Sunday, November 20, 2016

NOVEMBER 20 'DIVIDED LOYALTIES"

James today follows up on his theme in Chapter 2 that he was touching on; he comes right out and says it now in Ch. 4, "purify your hearts for you loyalties are divided between God and the World". Loyalty is a virtue of a by-gone era. Our kids are raised watching professional athletes run from one team to another, it's all about the mighty dollar, there is no loyalty. These athletes have no loyalty to any team or any city. It's all about "me". You bring that mind set into the Church or into your Christianity, and it's a nightmare. It goes against the very grain of Christian ethics, that teaches us to "do all things without selfish ambition, but rather considering others more than ourselves". Churches today are so desperate for parishioners that we put up with this quasi Christian that is coming out, but yet Joshua confronted them and told them, "if it's to difficult to serve the Lord, make a decision today whom you will serve."  The Philistines kicked the great warrior David off the battle field because they believed he had divided loyalties. They knew David would be unreliable on the battlefield with divided loyalties between Israel and the Philistines. People with divided loyalties are definitely unreliable and unfaithful. Proverbs warns us that relying on them is like relying on a broken tooth or foot out of joint. A gentleman in our church was recently sharing that his company  has a clause that states if they are caught drinking beverages by the competitor, that they will be released from the Company. Their standard is, "If you work here, we expect that if you entertain at your home, you will be serving our companies products at best, but at least, definitely not serving the products of the competitor." They demand loyalty from their employees and are not ashamed to do so. Nobody is more despised in politics than "moderates". These are politicians that are not Conservative, but neither are they Liberals. Politicians on either side would say, "stop being so double minded, make a stand for something!". Jesus also makes mention of this in Revelations, "I'd rather you either be hot or cold". We are seriously irritated by people who just want to be "middle of the road" and apparently so is God, "because you are neither, I will spit you out of my mouth".  Moses did not try to keep his spot as Prince of Egypt and also try to function as a helper for Israel. The book of Hebrews tells us that Moses forsook the fleeting pleasure of sin that he had being the Prince of Egypt, to be associated with the People of God. Moses knew better than to try to play both sides of the fence. The irony of all this is that people who try to be moderate, or middle of the road are only doing it because they think it's the perfect compromise and will bring them the greatest joy, but ironically enough, they are the most miserable. People, Christians that have the most peace & joy are those that have made a resolute decision about whom they serve, what they believe and what church they are going to be loyal too, in the end, James, Jesus and Joshua all say, "this will be the best decision you can make, not only for you, but for those around you". How embarrassing it was, for David, such a great warrior as he was acclaimed to be, to be sent off the battlefield. And how embarrassing it will be to us,  who have undivided loyalties when we are left out of the equation, when our Church and/or our God is looking for someone to include, someone to get involved, someone to help, we will wonder and be embarrassed, at how often we are left out of the equation or even asked not to participate, but this will be your lot, as it was David's, until you make a resolute decision as to whom and what, you want to be loyal too.