What’s up IFG Tribe (Intercession for a Generation.) If you’ve been rocking with me since I started the blog, you probably know the tagline: To teach a generation the heart of God and the way of the Lord. This is still foundational to the blog even though I write on a host of issues that affect the lives of believers. I want to share some key points in how to hold on to Jesus when others are letting him go.
We are in the world and not of the world. Thus, we have to have both spiritual and practical wisdom to live in a way that honors God in this life. With that said, I have to buckle down and share some of what I’ve been seeing and praying about. We had a brother from one of the most Iconic groups in Christian Hip-hop remove himself from the faith last month.
There is another woman who considers herself a Christian who has written a book that creates her own rules for wrong and right aside from what the Bible teaches. On an almost regular basis, we are hearing of people becoming popular in the Christian hip-hop world or church arenas that are turning aside to homosexuality, lesbianism, and secular humanism to worship themselves instead of Christ.
These things are not okay. How does one hold on to Jesus when influencers and former musicians are turning away from the faith or preaching a compromised gospel? Below are some tips to help us to avoid falling away like the many that we see.
Humility will protect us from so much. Humility says: I am aware of who I am and what I possess, but I cannot judge God. My wisdom and knowledge is limited. I can always be corrected and be open to the right perspective. Phanatik, our dear former brother in the Lord recently lost his faith. As a Bible college professor, He stumbled over not being able to understand some things he’d discovered when studying apologetics to teach his students.
His response could have been Lord, I don’t understand, but I still believe. However, he expressed how he went on a search with some of the leading theologians and Christian mentors who were not able to provide satisfactory answers. Due to this, he has stepped back in considering himself a believer in Christ. He chose not to hold on to Jesus.
I do not know Phanatik personally; although, I’ve met him a few times. I don’t know if he is prideful or not, but humility will protect us when we don’t understand something about God. God will give us the grace to continue to believe even though we don’t understand something.
Humility is being aware of our limitations by trusting in a God who we have come to know as limitless. We watch and see God’s strength made perfect in our weakness of not being able to understand everything. Honestly, some things relating to God are too wonderful for our current understanding. We will have to wait for God to reveal certain things within his time.
Have you ever had a question about something relating to God or scripture and the Lord revealed it in a later season? I have. There are some things that will not be revealed until Jesus returns. We have to be okay with that. The most important thing that we are to understand as men and women is Jesus Christ and him crucified and risen again.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. – 1 Corinthians 2:2
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Listen to The Ambassador and The Tonic encourage the body of Christ after news about The Phanatik in the below videos:
Realize You Do Not Have to Know or Understand Everything to Hold on to Jesus
I don’t know about you, but I’ve read things in the Bible or relating to God that I did not understand. I do understand that I am not required to understand everything. I’m not God. My lack of understanding of certain arguments about the faith doesn’t take away from what I do understand. That is that Jesus died on the cross for my sins so that if I trust and believe in him, I’d be saved.
Some things God has been specifically silent on in the Bible because it’s none of our business. I genuinely trust that what we need to know; God will reveal to us through his word. There is a danger in journeying into certain literature outside of the Word of God that seeks to refute Christ and the gospel. The same doubts that rest on the person writing the literature against the gospel now become the battle of the reader to fight. This type of literature makes it that much more difficult to hold on to Jesus. The Bible warns against participating in certain arguments as they only produce strife, doubts, and questions that cannot be answered.
Have you ever felt like you hurt your brain by asking yourself questions that you had no answer for like: Where did God come from? So, God just exists? How does the trinity work and yet be monotheistic? Of course, you have. But what advantage does understanding things God has not revealed have on our salvation? If God wrote the Bible from Genesis through Revelation to reveal Christ and God’s character to us with his plan of salvation; shouldn’t we focus on that and be thankful? I believe we should.
We don’t want to simply get to know God after knowledge, but an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. This means when we do have doubts and questions which we all will; we have to be humble enough to bring them to God. God says to cast our care on him because he cares for us. God has given me peace and settled my spirit about various things I’ve not understood. He’s reassured me on what’s most important which is getting to know him.
Don’t have anything to do with foolish arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. – 2 Timothy 2:23
Be Aware of a Root of Bitterness
Hebrews 12 warns us to be aware lest a root of bitterness springs up and defiles many. Candyce Benbow, a Millennial Christian theologian, author, and blogger recently released her book, “Red Lipstick.” It discusses the challenges she’s faced growing up in a single-parent household. She goes on to discuss the loss of her mom, challenges she’s faced with church folk, and finally the perspectives her experience has created going forward.
There is a quote in the video below that discusses her book where Candyce shared something about the Biblical quote that says all things work together for our good. She feels her mom was dealt a bad hand and things did not work together for her good. Here we can easily see the doubt and the bitterness based on one negative heart-wrenching experience after the other. The bitterness is what caused Candyce to write the book. Her conclusions that pre-marital sex is okay and homosexuality is okay are a result of the root of bitterness she did not properly deal with.
As a theologian and someone who identifies as a Christian, she has a responsibility to speak the truth not to muddy the truth. It seems that she’s gone to the other end of the spectrum by okaying sin and self-pleasure or self-worship as an antidote to the trauma she’s faced in the past.
Newsflash, practicing sin is not a solvent for trauma. Healing, forgiveness, and truth are. Practicing sin to cover trauma is a temporary Band-Aid. I call this a vice in my first book, “The Single Christian Woman’s Guide.” A vice is an illegitimate way to meet a legitimate need.
Candyce’s qualms with her father leaving, her mom suffering and dying, church folk being mean and talking about her instead of supporting her are all legitimate. It’s almost as if Candyce has been fighting on her own to keep her head above water through all of her trials. Others, instead of helping, hurt her even more. However, she doesn’t have to fight alone. God was still with her in every experience to provide for her a beautiful ending. God is with the broken-hearted. We all go through having church folks judge us and talk about us. We all lose loved ones such as our parents. Some two-parent households experienced abuse growing up from the father or mother and greater tension is created. But through all things we endure, we overcome through Christ. We should not allow our hearts to become cold toward the Lord because others do us wrong in God’s name.
God promises to give us a heart of flesh for a stony heart. We all walk through back-to-back valleys, but we trust God through them. We have a choice. I discuss this in more detail in my book, “The Wholeness Action Plan.”
Forgiveness is necessary when an offense comes. Forgiveness is a choice. God gives us the power to forgive when we ask him after choosing to forgive. It will be a process, but we have to be humble enough to walk through the process. No one is above suffering. It doesn’t matter how good you are. You are not above experiencing suffering. The Bible says all those that will live a godly life in Christ will suffer some form of persecution.
The key is to deal with the offense immediately, so it doesn’t fester in our mind producing lies, jealousy, or evil thoughts. Recently, I’d been offended by a sister in Christ, and I spoke with her about it. As we talked, peace came over me. I was resolving the offense leaving it in the past to move forward in full strength toward my future. This is how God wants us to live in freedom from offense with full strength toward our future.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that
Be Intentional About Seeking the Lord & Placing Yourself Within the Community of Those Who Seek the Lord
Bitterness is one of the tools Satan uses to isolate believers. It fosters distrust with the rest of the brethren in the Lord. This is why it’s so important to put our offenses on the table to resolve them so that we can move forward together as one. We draw strength from one another as we seek the Lord together. When one is weak the other can hold up the weak one. Be intentional about seeking out meaningful groups where you can share your heart with others and be poured into. If you are only pouring out as a believer—you will end up empty and lacking in strength. Don’t think that you cannot be deceived because you’ve been strong at some point. We are all human, get weak, and need support.
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls, one can help the other up. – Ecc 4:9-10
Be Willing to Die to Yourself, Opinions, Perspectives, and Entitlement
We all have opinions and deal with thoughts while journeying through hard circumstances. We have to always be willing to exalt the Word of God above our own opinions. This can be uncomfortable but be willing to be uncomfortable for your own freedom.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5
This content is published by Russelyn Williams of Intercession for A Generation on https://intercession4ageneration.org/.For more encouraging content & books on “Life & Relationship Lessons from a Biblical & Practical Perspective” please visit https://russelynwilliams.com/.