I heard a great message from my former pastor and the verses he used really spurred me to study some of Paul's letters again. Something that's on my mind today is what I read during my devotion time yesterday. I'll just write it here so it's easy to see where I'm pulling things from.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:6-10
Paul is writing because some Jude0-Christians were telling the Gentile Christians that they still needed to follow OT laws, especially the practice of circumcision, along with believing in Christ to be justified. Basically, it's the issue of justification through faith or works. I think this text applies very heavily in the church today though as well. Here is an excerpt from my journal reflection:
I wonder how often we, as believers, try to change the gospel in order for it to fit what we want. And not just the gospel, but all of God's Word! Why do we believe that gossip is okay and bitterness and malice toward others is deserved if they've offended us? Why do we make ourselves righteous in our hatred for our brother? Lord, why do I try to please men? Why do I allow people to "throw me into confusion" when I know what it is You require of me? Why are the people throwing me into confusion other believers? And am I guilty of doing the same? If I continue to please men, I am NOT a servant of Christ. Please work in me, Lord, and rid my heart of all of men's standards. Fill it instead with Your Word and Your truth. May I be Your servant and Yours alone.
I've just been wrestling with this key issue a lot lately, feeling like I'm not the person I know I need to be and even want to be for Christ because I put other people's expectations and beliefs above His. The second I start defending my sin, albeit a sin as "small" as gossip, the second I start to pervert what God's standard is for me as a follower of Christ. After all, isn't that what "Christian" means? To be Christ-like; little Christs. How many of us live like that?
I am making every effort from this day forth to truly be set apart. And if that means that I stand alone, so be it. Because I know I'm not alone. And He is far greater than any man who could stand beside me. Is He to you?