Obedient, so that your conscience is clear, or obedient because you love the Lord, which is it.
Do you pray so that you can have your requests, or so that the glory of the Lord will be seen by others? “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16) For today’s Christian that seems to mean to fit in with society, to dress the same according to the event, to become part of the world, while attempting to keep your conscience clear, so that you do not end up feeling in a negative way about yourself. This is the way of many who call Jesus Lord, more concerned with how others will view them, not because they want to make sure that those they meet see Christ, but so that they do not end up being ostracized by those they meet.
See if you can prove this to yourself, when was the last time that you met a lost person, and not initially of course, but before the conversation was over, they knew, because you told them, that they were a sinner, wicked in the eyes of God. Many would rather have a clear conscience before men, than one before God. Their thoughts on this matter is that God forgives, that Jesus understands that they were just a little embarrassed, that they didn’t want to offend, that it just didn’t seem like the right time. After all, we are supposed to act like Christians right, and if you are forward with people about Christ then they may just walk away, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Tim. 4:2) Except you’re not a preacher, right?
Try this one on for size, how about your testimony? When was the last time that you told someone who you were before Christ, of how He brought you to Himself, when was the last time you gave someone your testimony of who you used to be, of who you are now, and why.
So then, after just these two short analogies, is your conscience clear in front of God, are you going to be able to walk boldly up to that narrow gate, look Him in the face, and with all honesty say, “I ran a good race.”
Who have you been obedient to, you for the sake of your feelings, or to the Lord for the sake of His glory?
I believe it is fruitless to have this conversation with many who say Jesus is their Lord, I have tried, all they do is get upset with me. They give excuses, they feel bad, then they become defensive and call me judgmental, wanting to know what I have been obedient to, then they leave my presence, thinking me contentious. Personally, I hope they cannot sleep at night very well, I hope that the Holy Spirit convicts them, for that is the purpose, not to challenge their faith, not to question them for my own benefit or amusement, not to glory over myself as being a better servant then they are, but to encourage them to face the truth about themselves, that it is their conscience they are concerned with, how they feel about themselves, how others perceive themselves, not the glory of God.
But it rarely happens that way, most generally they see me as prying into their lives, as questioning their faith. “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” (Matt. 7:1) is heard quite a bit by me from them, not “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” (Prov. 1:5) Or “He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.” (Prov. 10:17) “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Prov. 27:6) Trust me in this, if you have done this, then one thing you will not have is friends in this world, lost or saved. But we are not here to win friends and influence people, we are here to be obedient because we love the Lord, we are here to glorify Him.
“Thus saith the Lord” places little fear in people anymore, in their minds it has been too long, He has become a fairy tale, a boogie man to scare small children into obeying, for some of the saved nothing more than a benevolent grandfather type who will fulfill all of your desires and wants, no matter how you live your life.
The main reasoning, the main excuse these “Christians” use is God looks on the heart, that part way down inside of them that truly does love Him, not the verse that says we will be judged according to our works. (Rev. 20:12) For these individuals, feelings, emotions, have become their works, they read the Scriptures and feel good, they help out at church, and feel good, they sing the songs, put money in the offering plate, send a check off occasionally, and feel good. They read accounts of the persecuted, see the evil of the world, and feel bad, but they do nothing about it, their conscience will not let them.
Too forward, too adamant, to pushy, judgmental, contentious, that is how men of God are seen today, those who speak, those who do so for the glory of God. I will leave you with this verse today, let it sink into your conscience, and determine for yourself who you truly are obedient to. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)