A Plea of the Heart For Messianic Devotion and Discernment
Disconcerting developments transpiring in the world, and past events in the recent history of our nation, have left many of us with an unsettled feeling deep within ourselves. Or even worse, we may be struggling with a burgeoning state of inner dismay. We wanted to dismiss the tragic Branch Davidian cult standoff and ensuing infernal tragedy of the past as an aberration; a fleeting indicator of our desperate epoch of near universal upheaval and frothing turmoil. We may likewise profess that we, on an individual basis, could never be spiritually hoodwinked. We are self-confident in the knowledge that we would never sacrifice ourselves to the likes of a David Koresh or Jim Jones or any number of self-appointed prophets or ‘messiahs’ that have foisted themselves upon the altar of the religious world. Upon closer examination, though, it becomes all the more disconcerting when we realize that a considerable number of the followers of these pseudo-messiahs were at one time among the ranks of those that claimed to be average, everyday folks such as you and me. They, too, longed- however misguided- for a redemption of this degraded, jaded society and world system. They sadly enough, blindly groped to create an epoch of world peace and universal brotherhood, a true spirituality, that offered a genuine solution to a society which seems more socially flagrant in its decadence than anyone can recall. Due to misguided devotion and loyalty their feet were not on solid ground spiritually.
Yet, who among us doesn’t want universal redemption from drug addiction, pedophilia, graft, murder, prostitution, gangs, robberies, violence, incest, alcoholism and the likes? Don’t we all yearn for an end to these atrocities of selfish human carnality and an ushering in of an age of redemption? We can only ponder as we contemplate what keeps going wrong? Why do we revisit and revisit the charred ruins of mistaken aspirations and shattered spiritual hopes? How can we who bear the testimony of Yeshua, who are called the "elect" of our LORD, attain to the status of solid footing in an ever trembling world in which we are by Sovereign decree aliens and sojourners?
As with every aspect of our lives as believers, we must allow the matchless counsel of GOD’s Word, the complete Bible, to speak its eternally wise and instructive message to our puzzled hearts and minds. We can allow the Ruach ha Kodesh, the Holy Spirit of GOD, to bear witness to the true truth and the true life, namely Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. Each of us can enter into the courts of our GOD in prayer and with a prostrate heart as we seek Him during this trying, perplexing time. We really shouldn’t be surprised by the perplexities of life we are facing in this generation. Scripture foretold of such days as these.
"Realize this, in the last days difficult times will come." (2 Timothy 3:1)
Yeshua said, "See to it that no one misleads you." (Matthew 24: 4-8)
When we try to decipher and understand the unusual hour of history that we are experiencing, our foundation must be His written word, His Holy Spirit, and perhaps most importantly of all, an internal focus of the heart upon Him. Most of those who plunge off the precipice into doctrinal error and into the cauldron of misguided belief and devotion to a man or a group have decidedly erred in the most basic principles of devotion to GOD and to the true faith.
Our lives must be Messiah centered. Our actions must be daily exposed to the mirror of GOD, which is His Holy Word. (Jas. 1:21-25). Our innermost being must be constrained by the love of GOD that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit of the Risen Savior. Messiah must be our all in all. We must cry out from deep within even as the great apostle and rabbi Saul (Paul) of Tarsus conveyed his heart-cry to the Philippians: "that I may know Yeshua in the power of His resurrection..." (Phil. 3:10).
Falling short in any of these basic areas of spiritual devotion to Yeshua the Messiah would only leave us in a state of spiritual peril. Unless we are careful, we may feel our feet shaking along with the ground underneath them. Each of us is not beyond spiritual peril, no matter how spiritually strong we may think we are. The truth of First Corinthians 10:12 remains valid for us today if we will be chastened by it:
"Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."
Keeping all this in the forefront of our minds allows us to understand more surely the sense of urgency that pervades much of the writings within the Brit Hadasha (New Testament). We can grasp the heart of the Apostles as they echo the resounding call of urgency that was in the voice of the Hebrew prophets before them. Attestations such as: "The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer." (1 Peter 4:7) and the admonition to basic devotion found in Hebrews 2:1, "we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it" cause us to be vigilant and to be exceedingly aware. Furthermore, Yeshua warned us that, "false messiahs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect." (Matthew 24:23).
Is it not self-endangerment to smugly adopt an inner attitude of accomplishment or to gregariously think that we have ‘arrived’ spiritually, thinking we have sauntered beyond the boundary of spiritual peril? If such a malignant attitude is within us, then our danger comes from an insidious hidden pride that may cause us to close our hearts to the LORD and to settle into a comfortable bed of spiritual malaise and passivity. Granted, we may never follow a David Koresh or Jim Jones as some did, or be duped by the false belief systems that such men espouse as they tragically martyred themselves on an altar of deception. Yet, if we with honest sincerity assess our lives and appraise our effectiveness for the furtherance of Yeshua’s reign over the entire earth, we would probably find ourselves severely wanting. What we may lack in spiritual gullibility we don’t always make up with godly zeal and an on-fire attitude in living out His truths and proclaiming Messiah’s supremacy on this tottering orb; earth.
The heavenly call that has been resounding for mankind since the creation has never changed. We are to seek to know Yeshua and to live godly lifestyles by the power of the Holy Spirit, that precious gift whom is given to those that obey Messiah. When we as a regenerated people in Him are no longer consumed by that all-pervasive desire to serve and to please Him we are indeed crossing a perilous no-man’s land in which are many hidden snares. Straying from our simplicity of devotion to Yeshua is, therefore, opening ourselves up to being deceived and being led astray. It is as if the Sovereign LORD is saying to us: "for I am jealous for you with a godly jealously; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Messiah I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Messiah." (First Corinthians 11:2-3)
We have a pressing need to take inventory of our present spiritual devotional patterns and habits. With the help of Messiah we should consider that, by His grace, our lives will be of great effect and impact on this imperiled generation. We can be assured that the generation of which we are a part, will grow more evil and corrupt. And if history is an adept teacher, there may lie ahead more Jonestowns and Wacos and the like for us to mourn. Nevertheless, from the midst of this generation the LORD longs to claim a people unto Himself that will express His glory and be ever proclaiming extraordinary victory by virtue of the merits of the Risen One who has overcome darkness and death.
At the appointed hour Yeshua will return for his people. Our task is to proclaim the good news of redemption from our sins through Yeshua’s sacrificial life and to conduct ourselves in such a way that others will see Him in us. Our feet must be upon the ground, solid spiritual ground. Our hearts must be seated with Him in heavenly places.
As this age draws to its anticipated eventful climax, we can intently look up and expectantly await Messiah’s imminent return. Yeshua alone is our redemption and the eternal solution to all the issues we face. Our Redeemer deserves our fullest devotion. We can take courage knowing that His feet will soon return and be placed once again upon the foothills around our eternal capitol Jerusalem.
May our feet remain firmly planted in Him until He returns.