the most part. We don't need to carry any "papers" with us to tell the authorities who we are. We can even burn the American flag if we so choose, not that I ever would, but we are free to protest our own government. That is rare - a freedom that not everyone on this planet has. Freedom is truly a privilege, earned.
We can stand in the middle of our towns and pray to our God. We take that for granted. There are other Christians in this world who risk their very lives every time they even mention the name of Jesus. Yet, we take that for granted.
Many of our freedoms and our privileges come from those who have served in our military. Lives have been lost, sacrificed willingly, to defend and protect us and our country.What a privilege to live in a country like ours.
This past Wednesday I had the privilege of addressing our church's youth group. I got to deliver the Easter message - the story of Jesus and his resurrection. What an incredible miracle that was - the resurrection of Jesus that is, not my talk. It was because of that miracle, God raising Jesus from the dead, that you and I have the privilege of calling ourselves sons and daughters of the most high God. It is through our belief and through our repentance that we have been saved.
Not everyone, however, sees that as a privilege. There are people who detest Christians and make it their life's work to battle against us. There are kids in our youth group who do not believe in Jesus yet. That's sad but true. There are others who say they believe but they don't seem to be bearing any of the fruit typically associated with their faith. They have not made Jesus "Lord" of their lives yet. That may seem like servitude or enslavement of sorts but I can tell you first hand that it is truly a privilege, yet few choose to grasp it.
This was interesting. The night I spoke, I asked the kids in my small group, “How many times during the day do you think about Jesus?” One said, “Umm, two . . . maybe three.” Another said, “Three.” Another said, “Two. Once in the morning and once at night.”
One kid at least had a somewhat better answer. He said, “It all depends . . . on the kind of day I am having.” Honest, yet still far from what is required of us. Honestly? I am about ready to explode . . . in frustration. We, and I'm talking about all of us now, not just teens in a Wednesday night youth group. We need to get back to basics. Like, what is the greatest commandment?
"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." - Deuteronomy 6:5
God wants us to be obsessed about Him. He wants our full attention. He wants our devotion and obedience, not just to be thought about when we need him.
My friend at work and I cannot STOP thinking about God. He is constantly on our minds. How can we serve Him? What is His will for our lives? We pray, we fast, we spend hours each week listening to faith-based pod casts & sermons, and STILL we feel we aren't doing enough for Him. We aren't spending enough time with him, in prayer or in His Word.
I think the difference between TRUE Christians, and those that just "Honor Him with their lips,"
is the word "privilege." I have been so blessed by God! I pray that I never take Him and His blessings for granted. I feel extremely privileged that God would even care about me, yet alone desire to walk with me in the garden one day. I am so unworthy of His grace, yet God gives it freely, and without measure.
I came across this last night. As I read it I thought, "This really applies to how we should feel every day of our lives." We ALL should feel that it is a privilege to serve our God and King.
"And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you - see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have." - 2 Corinthians 1:12
It is a privilege to be called a Christian. Though some of us may be persecuted for our beliefs, we choose to stand firm for our King. He is our savior, yes, But he must also become our Lord. Then, and only then, will we be given the greatest gift of all - to dwell with Him . . . forever. :)
"What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer . . ."
What a Friend We Have in Jesus - Alan Jackson