us this month to be a blessing to meet the needs of Ukrainian Jewish refugees. We have a strong partnership with the nation of Israel and just in the first 4 months of 2022 have helped more than 13,000 flee the devastation caused by the Russian invasion. We are grateful that many thousands have been able to board buses and make aliyah flights to freedom and safety in Israel. Your gift enables us to provide much needed food, clothing, blankets, housing and medical care when they arrive.
Although there are great stories of hope, the need for critical care isn’t over. We must go further in unity and strength. Will you join us in meeting one of the great humanitarian needs in our lifetime? Your offering of any size will save lives and make a huge difference…. and we know according to God’s promise in Genesis 12:3, those who bless Israel will be blessed.
Get Ready. Your Best Is Yet To Come.
Larry Huch Ministries