Their humor is not your humor, they way they look at the world is not how you see it any longer, the lives they lead may be the life you once lived, but no longer.
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1 Thess. 4:13)
We who have been crucified with the Lord Jesus Christ are being sanctified, the word means to be set apart from, to be made into a new creature. On the cross we died to our old nature in Adam, we are no more a part of this world. Yet within us still resides the desires of the flesh, we want to laugh at the jokes we should not even be listening to, we want to view on our screens that which we know does not honor the Lord, a part of us wants desperately to hold onto that which we once knew so well. “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
What is being done within us by the Holy Spirit goes against everything we have ever known, and so we will contest all that He attempts to do. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5)
No one is born with a fervent desire to serve the Lord God Almighty, we must be taught who He is, it is not in our nature to be willing and obedient servants, pride is the ruler of the flesh, and the flesh will not acquiesce that ownership to anyone but self. We cannot change who we are, only the Holy Spirit can do that, but He will not force that transformation upon us, one cannot be forced to love, the Father reveals Himself to us, we by the power of the Holy Spirit are shown His truths, and we must make the decision to keep a firm grip on that plow.
We are saved by grace, we are children of the Most High, servants of the Lord, that cannot be changed, altered or lost, but there is our free will to contend with. “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25)
Here is where those who believe in a works-based salvation become confused, here is where they cannot see the truth, that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, that we cannot save ourselves, that there is no work of any kind that the Almighty will recognize as acceptable or worthy in His eyes towards our salvation, all was done by Jesus Christ on the cross, and so they confuse justification with sanctification. We can no more be a part of the process of our justification then we can our glorification, but our sanctification is a different matter altogether. “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
We are chosen, we do not choose, yet love cannot be forced upon anyone, nor the return of it commanded or offered by force, our free will determines the amount of obedience we will offer in this process of our sanctification, we determine how much of ourselves we will allow to be transformed.
Our obedience is how we show our love.
If you have determined that church attendance is the fulfillment of that obligation, and you continue to live the rest of your life in the world during the week, you may be an uninvited person at the feast, as the man in Matthew 22:11-13 was, or you may indeed be saved, yet wholly unprofitable. If you truly have been born-again, your life will be modified, some things immediately, others over time, and again, that is completely dependent upon your willingness to hear what the Word of God says by the power of the Holy Spirit and then obey what you hear.
A heartfelt desire to love the Lord Jesus Christ is deceiving if it is not realized by any actions, and those actions should grow as we are shown more, as the Lord reveals more of Himself to us. Your hand may be on the plow, but if there is no forward progress, nothing will be planted. And my friends, if you hear the message being offered today, and do not apply it in your life without turning back, there will be no further messages until you do.
Are there stagnant Christians? Yes, I believe so, but as to why I cannot say, there are far too many variables. Are there those who move further upon the path than others? Yes, because they chose to, by denying that which they once were, and heeding the prompting of the Holy Spirit out of love for the glory of God.
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44) From that point, your free will, you, determines how much you want to be transformed. A short prayer for you I offer here, if you desire to be profitable, “Make me willing to be made willing.”