By Michelle ( MISHAEL) T. Kenner
Ephesians 4:4-6 (KJV)
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
As I traverse the different paths and highways of this life, I am constantly reminded that not everyone has the same faith or believes as I do. In reminding me of this, people expect me to broaden my perception and definition of faith, to diminish or change my expectations of other believers and somehow compromise to accept and respect their beliefs; and in doing so, allowing them to remain in their present state of mind and condition.
I’ve come to recognize this concept as, “THE NORMALIZATION OF SIN” and compare this to a group of people dying of an illness, whereas, a doctor comes and only offers one type of treatment to cure their disease, but, the result of the cure is that they will be permanently changed within. Not wanting to be changed, they don’t all agree with the type of treatment. Some of them expect him to compromise and use a different type of treatment for them, expecting to receive the same cure. Well, knowing another treatment will not cure them, but, only mask their symptoms, the doctor refuses to compromise. Another doctor comes along and acquiesces, complying to their demands since it was profitable to him. The end result was that they stayed the same and died an eternal death.
God is not that kind of physician to compromise and leave us to die. Therefore, He sacrificed His Son to provide us with ONE assured and permanent cure for our sins. Wherein lies our FAITH and our BELIEF in His cure and His TRUTH. The path to how we get to the Truth was forever changed and although we all start out on different paths, we must all merge to the One True path to God, salvation, and abundant and eternal life.
Normalizing sin is nothing new in this world. Yet, we don’t always recognize it, because, it takes different forms. No one wants to recognize that trying to divide faith into religions is a sin. Within our communities and societies few people really want to be DIFFERENT in the sense that it changes how they think, believe, feel, love, and live. That is not the kind of change they want. They use the things and ideas of this world to define themselves. Most people want change that is familiar, so that it feels, looks and sounds like they do. They want to stay the same and have things around them change in their favor.
My Brothers and Sisters,
Faith as a Believer is not a malleable idea that can be twisted, bent, and molded to our liking and our perception.
There is one FAITH! The holistic definition of faith lies in TRUTH. Truth cannot be divided and neither can our faith be divided! There is not an assortment or variety of truth for us to choose from, just as there is not an assortment of FAITH! There is only ONE faith, which is borne of Truth to show us the Way to abundant and eternal Life.
Faith does not pertain to a particular denomination or sect or unit of religion as is ingrained in the minds of most Believers. Neither is it defined by established practices and rituals. Faith, like Truth is a living entity that produces RESULTS. Instead of looking to find the ideal faith, faith must fall upon us as we truly BELIEVE in God and His Word.
Faith has the ability to GROW within us, because it LIVES as a PART of us. Hence, faith without works is dead and those WORKS is that which works within us and through us, for we can do nothing without God!
Faith is not simply shown. As a Fruit of God’s Holy Spirit, it is MANIFESTED! Therefore, we have neither shown our faith by simply attending a religious or worship service and listening, nor uttering it upon our lips. What we have heard must be manifested through us to LIVE God’s word in BELIEF, proving our FAITH.
Our FAITH is a culmination of our belief in God and the power of God coming together, because we have TRULY ACCEPTED The Word of God– THE TRUTH, THE WAY, AND THE LIFE! The proof is in the way we have been transformed by God’s Holy Spirit to think, love, and LIVE by the transformation of rebirth and the workings of the Holy Ghost!
No, I cannot compromise when it comes to FAITH! My being obstinate has nothing to do with accepting people in various religions, but, everything to do with STANDING in holiness, righteousness, unconditional (agape) LOVE and HOPE for my fellow man. There is no valve, switch, or button to turn off the faith that lives within me and those who ask it of me do not understand LIFE; for to shut off my faith is to condemn me to death.
So, who and what does this make me in this world we live in today? This makes me DIFFERENT. Like Jesus, I am understood by a few and misunderstood by many; for the world cannot understand me or know me. Most assuredly, I am living among my Father’s children and they don’t even know me. I am an enemy of the world and a friend to God. Although, I am surrounded by the human race, throughout my interactions and relationships, I am constantly reminded that I am DIFFERENT, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Why has God allowed this to happen to me? Do I sometimes feel that it’s not a good thing to be different? What does God expect from me? At times I feel as if I’m marooned on a deserted island far away from home. Even surrounded by those who claim to believe in God, I am often alienated, like Jesus. There are times when I must go off to myself and be alone with my Father to gain strength, comfort, assurance, love and understanding. It’s not that I’m looking back to what I used to have any more, or to who I used to be. I don’t want to go back there, but, there are times when I don’t know how to look ahead. How do I live, being DIFFERENT and watching people unknowingly destroy themselves and others, blinded by their pride, suffering needlessly? It is painful living among the walking dead. Must I just watch them die Lord?! Teach me how to live in their presence as Your child. Speak to me Lord!
From the moment that you depart from the womb and take your first breath, you are dying. It is what you do with your life until that last breath that matters. It’s not that I want you to watch them, I want them to watch you. I want them to see what you do and how you live your life when you go through trials and temptations; when you are mistreated and cast out; when you have doubts and fears; when you fall and get up; when you love without doubt and without fear; and when you forgive.
Those of little or no faith have not conquered their doubts and fears and live by their pride. They practice what they know and have known without question because it does not require them to change. They have chosen to be the same because they find comfort in being accepted and being like others around them. You have chosen the better part and you have been chosen to be DIFFERENT. Now, how will you accept and live with your difference?
Living is not all about you and someday you will discover that dying is not all about you.
My friends, you must have a holistic approach to living differently just as there is a holistic approach to HEALING and FAITH. Faith is borne of Truth, Holiness, Righteousness, Love and all of the Fruits of God’s Holy Spirit. Living DIFFERENTLY starts with your FOUNDATION which you allow God to build upon to become a lighthouse, a servant of God, and a beacon to help rescue the lost and perishing. Your faith cannot grow if you do not exercise it, allowing it to be manifested through you as part of your union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and as part of the Body of Christ.
ARE YOU DYING TO LIVE OR LIVING TO DIE?
Matthew 16:24-26 (KJV)
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Because of God’s love for us, we, who are between life and death have been given the opportunity to find our lives and life eternal. We who have found life have the responsibility to speak Life and Truth into others.
If you spoke your last words today, what would they be? Jesus’ last words were of love and forgiveness. He said nothing against His enemies. He used part of His last breath and strength to forgive and save a poor, dying thief upon the cross. He didn’t think of His own comfort or pain. Through His pain He thought about us. Before He was condemned to die, He knew that death was not the end. Yet, even more, He knew that His dying was not all about Him. He was going to be with His Father in His Kingdom, a much better place, but, first He had to die.
Again, think about it, knowing that death was ahead of Him, did He think only of himself and the life He was leaving? Did He dwell on having regrets for wrong doing and mistakes, or things He had not accomplished? Was He angry with God for having to die so young, leaving His family, or, for not having a wife and children of His own? Did He try to bargain for His life, claiming He would change and live a better life? Were His thoughts of His potential and and the things that might possibly transpire in the future, or, all that He could do in His life if things had just gone the way that He had wanted or planned? Did He have concern for His possessions and who would take or inherit that which He left behind?
Was He envious of the people around Him? Was there anger and vengeance in His heart? Did He think about who He could , belittle, destroy, or how many people He could take with Him before He died? Was there a need to ask others for forgiveness? Was He ridden with guilt and shame, pain, or anguish because of the life that He led? Did He have His own bucket list of things HE wanted to do before His time came to die?
By the way, how are you at dying daily, that is, dying to your flesh and self to follow and live in Christ Jesus? What will be your last thoughts, memories, and words when it is time for you to die? Due to a terminal illness, some of us know better than others of approximately when death might occur. However, none of us really know the second, the hour, or the day, until death comes to meet us. Jesus told us to be ready, for even He does not know the time when we all shall stand accountable to the Father.
At any age, will death come as an unwelcome surprise for you? Will you be ready? Will you see it as the end or the beginning? That depends upon your FAITH and your undeniable BELIEF and TRUST in God and His Word.
Jesus’ response to death was different from that of most people, because He was different. He rebuked Peter for wanting Him not to die, as that is what Satan also desired and hoped for in order to keep Him from claiming VICTORY over him, death, and sin. Jesus knew that in His dying, NEW, ABUNDANT, and ETERNAL LIFE would be given to all who followed and believed in Him, The Word of God, The Truth, The Way, and The Life.
Matthew 16:22-24 (KJV)
22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Will you be found clinging to life in the world because you love the things of men more than those of God? Will it have an affect on the way that you accept your difference from others and how you live within the world?
Having watched you live, what will spring from the hearts of those whom you’ve left behind? What hope will you have left them for abundant and eternal life? How have you taught them how to live, love, and love one another? Were you DIFFERENT because you were like Jesus? Did you hold on to those differences and stand until the end?
How do we compare being different to the standards in the world today? How does the world still respond to our differences? Is there a way to adapt our differences to the world without being assimilated into the worldly culture of sin, or having to compromise?
Are we aware of our own expectations of ourselves and others? Are our expectations realistic and based upon Truth? Are you living just for you? What does God expect from our lives, since we have been changed and become different?
Join me in exploring living as a citizen of God’s Kingdom while we are ambassadors here upon Earth. You have chosen the better part and what is necessary. God has chosen you to be DIFFERENT.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
With eternal love,
your servant and soldier, united with the One