16 September 2011

When You Stand Alone

Do you stand alone for something?
Do you know the loneliness of being the only one to go against the crowd?
Do you know what it feels like to be the only one who says, "you know, that isn't okay." ?
Do you know what it is like to feel that no one else is willing to stand with you on something that really matters?
Do you?
You say you're a Christian, but do you know the weight of that statement? Do you know that that statement can have you killed? In some places, it will. When you say that you are a Christian, a Christ-Follower, you state where you stand. But do you? Do you really? When you say you are a Christian are you willing to back that up? When your friends invite you to go see a movie that you know is highly popular and highly immoral, do you tell them that you have a bunch of homework? Or do you tell them seeing that movie goes against God, and against your principles? And that you won't go?
  Because you said you were a Christian, you know.
 When you're at the mall and you see a shirt that you love but that you know is way to see-through and low-cut, do you buy it and decide to wear it with the friends you know will love it, without telling your parents?
 Or do you know that it could cause a guy to stumble, and it will cheapen the way some people view you, and decide to put it back?
   Because you said you were a Christian, you know.
 When you're friends start talking bad about a girl in your class do you chime in,
"Yeah, she's such an idiot. And a klutz! You know the other day when I had to go out for a minute? Well she was right there and...."
 Or do you stick up for her, and walk away when your friends won't stop putting her down?
 Because you said you were a Christian, you know.
 When your co-worker comes up with a plan to save the company some money illegally, do you say something? Or do you let it go, knowing that no one will ever know, and it'll mean a pay raise for you.
  Because you said you were a Christian, you know.
As you may or may not know, it isn't easy to be what seems the only one who has any morals. It certainly isn't going to score you brownie points with some people. Everyone says it's the best way, but is it really worth it? Do you know how hard it is? It is lonely, and painful, and you don't think you will be able to keep standing at times. I speak from experience here. This isn't the path of rainbows, lollipops, unicorns, and magic fairy dust. This is a path of hard choices and being different.  If you want your life to be one big happy party, this isn't where you'll find it.
  But it is the best thing you will ever do. Ever.
 I can honestly say I have never regretted this path. As hard as it can be, it also is wonderful. The farther I walk, the more beautiful it becomes.
 Jesus never promised it would be easy. But he did say
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ( Matthew 11:28-30)
 When you feel that you cannot walk any farther, and that the storms of life are going to blow you over, He is there. When you don't think you will have the strength of character to say no and go against the crowd yet again, He is there. Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest..... When you are not able to do it on your own, give it to Him.
  "How am I supposed to do this?" you ask. "I'm not a person who likes to be different." "I can't do that, I don't have enough character." "I don't want to risk my popularity." " I don't think I can be different like that, I'm different enough already."
 Paul said, Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)
 Put on the full armor of God! Immerse yourself in Him! Learn about Him, talk to Him! That way, when it is time for you to stand for what you believe in, you will be strong. You will be able to hold your own. And when there is nothing else you can do, you can simply stand. Stand firm and be courageous, for the Lord your God is with you!  He has promised never to leave or forsake you!
 Don't get the wrong idea here, I'm not a person whom this comes super naturally to. I'm certainly not a brave person. I like to be on my own. I don't like help. But I have strong beliefs, and a strong sense of right and wrong, which helps. There definitely are gray areas, though! It isn't all black and white. But I trust that my Savior King will guide me through the storm, and that He will pick me up every time I fall. That is his promise, and I'm holding to it.
  "Why should I do this?" I know you're wondering. It certainly is easier to simply go with the flow. And the Bible isn't always clear. You could take the stance of "Well, the Bible doesn't say anything about it, so I guess it's all right." But that isn't your calling. You, as a Christ-follower are called by these words-
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
 You are a light in the darkness. You are the hands and feet of God. The world is longing for this. You are an ambassador as though Christ were making his appeal through us.  He is.
 This is where it is all worth it. When they can see your Father in you. It doesn't mean you have to be all prim and proper and never have any fun- not at all! But it does mean you need to act at all times as a Child of the King of Kings.
 In the end, though, this is what it comes down to. Your time here on earth is but a whisper in eternity. It isn't that long. If you follow Christ in all you do, this is a brief interlude before you see your Savior. But if you don't, than this is as close to heaven as you are ever going to get. Do you want that? Do you want that to be true for your friends? This broken, messed up world could be as close to heaven as they'll ever be. Unless you do something about it.
 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
 He loves you. He will always provide a way out of temptation. That is His promise.
He loves you more than you know.
 You are worth dying for.

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