If there is one main thing that separates us from the lost, one item that we have that until they come to know Christ they will never understand, is that we know God, they only know about Him.
In His infinite mercy, and for reasons truly known only to Himself, we, the believers in Jesus Christ, have been chosen by the Lord to be a people set apart for Him, to serve Him and Him only. There were many individuals at the cross the day that He gave His life for us, but one has always stood out in my mind, the centurion. “And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39) I do not know if this man came to know Christ as Savior, but I know by this simple statement, prolific actually, he set himself apart from all the other soldiers that were there. Any other soldiers that would have heard him would have either immediately distanced themselves from him, or informed their superiors that one of their own was on the path of conversion. He was shown the truth, and I believe that truth changed his life from that day forward.
I am not sure if we comprehend the courage it takes to follow Christ, if we truly understand the sacrifice that so many have given for His Name. As long as this man was a good soldier and obeyed all the commandments given to him, he had a job for life, a rare thing in those days, and not only that, but the prestige and power of being in the Roman army, a man who knew what it meant to be feared, was shown in his heart the only man truly worth following. My friends, we are not as they are anymore, and it is time to stop acting as if we are, it is time to follow the Lord, not them, not ourselves, only Him.
We do not have a choice about where we live, earth is our only option, but we are not citizens of the place that we inhabit, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the LORD Jesus Christ:” (Phil. 3:20) Home is where the heart is, and to not seek for the place of our inheritance, to not realize in full that we are not their kind anymore, is to deny who we really are, children of the King, no longer as we were. It seems to be one of the most difficult things for some Christian to come to the realization of, that what we are looking for cannot be found where we reside now, for they continue to see only with their fleshly eyes, and not with the spiritual eyes of their soul. It is more than just a waiting period, this life is much more than what you see and experience on a daily basis, we are surrounded each moment by what we cannot experience with our five senses, but that does not mean it is not real. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (Heb. 12:1)
One of my favorite verses is Luke 9:62, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” It is both frightening and convicting at the same time, for it speaks of the man who has begun to seek the Lord Jesus, to begin to follow Him, but has decided the path is to difficult, to much pressure for him to bear, and so he leaves it, and those who look back have no place left to turn but back to the world. This scares me beyond belief when I meet certain individuals who profess Christ as Lord, but do not follow Him, do not obey His commandments, who think they can live with one foot in the world and the other in His presence. I can judge no man in this area, for I cannot see their heart, but we are to judge with righteous judgement, (John 7:24) and we will know them by their fruits. (Matt. 7:20)
To try to remain as those who know only about the Lord, but do not have a personal relationship with Him, is to not set yourself apart from them, to remain as they are, and we are no longer their kind. As most men do, I have a list of items that needs to be done around the house, the “honey-do” list as some of you know it. The necessary tasks that must be completed are as varied as the day itself, and they are continuous, for we will eat our bread by the sweat of our brow, (Gen. 3:19) but they are not as mandatory as one might like to think. The lost have this list, and although it is similar to our own, to them it is more that demanding, it is what gives their life purpose, it is the motivation of their existence, and their resolve in these continuing, for the world only chores, is what they see as important. We are to know better.
To the contemplative man, these requirements are nothing more than a burden, a function that must be performed, but it is for this world only that they hold any status, any regard, in essence what they do is take away time that could be better used in the service of the Lord. When they are done for others though, as is the list that my beautiful wife asks me to complete, they are done in love, a love for her that flows from Christ through me, and so they are then no burden, but a joy, but the lost do not know this joy, they are not seeking for the rewards of heaven, for the fulfilment of a day spent in the service of God. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1st Cor. 10:31)
It takes time for us to leave this world, this is not the rapture, we have not been changed in the twinkling of an eye (1st Cor. 15:52) into the image of Christ, we are to work out our own salvation. (Phil. 2;12) our sanctification takes time, but the brother or sister in Christ who holds onto the world, who relishes still all it has to offer, is as all are, they do not know how much time they have, and so they linger at the trough, waiting to be called, drinking still from the fountain that offers no eternal reward. They have not removed their hands from the plow, but they are in no hurry to break the ground ahead, for it is hard and unrelenting, and this life still affords them some form of rest, the comfort of the known.
Until the man of God places in his path the continual view of the eternal, until he removes himself from this world, he will not push forward for the prize that is Christ, he will remain, at least in part, as those who will be left behind. When we place the knowledge that we are no longer as they are, we are no longer as we were before Christ in our hearts, we will begin to come to the realization that we have been set apart for a greater work, that we have been called out of this world while we are still in it, we will begin to serve with vigor He whom all are bound to serve.
This world is not our home, do not treat it as if it is. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col. 3:2)