Chapter Two Time to Walk the Walk
After God reveals himself and calls us unto his eternal Kingdom, we have a decision to make. We can reject, procrastinate or choose to believe and follow Jesus. When we decide to trust and follow the Son of God, it is crucial that we don’t do it hastily and make sure that we understand exactly what we are doing. Those who surrender there lives to Christ must realize that we are making a lifetime commitment. It is the most rewarding, yet astronomically difficult, decision any person could ever make in their lives.
For the faithful followers, obeying the faith and living worthy of God’s calling is an unparalleled challenge and obligation. There are many of us who attempt to follow God, but we deny his power to transform our lives. We want to be Christians, but we don’t always want to change our lifestyles accordingly. We want all the blessings, but we don’t want to walk the walk. In this chapter, I will compare the different reactions people have when they first hear the Gospel of Christ. I will elaborate more on what it means to be called by God and our responsibility to live worthy of this calling. Then I will explain more the differences between “knowing about God” and “having a real personal relationship” with him, as well as distinguish between “perfect faith” and “dead faith.”
Different responses to God’s Calling:
To understand the various reactions that people have when they hear the Gospel of Truth, it is helpful if examine a parable that Jesus taught in Matthew 13:24-30, He tells us about a man who went out to sow some seeds on the ground. As the man scattered the seeds across the ground, some of them fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured them. Some seeds fell on stony ground and could not grow roots, so they were burned up by the sun and withered. Some fell into thorns and consequently were choked out. But finally, some seeds fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit.
Jesus then explains the parable:
Jesus tells us the seeds that fell by the way side, where the birds devoured them, are the people that hear the message, but it has no affect on them because the spiritual enemy has distracted their minds keeping them from receiving it. The seeds that fell on the stony ground depicts those that hear the message and experience the initial joy it brings, but because they are unable to continue through the time of testing they fall away. The seeds that fell into the thorns and are choked out, reflect those that hear the message, but allow the worries and problems of the world to frustrate them, causing them to fall away. Finally, the seeds that fell on the good ground, depicts those who hear and believe the message and hold onto it. They obey, follow and produce a new life of godliness and victory.
The Parable and my life:
Not only does this parable describe the different reactions to the Word of God that people have in general, but it also points out all of the challenges that I have personally faced since I have been following Jesus. I have to confess that I have behaved like all of those people in the parable at some point in my walk with God.
Although the seed was planted in my heart the very first time I heard the word of God, it did not affect me at all, nor did I pay any attention to it. I was very young and more concerned about my school friends than obeying God or listening to my parents at the time. The birds had come to devour the word from my heart. Then later in my life when I finally did accept and believe the message, I remember feeling the overwhelming flood of joy, but since I didn’t continue to grow in knowledge of God my new life in Christ quickly withered.
Another serious problem that I had was my inability and unwillingness to simply trust God for all my needs. If I didn’t see God immediately solving all my problems, I would begin to be choked by the worries of the world. I would try to fix my own problems and do things my way, without God, instead of being patient and content with my life. Because I didn’t completely surrender and trust God, I found myself constantly being choked by the worries and problems of the world.
Finally, after many long painful years of learning, I have fully accepted God’s Word and produce the fruits of faith, like the seeds that landed in good soil. I’ve never met anyone who has never slipped back into their old sinful patterns to some degree, after deciding to follow Christ. Even those who are good soil right from the beginning stumble and fall sometimes. They just don’t spend most of their lives in the mud, like I have. They walk worthy of God’s calling and produce a spiritual profit for the Kingdom of God.
The Call to Walk Worthy:
Those who follow Christ have a responsibility to obey his teachings. He is also calling us to be a part of his family and kingdom and he expects us to behave accordingly. If we love God and respect God we will put forth our best effort to honor our calling and please him.
The scriptures say that many are called by God, but few are actually chosen. (Matt. 22:14) This is a very sobering concept, when we realize that it is certainly possible to hear and know about the salvation of God, only to foolishly let it slip right through our fingers. Only those who live worthy of God’s calling will be saved and accepted into God’s Kingdom. Those who overcome and endure through the times of testing and live worthy will receive eternal salvation and all the promises of victory in this life. Unfortunately, many will stand before God on judgment day wanting to enter heaven, only to hear Jesus say, “depart from me, I never knew you.” (Matt. 7:21-23)
The Gospel has reached the entire world now, even the far off hunting and gathering societies have finally heard the message of Christ. The seeds of salvation have been tossed into all the earth for everyone to receive, but only those who treat this precious offer of God as a valuable treasure will be considered worthy. Not everyone who hears the Message of Salvation will respect how vital it is to receiving eternal life. Those who do not honor and receive the words of eternal life will be rejected by God. Only those who believe and live worthy until the end will be counted worthy of God.
We must treat our hope and promise of salvation like it is the most valuable treasure in the world, because it is. Nothing else on earth can give us eternal life and happiness. If we really believe in the Son of God we will love and obey his teachings. We will live worthy like the “sons of God” are supposed to.
Because we are God’s children, it’s not unreasonable that we are expected to behave like royalty. We are God’s children now. Not only does he give us the power of his Holy Spirit, but we now have access to his wisdom, knowledge and understanding. We are now called by his name. We are True Christians, disciples of the most high God, Jesus. We are called to conduct our lives in such a way as to bring glory to God, not shame. Unfortunately, I wasted most of my life living shamefully unto God.
Although we are expected to live worthy of our Father’s name, for years I had failed miserably at it. Even though I faithfully knew God, I soon found out that my commitment to him was very shallow. When it came time to prove who I was in Christ, by faithfully obeying his calling, my superficial embrace became obvious. I began to reflect the foolishness of knowing about God, but not living faithfully to follow him. That is why I kept falling back into drug addiction, sexual immorality and many other chains of destruction. I didn’t walk the walk.
It is only by the grace and mercy of God that I have been given time to repent and walk worthy for him. So many people die early and are cut off. This realization has become my deepest motivation in life. No more playing games and wasting time for me. I have finally decided to surrender my whole life and faithfully live worthy of his calling. I wish I didn’t waste all those years.
Believing in God vs. Knowing about God:
It is impossible to walk worthy of God’s calling if we do not “believe” that we can have a personal relationship with him. There is a big difference between “believing” in God and knowing about him. Most everyone knows about God as the creator, but only those who develop a close personal relationship with him really know who he is.
There are two types of people who do not obey and follow God’s teachings: Those who do not really belong to God and those who are his children, yet are stubborn and immature. Those who live in disobedient to God choose not to confess and repent from their sins, while those who are truly his children will be chastised, corrected and eventually repent from all their wrong doings. Only God can judge and determine which is which. We should never try to judge someone else’s eternity. Sometimes people have the right faith in Christ, but they are very slow learners.
How do we know if we really “believe” in God properly?
It is easy to determine if someone is born of God or not by a simple test. (1 John 4:1) The scripture says that anyone who confesses that Christ has come into the flesh is born of God. That means anyone who confesses and “believes” that Jesus came from the Father, to be our God and savior, by dying in the flesh and shedding his blood for our sins, is “Born of God.” This is the “right kind of faith.” We are to “believe” in the name of the Son, because he is equal with God. (John 10:30-33, John 8:24)
This is the knowledge and confession
that leads to eternal life. Once this foundation of faith has been firmly establish in our hearts, we are “commanded” to build upon it by obeying the teaching of Jesus. It does no good to believe in the Son of God without faithfully obeying and following his teachings. If we do not obey his teachings we are playing a very dangerous game. It is by our obedience that we prove our faith and gain confidence in our eternal salvation. Without the evidence of following Christ and being changed into new creatures, we may very well be deceiving ourselves into thinking that we are really God’s children, when we’re actually not.
Some people have a counterfeit confession. They say the right words about Jesus, but they don’t really “believe” and follow him. I was walking a very fine line of deceit in my own life until I repented. I have to confess that I was very hypocritical and counterfeit many times in my life. Just because we attended a local church, read the Bible occasionally and say a few prayers, doesn’t mean that we have a real faithful relationship with God. These religious practices will not save us. This is the kind of dead faith that even the devils have. (James 2:19)
We must prove that we have a personal relationship with God by “believing” and “following” the teachings of his Son. His Spirit must live inside and guide us in all our ways. We should begin to desire God’s ways over our own and follow his commandments of love and holiness at all times. This is his commandment, “That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.” It should be obvious that we are living according to this commandment, which will perfect our faith. (James 1:22-23, 1 John 3:23)
Perfect Faith vs. Dead Faith:
“Perfect Faith” doesn’t mean that we act perfectly all the time, but it merely means that we can see the faith of someone by how they live their lives. Anyone can claim to have faith or believe in Jesus, but “Perfect Faith” will always reflect the actions to prove it. Those who claim to believe in something and do not prove it have “Dead faith.” (James 2:17-22) Let’s examine the word “Believe” a little closer.
The word “believe” in the Bible is used to mean “faith that takes action.” Believing is not only to “know about” something, but to accept, trust and follow it with sacrificial dedication. In the case of “believing in Jesus,” there will be some kind of visible evidence that proves one is living according to his teachings.
Here is an example of believing in something vs. knowing about it: Many people claim to believe in eating healthy and exercising, but have you ever noticed that most of the people who make this claim do not actually live accordingly? They eat bad food and don’t follow a regular exercise program. You can tell by examining someone’s life whether or not they really believe in what they say. Those who truly believe in what they say will demonstrate it with their lives. You should notice that their actions reflects exactly what they say they believe. Those who claim to believe in eating healthy and exercising will actually display a healthy lifestyle, instead of being lazy and careless about their diet.
If there is ever a discrepancy between what someone “claims they believe” with what they “actually do,” then it’s clear that they do not really “believe” in what they are claiming. They have “Dead Faith.” They may be ignorant, deceived or lying, but one thing is obvious, they don‘t really believe what they are claiming. Many people have no awareness that they are practicing such superficial and false confessions on a regular basis. This practice is truly an epidemic in our modern society, especially in the Christian community. I also catch myself falling into this trap sometimes.
Let us examine ourselves very carefully to test whether we have “Perfect Faith” or “Dead Faith.” We must make sure that our faithful confession in the Gospel of Christ does not fall short of reflecting real action to prove it. I am learning all the time how to follow and obey God’s teachings. As the Spirit of God leads me, I make every effort to turn away from the evil things that I used to do and walk worthy of his calling.
In Conclusion, I hope you understand how everyone responds differently to the Gospel of Christ and what it means to be called by God and live worthy unto him. Now that we have learned the differences between knowing about God and having a personal relationship with him, and what real faith vs. dead faith are, we can truly live our lives in such a way that proves we are indeed the “sons of God.”
No matter how much perfect faith we have, we will sooner or later come face to face with many difficult challenges. No one is exempt from being tested by God and tempted by the Devil. In the Next chapter we will explore the inevitable “time of testing” that we all must endure. Everyone responds differently to this process of purification. Some benefit remarkably and produce spiritual gold, while others like myself, suffer from repeated failure.