You're in control of your life. As PT said last week, your next decision determines your master. Living in the world today, there are only a couple of options - tolerate sin to fit in, or stand your ground daily in hopes of hearing well done my good and faithful servant. You can either Fear God - with a lifestyle surrendered to him and lived through Him, or you can fear the world and prioritize counterfeit friends, likes and comments ahead of His presence. If you're going to serve somebody, it needs to be Jesus. If you're not sure who you're serving - it probably ain't Jesus. That takes an intentional lifestyle and daily choice to do what Jesus would do. It's what we're called to do.
Scripture makes it clear - you're either a friend to Jesus, or a friend of the world - but...
YOU CAN'T BE BOTH!
Deuteronomy 6:1-3 (CSB) These are the commands, decrees, and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children, and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
How does it say we Fear the Lord as long as we live - by obeying the commands that He's given us. Contrast that to what scripture says about those who's life shows a fear of the world.
James 4: 4-8 (CSB) You adulterous people! Don't you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God. Or do you think it's without reason that the Scripture says: The spirit he made to dwell in us envies intensely? But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
I love the end of verse 5 - the spirit he made to dwell in us envies INTENSELY! He sacrificed His son to create a world where he can coexist with His creation, but we have to take an active roll in the friendship by operating out of the Fear of God. He wants to be our friend, and time and time again, we find ourselves at a crossroads - do I pursue feeling good now - sacrificing myself to the world's calling? Or do I remain humble, and maintain proximity to the Father through obedience. It's the immediate obedience that shows God we do care and invites us into a deeper relationship with Him. The time of tolerance is over. Jesus is coming back and he's looking for a church that's been stewarding well on earth. That's who he calls a friend.
James 2:20-26 (CSB) Senseless person! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? Wasn't Abraham our father justified by works in offering Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was made complete, and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, wasn't Rahab the prostitute also justified by works in receiving the messengers and sending them out by a different route? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
I can't even begin to imagine the scene here... You've been praying for a kid, you've been promised a kid, but you wait years before the fulfillment of the promise. Then you get it! And life is better than it's ever been... Then you're asked to sacrifice the promise? HOW HARD IS THAT! God did it with Jesus on the cross... Part of living with the Fear of God is acknowledging that his ways are better than mine. He knows what I don't know. See... it doesn't have to make sense to the world because it makes sense to God. The longer you follow Jesus and give more and more to Him, you begin to realize that... GOD AND GOOD ARE NOT THE SAME. And the only way to know how God defines good is to spend time in His presence, where he reveals more of himself piece by piece through the Holy Spirit.
The world hates it. They want the knowledge to create their own definition of good based on what makes them feel good. You shouldn't follow the world's standard because the world's expectation for good requires tolerance or heresy on the part of the believer. The only way to know good is through time spent with God. It's so easy to be deceived today. You can live your life perfect, in a way that everyone would say you've achieved status... and the whole time, you're moving further and further from God.
James 4:8 (CSB) Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
There's a promise in there - if we draw near, he will draw near in return - he responds when we make the effort, but it is on us. You have to be passionate about being in His presence.
Prov 14:27 (CSB) The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning people away from the snares of death.
Like a fountain - constant source/supply of revelation to reveal those next steps - we want to feed that fountain, daily! And as God continues to reveal wisdom, knowledge, understanding to us, we have to remind ourselves moment by moment, day after day. Keep it in front of your face, on your lips, through your actions because...
Your meditations become your motivations
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (CSB) Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Joshua 1:8 (NIV) "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
Meditating on God's Word day and night leads to success and prosperity in living according to His will. Just like Abraham, it takes action and pure motivations to be a friend to Jesus.