OceanSide church of Christ
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PUTTING YOUR CHRISTIANITY ON HOLD
Victor M. Eskew
Christianity is supposed to be a vocation, a way of life (Eph. 4:1). Faithful practitioners understand the importance of the worship assembly and would never intentionally forsake it (Heb. 10:25). Too, they realize that it is through the church that glory is given to God (Eph. 3:20). Therefore, they work diligently to assist the church in her various areas of work. These endeavors, along with faithful Christian living, are done 24/7/365.
Some, however, have a tendency to believe that there are times in life when one can put Christianity on hold. There are several examples this writer has observed.
1. Some put their Christianity on hold during certain seasons of the year. Hunting season is a time when Christianity takes a back burner. Various sporting seasons have also served as an excuse to put Christianity on hold.
2. Others have put their Christianity on hold while they obtained an education. For three to five years, these individuals shelve their faithfulness in order to obtain a degree.
3. Still others have put their Christianity on hold while they build their business. They play “hit-or-miss” with their religion while they labor long hours to establish a company.
There are several things that need to be said about putting one’s Christianity on hold. First, the Bible nowhere authorizes a periodic suspension of the Christian responsibility. Mark 13:13 teaches exactly the opposite. “…but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Many other passages also stress the need for steady, continued, diligence unto the end. “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Heb. 3:14). And again: “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Heb. 4:11). In Hebrews 10:23, we are told: “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised.)” Another very familiar passage that exhorts us to fidelity in Christ is Revelation 2:10. “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
Second, when individuals cease being faithful to the Lord, they are pictured in the Scriptures in very unfavorable ways. The young son of Luke 15:11-24 is commonly called “the prodigal son.” Demas appears to be a traitor to his friend and fellow-laborer Paul (II Tim. 4:10). Peter speaks of those who return to the world as dogs that return to their own vomit and as sows that were washed returning to the mire (II Pet. 2:20-22). Each picture is deplorable. Each display is disgusting. Each situation is disappointing. At one time, each was acceptable to the Father. Each was in rich fellowship with God. Each was cleansed and holy. Their decisions to turn from faithful living led to awful ends.
Third, when one puts his Christianity on hold, he is not preparing for the Lord’s return. The Second Coming of Christ is definite. The resurrection of Jesus is proof that He will return (Acts 17:30-31). When the Lord returns, He wants to find men and women who are actively serving. “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matt. 24:46). Those who play with their Christianity, those who believe plenty of time exists before the Lord’s return, may be in for a big surprise. “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 24:48-51).
Are you one who has put his Christianity on hold? Oh yes, you plan to be faithful in the future. You plan to give diligence to the worship and work of God in the days ahead. Dear reader, are you sure those days will come? Perhaps you need to repent right now and include the Lord in your plans. We say this based upon the following inspired words from the book of James: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (James 4:14-15).