ARE YOU STANDING?
By Rayola Kelley
We are living in some interesting times and how are we responding to them? We are approaching Thanksgiving and at this time how many of us are thankful in regard to our lives in Christ and the promises waiting for us, and how many are afraid, whining, and complaining because of the formidable mountains, the overwhelming giants, and endless obstacles that seem to be looming ahead?
It is clear that there is judgment going on in our nation and one might ask, what is there to be thankful for when judgement is taking place? Judgment is about bringing one to a crossroad where he or she will have to make a decision. I have mentioned this time and time again but judgment always begins with some type of separation. In a way judgment forces people to choose which path they will travel, the broad or narrow path, which type of ground they are going to stand on: the Rock of Ages or the ever-shifting sands of the world, and which life they are going to choose: eternal life or the vain lifestyle of the world. The life we choose will determine which side of eternity we are going to end up in: heaven or hell. The side we end up on will be determined as to whether we choose to stand on the side of God, His truth, and the promise of life, or the other side, which is Satan, anger, and the guarantee of death. The unwillingness to choose will put us on the side of Satan, revealing that we were not wise or clever; rather, we have become a fool.
Sadly, many people do not realize that there are only two sides to the issues of God and life. We often divorce our worldly pursuits and fleshly preferences from the fact that our choices put us on one or the other side of eternity. Such individuals think sides are based on other issues plaguing society such as politics, ideologies, worldviews, or religion. However, there is only one line in the sand of time, and it was made by an old rugged cross. This cross lifted the Son of God up in judgment for the world to see the seriousness of sin. It is where judgment took place on our behalf, and it is this cross and the redemptive work done on it that will clarify the distinction of our choices. For example, there are only two ways in which we can walk— righteousness or wickedness, and there are only two destinations: heaven or hell. Although there may be various labels, causes, or agendas that seem to produce shades of gray when it comes to what is right and wrong, the choices are clear in these arenas. The right way chooses that which is excellent and honorable, and the wrong way will choose what is surface, temporary, and doomed,
There are a couple of reasons for this time of judgment. As pointed out, the first reason is because people need to choose which side they are going to stand on, and the second reason has to do with justice. God’s desire is to see man avoid consequences, but in many cases, rebellious, arrogant man never sees a need to change his attitude until he tastes the bitterness of consequences. Those who live without consequences prove to be some of the biggest fools in a society. In David’s day they were called “sons of Belial” which means “worthless fellows” (1 Samuel 30:22; 2 Samuel 20:1)
Sadly, we see such fools taking centerstage. They are lawless, ungrateful, angry, disrespectful, divorced from all reality, and appear to be void of any emotions as to how others are being affected by their ruthless actions. They clearly lack any conscience as to the oppressive cruelty they are leveling at the innocent people of our society.
Some may wonder how did we come to this place where the streets of some of our cities have been turned into war zones. If we are honest, we know why we are here. We have raised up ungrateful individuals who are either victims because of some status or they feel guilty for being part of what is considered the “elite.” These individuals represent a spoiled, ungrateful generation that were left spiritually bankrupt, while being handed things instead of taught responsibility, left to their own devices instead of properly trained, and taken captive by a godless education system that mocks all that is sacred and right.
Through the years I have noticed a couple of blatant things about the young people that are revolting in the streets. One, they do not know the history of this nation. When a young person in their 20s and 30s does not even know who the leaders are in our country and yet they have political opinions which reveals a frightening, destructive ignorance, one can conclude history and civic courses have been watered down or alleviated altogether in our educational system. The fact that they have strong political opinions that have no foundation to them reveals they have been indoctrinated. Indoctrination often expresses itself in a fanaticism that is constantly teetering on insanity. Since they can’t tolerate anything contrary to their preferred reality, any challenge will cause fear to rise up in them. This fear will express itself in utter anger and contempt towards those who would dare shake their fragile worlds.
The second problem I see is that these lawless individuals lack any real spiritual gauge. They are aimless for the most part, completely lost in a dark, sick world, and trying to grope through a nightmarish hell, while being swallowed by lies and false narratives that in the end will sacrifice them. They have only one emotion and that is rage, and they have only one goal and that is to destroy anything and anybody that would keep them from their sick, unrealistic utopia. What they are unable to recognize is that this rage is consuming them, but they have no consensus that the angry fires within their soul will leave them in complete, spiritual ruin. They are blinded to the great abyss of destruction before them. And, when they take that last step into the great darkness, they will be greeted by flames that will usher them into the very depths of hell, where their tormenting anger will have no boundaries,
This is a sad commentary, but who is responsible for the terrible vacuum that is now being filled with the most foul, unclean entities in their empty souls? When these individuals stand before God, each one will individually be made responsible for choosing the broad path of destruction, death, and hell. However, these individuals are also the product of their environment.
Clearly, the fault will lie at the door of different institutions of our society. I have already pointed to the educational system and its godless indoctrination, but we cannot forget the entertainment industry. The entertainment industry has conditioned our young people to insist on the pacifier of unrealistic sensationalism and fantasy to replace reality or live in denial of it. It has caused them to rage at any reality that would challenge the absurdity of their fantasy. It has set them up to be indoctrinated because in entertainment you do not have to think, which allows the educational system to tell you how to think.
Part of the entertainment industry is the media which, for the most part, is nothing more than a propaganda machine. Legitimate media formats are for the sole purpose of keeping the people informed so they can make wise choices in their life. For example, we watch the weather to determine what we should do on a certain day and the time of day we need to do it, while others watch the news for the latest scores of games, or information about financial markets, but when it comes to what is happening in this world, many in the news media are promoting a false narrative to cover up great darkness behind what they are advocating. We know when Jesus comes back to reign that these godless systems will be no more.
This brings us to the institution that God clearly set up within Scripture: Marriage. With the divorce rate being high and the fact that children often grow up without examples of healthy relationships and families, they become lost as to where they fit, how to play nicely with others, conduct themselves in an honorable way, and learn what it means to have self-respect and to respect others, whether they agree or not. They see themselves deserving of things they have never earned, railing against imaginary injustices as a means to justify intimidating and stealing from the most vulnerable, sacrificing others for what they call the “collective’s” greater good, and destroying the witness that points to a national struggle to reach excellence. They know nothing of sacrifice to ensure the greater good in light of liberty, nor do they understand the honor that comes from always choosing the higher moral ground, There is no restraint present as to prevent the perversion, defilement, or the disdain for that which God ordained and declared to be sacred, and sadly our chaotic society pretty well mirrors that very fact.
Another arena that is somewhat responsible for the environment we live in is the church. There is much debate about how great a part the church plays in the moral breakdown and digression of a nation. God has always had a people to serve as lights even in the darkest of times.
For example, He had an Abel to bring righteous contrast to a Cain by offering a right sacrifice. He had an Enoch, who instead of walking according to his own ways, chose to walk with God. He had the example of a Noah who found grace and deliverance in a time of worldwide judgment. There was an Abraham who walked away from a pagan family, gods, and ways to follow the leading of the true God, as well as a Samuel during the time of Eli and a corrupt priesthood, taking his humble place in the tabernacle as a child, and as man seriously heeding to his responsibility as judge and prophet, and in his elder years making his mission as his ultimate calling. You have also a David waiting in the wings until a wicked, disobedient king is brought down. There is always that one individual who, regardless of the days or times they live in, will stand distinct in their day (Genesis 4:4-10; 5:21-24; 6:8-9; 12:1-3; 1 Samuel 3; 13:14; 18:14-16).
God not only has individuals but He has called out a nation (Israel) and unseen kingdom (church) to represent Him in this dark world. It is important to recognize that man institutionalizes, organizes, and labels, but God chooses, calls, and consecrates. Man institutionalizes in order to lay claim to something, organizes so he can control something, and labels so that he can separate, divide, and manipulate, while God chooses according to heart, calls according to gifts, and consecrates based on devotion. Man’s collective ways oppress, dictate, and end in darkness, while God liberates through truth, gives hope through light, and ends in life.
The problem with much of the church is that it has been institutionalized to fit into the world, organized in order to control its activities, and labeled to create a certain elitism that claims the right to judge others who are not part of their certain group’s thinking and way. These groups claim they have a corner on authority that must be considered as absolute including truth and, therefore, must not be discerned or questioned. In fact, they must serve as everyone else’s standard and means of interpretation when it comes to God’s Word. Sadly, such groups point to cults and not Christianity.
The church of Jesus was never meant to be an organization, but a living organism. It was not meant to become a building with people in it and a cross on it; rather, it was called to be the BUILDING that housed the Spirit of the Living God that was unified by the work of redemption wrought on the cross of Christ. The church was not meant to be divided by various labels that were created by fleshly schisms, but unified by ONE Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, and baptism in one body (1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Ephesians 4:3-6).
When we talk about a nation or kingdom set apart by God, it is important to point out that a nation will become more political than spiritual and when it comes to a kingdom, not all subjects are dedicated to the king, and in the right circumstance will prove treacherous due to personal agendas. It is for this reason that the Bible talks about God’s remnant that stands distinct among nations and kingdoms. The remnant will not sell their testimony, compromise their standing before the King of kings, and give way to the ways of death and hell just to get along in this world (Micah 7:18-20; Romans 9:27; Revelation12:17).
This brings me to another important aspect of choice. Those who choose to stand for what is right during the good times, lean times, and bad times prove to be extraordinary leaders, distinct in darkness, part of a remnant in times of digression and judgment, and uncompromising when faced with persecution, rejection, and death. Individuals such as these are few and far in between because it takes character, conviction, and clarity to stand when the whole world seems to oppose you.
The question is, what constitutes such an individual? I have met a few of them. I am not saying that there are not many of them, but in my journey through this world I have met more people who encouraged me to let down on the standard of righteousness to get along, to soften my message of truth because it will turn people off, and give in to the powers that be so that I can get further in this world. After all, to these people, it is about the message getting results, and without a bit of compromise with the world you have no chance to advance so that you can appear successful for the kingdom of God. However, I am not here to get along with the world, and to be accepted, or to be well spoken of: I am here to please God by walking by faith (Luke 6:26; Hebrews 11:6). It is not my message but the Lord’s message and my responsibility is to be a mouthpiece that will speak that message when given a chance to do so. I do not have to convince anyone that the truth is the truth. My heart is to be true to my calling and offer what I know is right because it is my honorable service to Him, and my hope is that I bring glory to Him, because He alone is worthy of all worship.
It is important to point out there is no advancement in life as long as you are sitting. Whether you are sitting on your past laurels of good deeds, sitting in some arm chair of wishful thinking and convenience, or being a spectator to cheer others on who are running the race or are in the frontline of the battle, you will never be in an active position of being an overcomer. Those who sit on the sidelines will find themselves being caught off-guard when the enemy finally comes calling with chains and handcuffs. They will be unprepared to face whatever comes, and could easily prove to be either a coward or someone who will surrender without much of a fight.
“Standing” puts you in a position to move forward, whether it has to do with the race or the battle. Consider David when he met Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. He was not sitting; rather, he went out and faced the giant. When the giant started to demean him, he did not look at himself or his circumstances and cowered before him or ran away; rather, he looked beyond the giant to God.
It is natural to believe that since we are unable to defeat the giant, we can sit and let God send in a David and hope it does not become too uncomfortable and unbearable for us as we wait. This thought is not unusual, but David was not something special or unique, he was a young man who believed God and understood that he could stand on the Rock of who He is and ultimately withstand any giant because the victory belonged to the Lord.
Consider the fact that the army who witnessed the exchange between David and the giant. These men were prepared to fight, but were in a quandary because there was no real leader who was willing to risk all in order to gain what was important. It is clear that someone must face the different giants that we encounter, for there can be no real victory or resolution until the giant is faced.
All battles begin within a person and are initially fought in the arenas of logic that will end in unbelief, and from there sentiment that will quickly wane when reality sets in. Then comes the truth that it would be an impossible task to defeat the giant in one’s strength, and it is only in the power and strength of God that real victory occurs.
According to the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:2, we have access to God by faith into grace, wherein we STAND. The action of standing is because by faith we have been justified and therefore, can stand in His grace before Him with assurance and hope. As believers we never face giants in our own strength. We must first learn how to stand in His grace, having the faith He will win the battle. Such faith allows us to walk in assurance up to the giant, knowing we are standing on the right side of heaven and if we perish, we perish, but we will be able to face our Lord and Savior when all else is said and done.
As Christians we make up the most powerful army in the world, but how many of us are waiting for a David to stand before the giants of our times? How many of us are sitting on the sidelines yelling advice to those in the race and fighting the battles?
The Lord showed me unless His people stand to face the giants, He will not be able to bring the proper victory. Today we have many giants before us, but are we standing when we can and where we can. Are we standing in prayer and withstanding with unabated truth in meekness and love when the opportunity arises? In fact, there is one place we can all stand on November 3, without fear and that is in the ballot box and may we withstand the lies with truth, while making sure we are standing on the right side of eternity by voting for that which upholds the sanctity of religious freedoms, life, family, and morality.
My prayer has been simple, “Lord, stand with those who stand, enable those who run, and equip those who are battling it out with the forces of hell for the victory has, and always will, belong to You.”