So, I’m going to let you in on my writing prep secrets ~
On my smartphone (shocker!), I utilize the “notes” app to keep track of blog ideas. I read over them and pray during the week that God will let one theme/idea shine above the rest. Then on Monday’s, I spend the day writing and following up with the necessary research….write it up and post! Voila!! I am very thankful that the Lord has given me the gift of writing and the ability to easily express my thoughts concisely and truthfully. I get lost in the moment because I love to write so much ~ especially when I’m writing about God’s Word! So much so, that I actually set an alarm on my phone to go off and the time I need to leave to pick up my daughter from school.
Today, however, I am admittedly having a much different experience. I’ve been trying to write on topics that the Lord clearly wants me to use….for another time. I want to write something fun and make you (and me!) feel good. So after arguing with the Lord in Corner Bakery for about 2 hours, I’m submitting my will to His.
Let’s chat first about the title of today’s post, “Foolishness and Fear: Tolerant Inclusiveness,” which partially came from a radio teaching I recently listened to on KKLA – I’m sorry that I didn’t notate the pastors’ name. However, the phrase that struck me the most from his sermon was this, “Fear and foolishness will take you far. Far, far away from God’s plan.” Have you seen this play out in your own life? I sure have and it’s no fun getting back on track, but oh boy is it always worth it!
The Bible addresses ‘fear’ over 340 times, and variations of ‘foolishness’, over 300 times (depending on the translation you are using). But guess what ~ do you know how many times the Word mentions the word ‘tolerant’? How about the word ‘inclusiveness’? Well, I searched just six translations (HCSB, NLT, ESV, NIV, KJV, and NASB) and the only mention of tolerance that is printed in the Bible is in Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (NASB); and in the NLT version, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” In other translations, they use words like: forbearance, long-suffering, restraint, and patience.
If you are new to my blog, you’ll come to know that I love word studies and definitions ~ so here’s a few for today:
- Tolerance: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own.
- Tolerate: to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit.
- Inclusive: including or encompassing the stated limit or extremes in consideration or account.
- Include: to contain, as a whole does, parts or any part or element.
Alrighty ~ if you’re hanging in here with me and my little word study, here’s a blended sentence that defines the above words: “To show a permissive attitude toward the beliefs of others that differ from my own as a way of encompassing individuals and/or organizations with extreme consideration.” (R.A.B.)
Now here comes the part that was making me nervous to write today…because I don’t want to offend anyone, however, offending the Lord by not saying it would be worse.
The sentiment I shared above is…not…found…in…Scripture…anywhere. It just isn’t.
God’s Word is very clear on what the Lord permits as healthy, biblical living and what is not.
Please hear me and know that I do not put myself in a place of any kind of superiority or high position of biblical knowledge. All I know is what I’ve learned from my own studies of the Word and 20+ years of bible studies and classes.
God calls us to: *Keep His commandments *Honor His Name *Believe in the Trinity *Accept the inerrant Word of God as the whole truth *Believe that Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected to be our Savior *Seek forgiveness of our sin *Find restoration through Him and only through Him.
We are not called to: *Accept all life choices and decisions of everyone on the planet *Make sure no one is uncomfortable with the truths of the Bible *Make sure to be politically correct as to not offend anyone *Be ‘tolerantly inclusive.’
My sisters in Christ (and brothers too if you’re reading this now) ~ we do not have the convenience of worrying if our belief in Jesus Christ offends someone. What we do need to concern ourselves with is how we present our belief in God. We are not to bash the proverbial “Good Book” over someone’s head to make them believe….that has never worked! We already have the perfect example of how to witness to others in the words of Jesus Himself ~
“And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17); “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21); “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6); “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:9-15).
As followers of Christ, we do not have the right to pick and choose what parts of the Bible we like, what we agree with, or what gives us the warm fuzzies. If you believe in the Word of God, the Holy Bible, then you believe ALL of it!
God is extremely clear on what is and isn’t tolerated: Deuteronomy chapter 13 was an admonition to the early Israelite’s to not allow any false prophets to come into their midst, or friends and family for that matter, who would tempt them away from following Yahweh (Father God) in order to worship other man-made gods. Habakkuk 1 tells of the absolute unbelief of the Israelite’s as to all of the wickedness the Babylonians were causing them. However, reading verses 2-5 in chapter 1, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.”; this could actually be penned by someone currently living in today’s world.
There are so many things happening in our world today that simply do not make any sense; things that are clearly sin in the eyes of the Lord. Sin is not a popular subject, but it must be addressed. The “easy ones” that most people can agree on are things like – lying, cheating, stealing, and killing. But what about adultery, idolatry, witchcraft, living together before marriage, homosexuality, cursing, grumbling, gossip, greediness, the love of money, or sexual promiscuity? These are just a few. We are born into a sinful nature and this is why we need Jesus as our Savior. Without Him, we are doomed to eternal separation. What happens when we don’t have all the answers? Or when we do have biblical answers that make people uncomfortable? Fear can set in and foolishness will certainly follow.
As I sit in a local café working on this blog post, a young woman sits down next to me and proceeds to return all her personal calls on her lunch break (oh goody for me!) I was preparing to move, but felt God tell me to stay put because I needed to hear something she was going to say. Seriously? So, I stayed. Her very first call was to a friend that she was trying to convince to extend her upcoming business trip to Southern California by telling her about all the great places they could visit….Hollywood & Highland, Malibu, Santa Monica, hiking trails galore, and so many beaches to choose from…but this next statement actually brought tears to my eyes. She summed up her plea by saying, “Oh, and then there’s Venice Beach boardwalk. It’s got all kinds of drugs, homeless people, bars, half-naked roller skaters…it’s kind of a dirty place but that’s the charm of it all.” The charm? But this is the world one lives in who does not know the Lord; someone believing the lie of Satan that sin is charming and fun.
Galatians 1:10 says, “Am I now trying to win the favor and approval of men, or of God? Or am I seeking to please someone? If I were still trying to be popular with men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (AMP). This is a portion of scripture where the apostle Paul was exhorting the new converts in Galatia to stand fast in their relationship and salvation through Jesus. I will tell you also, that reading through the Scriptures of what Christ calls us to and what He warns us about, breaks my heart as so many in this world deny the salvation and restoration that Jesus has to offer us ~ and offer it freely and full of grace. We cannot earn what He offers. He has paid the ultimate price ~ we should not disregard this gift by “dumbing down” God’s truth. We cannot serve Christ and our own interests at the same time either.
Being different isn’t easy ~ there is an exhaustive list of examples I could provide you with, but let’s stay on task about seeking our identity in Christ, while remaining consistent with the truth of God’s Word. The news is daily filled with examples of greed, corruption, and sin ~ by people of all walks of life as well as some who have claimed to be Christians. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we don’t mess up and sin at times. Horrible atrocities have been committed in the name of a “Christian” and those actions have tarnished the worldly perspective of what it truly means to be a Christ-follower. However, even as a follower of Christ, we are still people who suffer from being tempted to do or say things that are not a reflection on who Jesus really is. We do not become perfect when we become Christian. We are simply stating out loud to the world, that we need a Savior; Someone bigger than we are to save us from the sinful pit of this world.
If Jesus was a ‘politically correct, tolerantly inclusive’ person ~ why in the world would we need Him? If at the mercy seat of Jesus, when we see Him face to face after our death, we simply gave Him a high five and a “Thanks man for the cool new digs.”, why follow Him here on earth? Why go through each day of life as a Christian being on task to follow what God’s Word says on how to live? Why would it matter what we did, said, how we acted, or how we treated others? This kind of thinking is exactly where the father of all lies, Satan, wants us to stay. Satan’s daily goal (yep – you bet he has them!) is to DELIBERATELY deceive people into believing that God’s best for them is a lie; that God’s truths are just basic guidelines; or that God is a mean vindictive deity who only wants to take away your fun. Satan is a LIAR!! Don’t trust him ~ Ever!
The word deceit literally means, “the act or practice of deceiving; concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading; duplicity; fraud; cheating. That is Satan’s purpose ~ to lead us away from the truths of God; to lead us into thinking that we can ‘tolerantly include’ everyone and everything simply because it’s the politically correct thing to do. Stop falling for the lies! Rest in the truth and promises of the Almighty God who created the Universe by simply speaking it into being. Stand firm in your salvation and in the truth that has truly set you free. With a heart of love and kindness, we can still share our faith and communicate to those around us how very much God loves them.
So many promises from the Lord through His Word ~ read them and hide them in your heart.
John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
1 Peter 5:8 “Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”
And finally one of my favorites that I want to close with ~ 2 Timothy 1:6-10 “For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,”
My prayer for you today is to walk boldly, in truth and in love, the path that God has for you!