Who Are You Following? April Newsletter Teaser

http://www.gospelexpressonline.org/home-page/who-are-you-following-april-newsletter-teaser/

“There are two types of people in the world today: those that are followers of God, with Him as their guide, and those that are not followers of God, and are living for themselves.  The question is, who are you following?

Social psychology researchers have found in their studies that people are very much influenced by the people and the culture around them.  Recently an inmate in prison admitted to me that he got in with the wrong crowd and that’s why he ended up in prison. He knew better, but he buckled under peer-pressure and is now reaping the consequences. It has been said that 98% of Americans are followers of culture and only 2% actually shape the culture.  If we allow the culture in the world around us to give us the direction for our lives the results will be very disappointing and sad.  

Jesus made it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that there are only two ways and we do have a choice, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt 7:13-14). Jesus indicates that many people are on the broad way. It’s the easy way, where choices are made for temporary pleasure. The broad way fulfills the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and the pride of life, which leads to devastating destruction. 

The narrow way which leads to life all begins at the foot of the cross with a surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ.  As followers of God we have been delivered from the bondage of sin and Satan. We continue to put off the old man and we “put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph 4:24). As followers of God he calls us to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Eph 5:2). Jesus makes it clear that love is the test of discipleship, “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).

Our world today is filled with hatred and violence.  In the United States, an average of 20 people every minute experience domestic violence. This translates to over 10 million people every year. Where is love and consideration?  The human heart is very self-centered. There is a test to identify whether you are a Christian. It’s not by how loud you testify (talk is cheap) but it’s by walking in love. The love of Christ flowing through us is the evidence of a changed life. It should be demonstrated by our attitudes and actions in our daily walk. There are people that rub us the wrong way and are a thorn in our side.  How can we love the difficult ones? Only by the enabling grace and power of God can we respond in love to the unlovely.  Jesus said, “Love your enemies… do good to those who hate you” (Matt 5:44).  Could it be that God has allowed that person in your life to refine you and to give you an opportunity to demonstrate His love to them?

To walk in love means that I allow love to become the deciding factor in my choices and the motivating power in my actions. Our lives then reflect a true follower of God.

~Mervin Wengerd, Prison Ministry Director