Yet Another Vote

Yes, it is true. Today I went and took advantage of early voting in Texas. There is no surprise that once again my vote was for freedom. Honesty must prevail when I say that I did not recognize all the names on the list. It was a rather extensive list. That only goes to show that I perhaps should have done a bit more homework. Be that as it may, I did enough research to know that freedom was my ultimate motive for voting. Freedom is an issue that I chose not to overlook and is a matter that I made paramount as I pulled the lever. Freedom is a matter that deserves one vote and then another.

It is for this reason that voting should be done in more than one way. Yes, one can go to the polling place and carefully select issues that are important to him. This is part of what is called the democratic process. However, it is not enough to simply pull the electoral lever in favour of freedom. Freedom must be lived no matter where the voter is. This means that one action must be in line with the vote he made. Let me explain.

As a minister of the Gospel I implore people to live a life complimentary of scriptural teaching. This is a vote not so much in the proclamation of Christian virtues as it is in living out those virtues. The same is true when one casts his vote for freedom. One cannot simply say that his vote is for freedom. He must have a lifestyle emblematic of that freedom. He must know when to evoke such freedoms and know when not to evoke them. The fact is there is more than one way to vote and one such way is in action.

Some might recall the time I left Baltimore a couple years ago. The State of Maryland has proven to be oppressive and not wanting to adhere to the Constitution. I had had enough. So, when the opportunity presented itself I decided to vote with my feet. And, vote I did. I voted for freedom on a number of fronts. I did not use the ballot box; I used another freedom. I am free to live in any State in this union so I decided to vote with my feet. I used actions that afforded me the ability to live as a free man should. I made yet another vote.

Those calling themselves Christians also have opportunity to vote. The votes, though, are not made under the watchful eyes of state election judges. Instead, this vote is looked upon by a Holy and Righteous God. You see, there are many that make votes on Sunday mornings. They vote to let Jesus into their lives while they choose to lay aside the sin that separated them from God. They realize that “He who the Son has set free is free indeed (John 8:36). There is a longing for the freedom and words of repentance are made to that end.

Unfortunately many choose not to vote for that freedom by reason of their lifestyles. Some try to live a double life, secret service saints, as it were. There is a tendency to Christianity on Sunday mornings and one for hedonism during the rest of the week.  The true vote is not for the freedom provided by Christ. The vote is for diabolical celebrations proving only to widen the way of destruction. This is a dangerous double standard which only pulls from freedom.

Yes, in these United States we are in the midst of a heated presidential election. There is fighting on every side. Some are fighting for freedom while others seek forms of certain slavery. Yet, there is another vote. That vote has more to do with our lifestyles. This vote has to do with how we choose to live our lives. If we live for Christ and His standards then our vote is freedom. If we cave in to the sultry, seductive world of what feels good for the moment then our vote is for bondage. Choose you this day whom you will serve. As for me, I and my house will serve the Lord. We have cast our vote and we will live in such a way as to please the Lord.

The Danger of the Fringes

     Have you ever noticed that at camp fires the best place to be is close to the fire? This is because the closer you are to the fire the warmer you become. In fact if you are so close to the fire that you are able to stoke it not only do you become warm but you will actually become hot by reason of the fire. And if you are not careful you can be burned by the flames. With this good reason dictates that the further you are from the fire the cooler you become. In fact you can be so far from the fire that you become cold. Yet you can be close enough to the fire to see the flames yet far enough away that it has no immediate impact on you. This is living on the fringes. You can see and appreciate the fire but the desire to be close to it is evasive.

     Such is the case with many in and around the church. Some are the first to get to church because they have been taught to come to church from their youth. Yet there is no commitment to the things of God and no desire to serve Him. These are on the fringes because they see the hand of God working in the lives of others with great appreciation but there is no time for them to dedicate their lives to the things of God. You see there are some things that are more important such as the Sunday football games. So, these that are the first to get to church are also the first to leave because the dinner might burn and the kickoff cannot be missed. The fact is that these are the people that have been around the church so much that they have all the moves down and know all the right words. The problem is that they are lukewarm having a form of godliness while denying the power thereof (II Timothy 3:5).

     And then there are others on the fringe. Consider for a moment some that work in the church. Some drive the church van. Others are deacons or ushers while even more sing on the choir or run the sound booth. While they perform many great works that is all that some of these do. Yes, they dress well and have the mannerisms of Christendom down perfectly. But the problem is that there is no love for God. Some of the workers not only lack salvation but the pretense is some evident that it literally reeks from their beings. That is they drink, smoke and even indulge in illicit drugs. Even more they live lifestyles that are far from godly expecting that their works will be sufficient to get them into the Kingdom. These fringe livers have fooled themselves because they are aware of the consequences of hypocrisy but that they rely on their works for salvific purposes (Ephesians 2:8-9).

     Even while these are obvious people living on the fringes there are many others. For instance there are those that think it OK to interpret the Word of God based upon their own ideologies. Then those that think OK to lie without consequences. Others live contrary lives under the guises that God knows their hearts. Well, they are right because God does know their hearts. He knows that with their mouths they worship Him but their worship is for show only (Ezekiel 33:31; Matthew 15:8). These fringe loving people do not realize their destinies if they do not turn from their contrary ways.

     So then, the danger of living on the fringes is that this life is not pleasing to God. He would rather that you be hot or cold. Those that are lukewarm will be regurgitated from His mouth (Revelation 3:16). You see living on the fringes is an affront to Christianity. Even more it is smacking God in the face. It is to say the sacrificial death Jesus is not good enough and that it is not necessary for redemption. Living on the fringes is a nullification of the Word of God not out of ignorance but out of choice and free will. To know the love of God and ignore it is to say that God’s love is not worth having. Living on the fringes is saying the fire is good for those that can feel it but not good enough for the rest.

     When God says that He will spew the lukewarm out of His mouth He means that He wants nothing to do with them.  It is much like a person sick to the stomach and that thing which has irritated the organ is forced out through his mouth. The waste that is rejected by the body is not to return because it has proven vile and no good for the body. Such are those that walk on the fringes of holiness. They will be rejected by Jesus (Matthew 7:22-23) thereby being rejected by the entire Godhead.

     It is my prayer that those on the fringes get close to the fire. Don’t let hypocrisy ruin your chances of eternal life with God. The only other choice is eternal damnation. This is a choice that is unacceptable so in this New Year please get close to the fire. No, get so close that the fire burns you because eternal life was made for you.