And Jesus said unto him , No man , having put his hand to the plough , and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke 9:62 .
A day after our front hedge was trimmed, I noticed that a small branch in it which had been cut had not been removed from the hedge. It was still fresh and green then , and it blended with the hedge . Only with a closer look would anyone have noticed that the branch was no longer a part of the hedge.
I made a mental note to remove the branch and any other dead branches and leaves which remained there.
I forgot to do this until a week later when the branch caught my eye again.
This time ,it was no longer green and fresh ; but dark brown and completely dried up.
Although it was still hanging on the hedge ,it was out of place there, bearing no resemblance to our beautiful , trim ,flower hedge.But not too long before then, it was alive and vibrant; an integral part of the hedge.
Now, it had no business being among the other branches.
It had to go ,into the trash can or better still ,into the fire.
Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
The Church is the Body of Christ made of the Believers.
This is the Vine and the Branches,( John 15:1-27) as I shared in my previous blog, "Abide in the Vine".
When there are little foxes in the Vine , they disturb and spoil the branches.
These strangers in the vine cause a shaking and a tearing down of the weak branches in the vine by playing, fighting, running up and down, in and out amongst the branches. They build dens inside the Vine , like uninvited squatters.
What makes some branches remain strong while others succumb to the onslaught of the enemy?
Firstly , we need to know who we are in Christ and how equipped we are to survive the fury of the enemy.
God has given us his Son , his Spirit and everything thing we would ever need to remain successful and to complete the Faith Race.
We have a role to play in the matter. We cannot sit back and believe that "his grace would abound" and then fold our arms and do nothing.
"Abiding and standing in Christ" goes further and deeper than being an active leader or active member of a church or “playing church”. It means being grafted into the True Vine and remaining firmly attached to the Body of Christ, the Church.
To become a part of the Vine, a person must be born-again and to remain a part of the Vine , a person must remain born again , for as long as he or she is a living soul.
Being born again is about accepting "Lordship"; that means consenting to REMAIN IN the relationship where Jesus Christ is YOUR PERSONAL Lord and Saviour.
It means recognising the presence and the indispensable ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life.
The Holy Spirit is the strength of the Believer .
He is our Staying Power which enables our steadfastness in the Faith.
The Word is our shield against the enemy and the Holy Spirit speaks to us through the Word. So get the Holy Spirit and you get the Word .
Then when you do and speak the Word, you are firmly secured in the Vine.
Foxes , which spoil the vine , manifest their destruction in diverse ways.
To remain rooted in the Vine , the Christian and the Church should recognise these"strangers" and uproot them before they cause havoc in peoples' lives.
The enemy is desperately seeking whom to devour. He can use anybody or anything or situation in our lives to launch attacks to weaken and derail our resolve to stand in the Faith .
People who are very close to us , such as a our families , husbands, wives ,children, friends and colleagues could be used as the enemy's willing tools against us.
Given half the chance, Satan would use a Believer to wage war against himself!
Some people are the enemy of their own souls by the making self-defeatist decisions and entering destructive liaisons and relationships; even after they had professed to be born again .
To stand firm in the Faith , the following destructive snares must be avoided:
*A shabby or non-existent prayer-life. Failure to spend time reading and studying the Holy Bible, regularly . This life-style results in a disconnection from the Holy Spirit .
*Harbouring doubts concerning our salvation and deliverance .
*Discouragement and impatience due to unanswered prayers regarding long -term afflictions and unrealised aspirations.
* "Going back to Egypt" or looking back at our former lives and lusting after “the flesh-pots of Egypt”.Exodus 16:3
*Unwillingness to pay the cost of commitment to the Lord Jesus by not forsaking the "world". 1 John 2:15 -17 .
* Sitting on the fence ; double-mindedness. James 1:5-8
* Envying unrighteous people and emulating the life-styles of the unsaved .
*Blatant disobedience of the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit; especially in the area of close associations with unbelievers and marriage to non Christians. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
A backslider or reprobate is a former Christian who falls into sin by denying Christ and abandoning the Faith.
Thereafter, the backslider remains down and out; unless he or she repents and retraces his way , back to Christ.
It is a very dangerous state to be in because the Lord Jesus himself describes the dangers resulting from such rebellion in Luke 11:24-26.
Some backsliders and reprobates even remain in the church and continue to operate as Christians ; deceiving themselves!
But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition ; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Hebrews 10:39.
It is not the wish of God to tempt us and make us become weary and discouraged .
The enemy of our souls does that.
If and when we fall , we must GET UP, shake off the dust from us and continue the Race! Never, ever give up. Never quit !
" Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief". Proverbs 24:15:16.
We have a Friend and Advocate ;the Holy Spirit, who is ever-ready to assist us.
Faithful is our God who has called us into his marvelous light.
The Three-in-one God is on our side . The hosts of heaven are cheering us on as we race towards the finishing line.
We shall complete the race , gloriously. Amen.
* There is the church and there is the Church. The two co-exist as one.
In "Having Done All Stand (2),I will share why we cannot exist as Christians in isolation and why we should stand as members of the Body of Christ, till the very end. .