Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Mark 4:18-19 

     Why am I following Jesus today? Is this walk out of my adoration and total devotion to a man, the Son of God, Who paid the price with His life to set me free? Or do I desire “other things”? 

     Wealth? Comfort? Miracles? Prophecies? Giftings of the Holy Spirit? Growth in my business? Growth in my ministry? Respect from my peers? 

      Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that prophecies will cease, tongues will be stilled, and knowledge will pass away. So what happens when these things are gone? What happens to my faith then? 

      1 Peter 1:7-9 says that our faith is of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire. He says that our faith must be proved genuine, so that it may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  

      In verses 8-9, he writes about true faith: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Do I love Jesus? Or do I love the things He gives me? 

Do I believe in Him? Or do I simply profess to believe in Him in order to maintain my standing among my peers?

Is my faith based on complete submission to and continual intimacy with my Savior? Or is it dependent on receiving blessings and comfort and signs and miracles? 

 Am I defined as a daughter of God? Or am I defined by my work, my ministry, and my “giftings”, which I profess to do “In His name”?

     “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles ?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.” Matthew 7:22-23

      I agree that the Body appears to be entering into days of testing and refining of our faith. In Romans 5, Paul writes that we are to rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

     John 8:36 tells us that if the Son sets us free, we will be free indeed. So are we free? Are we free from the need to defend ourselves and our politics? Are we free from the need to validate our lives? Are we free from the need to have our viewpoints heard and affirmed by the rest of society? Is true freedom in the blood and love of Christ what the world is seeing in you and me?

     John 6, Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”

     Purify me, Lord Jesus. Do I truly know You? Or do I simply profess to know You? Do I truly believe in You, Lord? Or do I believe in the blessings and signs and miracles You give me? The Psalmist wrote that even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear nothing, because I will know that You are with me. When the arrows and shadows come in around me, is it You in Whom I place my trust? Is it You people see in me? Is it Your love, which people see flowing from me in the midst of the trial? Thank you, Holy Lord, for Your abounding grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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