There are many who will readily risk their lives doing things. There are men and women who are trained stunt doubles. Others may not be trained to perform dangerous duties but do so just the same by drinking and driving or taking drugs to excess. Many rationalize taking risks, even to the degree that they would indeed rather perish than lose their self-respect or even the respect of others. They would rather lose the relationship within their families than lose the companionship of their peers. The greatest risk that any of us can take, however, is to deny the importance of a relationship with God in our lives. There can be a significant consequence that Israel experienced as a result of their ongoing disobedience.
“‘Therefore, house of Israel, I will judge each one of you according to his ways.’ This is the declaration of the Lord God. ‘Repent and turn from all your transgressions, so they will not be a stumbling block that causes your punishment. Throw off all the transgressions you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in anyone’s death.’ This is the declaration of the Lord God. ‘So repent and live!‘” (Ezekiel 18:30-32).
There is no risk in trusting Jesus Christ. In fact, God promises that there is a benefit in trusting Him, far more than gaining the respect of your peers:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you” (Matthew 6:33).
The goal of every Christian is to trust God and do what is right. We are to walk with humility as we walk with Him and serve Him. While others are inclined to tear down those that stand for Christ (peer pressure…making you feel like an outcast), He will continue to lift you up.
In Ezekiel, God had warned the people of Israel to turn from their ways or face judgment. All he desired was repentance in order to receive His forgiveness. He wants our heart and our willingness to follow Him. Ezekiel provided the vision that, if Israel did not repent, God’s glory would leave His people, and it would be clear for all to see (Ezekiel 10:18-19; 11:22-25). The captivity of Israel was the result of their sin, and they would only receive a blessing when they returned to the Lord and lived for Him.
Living for God should be our highest priority and a way of life. Solomon declared that, in spite of great wealth and wisdom, all that truly mattered was to fear God and keep his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). He saw the importance of getting right with God and being able to face Him one day. “For we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
In order to live right for God, it does require establishing your priorities. He knows that we are going to face challenges in our efforts to live right for Him. It will require love and patience in a world that has little of both. It will require setting goals and endurance that rises above money, wealth and material things, those things that the world values. Sometimes, following God requires looking to Him in all things in spite of what your closest friends and family members say about you. Trusting in Him allows you to guard your heart from those who do not have your best interest in mind.
The enemy has a significant hold on the world because of the spirit of disobedience. It is prevalent. There always has been and there will continue to be a conflict between God’s Word and His people and those who are, unwittingly, on the side of Satan. Thankfully, God’s love is stronger than any conflict. Through faith and hope, we can reach the unreachable for Christ. We, as believers in Christ, can be the light and salt of the earth–agents for change in a dying world.
Why not live our lives for the Lord with our talents and abilities in the best way we can? He promises that we will glorify us when we glorify Him with our lives and our testimony.
God merits our favor. It cannot be bought or purchased. It is obtained because God loves us and extends grace to us. Peace of mind in our lives comes from His favor. When we seek Him, He will sustain us and reward our efforts. He is our hope for today and for the future. Decide to put your continuing trust in Jesus Christ. Make the decision to turn from sin, repent, and live for Him. Get right, and live trying, for Jesus. He will meet you where you are.