You just can’t!! – That would be totally wrong – you can’t give full allegiance to two teams and be totally committed to them both.
But more of that later…
Thought I would let you guys know a little about myself first and see how playing in two teams or staying in two camps cost me…
I am the product of fully Christian home – I am 5th generation Christian – YEP that’s right 5 generations of guys and girls worshipping our God and King.
Now that’s really something! – not too many of us around! – God’s amazing Word passed on from one generation to another and all going to church and being good!
But again more of that later..
I grew up in a pretty conventional home – Mum who stayed at home and looked after us four kids and Dad who worked full time and made sure we all had plenty to eat and clothes to wear – pretty blessed really.
It was in the fifties and things were pretty tight money wise and we had to make do with whatever we could lay our hands on – But we never went hungry and cold.
We all attended Sunday School and wouldn’t have missed Church …..ever!
My Dad had a voice that Pavarotti would have been jealous of and was never home – always out singing and performing for the masses.
Mum kept the home going and to make ends meet took in heaps of boarders into our sprawling five bedroom bungalow in downtown Newcastle Australia.
We had fun as younguns playing cricket in the streets and heaps of fun times exploring parks and playgrounds – things we thought were pretty settled and life was pretty good.
Every Sunday out came to the Sunday clothes and we were off for the usual round of church meetings – Kids at Sunday School and youth group – grown ups doing whatever grown ups did – singing, praying and being very devout.
This was my life and I accepted it all without question.
When I was around sixteen, our youth group (which was made up of mostly boys) didn’t seem to have the attraction it once held – the absence of the young ladies I feel had a huge impact on the way I felt. So my mate Al and I decided we should do something about it.
We decided in our ‘man about town’ wisdom that “Missionary Dating” was the way to go – Let’s check out the field in other churches and see if there were any girls in other youth groups and so we ventured far and wide.
Things were looking up and we found out that indeed most other youth groups had a good mix of young people and there were indeed girls!!
I couldn’t wait till I was 17 and got my licence and my first car. Our plan was simple – whoever took their car was under no allusions – if the driver happened to get lucky and take a girl home then the passenger wasn’t invited – no questions asked and had to get his own way home.
It was on one of these ‘missionary dating ‘ escapes that I as the driver met a very cute little red head named Sue. Little did I know at that time that she was to be my soul mate – I guess I should have known because by the very next day we were ‘going steady”
Well that was then and we certainly have had a few bridges to cross.
We never stopped going to church – we were married and ended up with two wonderful children -a boy and a girl- we were happy – we were in love and I had a fairly good job with heaps of opportunities for advancement and I took full advantage of them!
My life seemed to revolve around work and family and going to church was just one part of the routine that made up our life.
During that time I guess I made heaps of ‘decisions’ concerning God and made numerous attempts to ‘live the life’ of a Christian BUT…
At work you couldn’t possibly have told that I was anything but an ambitious and steadfast employee. I seemed to go from strength to strength in my job and worked my way up the corporate ladder. Gaining position, prestige and influence.
Work came first, then Sue and the family and vaguely somewhere trailing along came church and God.
At work I could match it with the best of them – setting key performance indicators and business goals for the troops – making sure the business opportunities were met and all goals and mileposts were passed always looking for better solutions and outcomes – I could also swear and mix it with the herd – just like one of the boys.
It wasn’t until the kids got older and we decided that we should move churches so that they could join a youth group that God started working in my life – change came suddenly and unexpectedly for me.
God smacked me with the fact that He wanted much more than lip service from me – a half hearted Christian wasn’t a Christian at all – I was totally gobsmacked!
I WAS the church in Rev 3:16-17 – “So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say ‘I am rich, I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked”
I was shocked – I had done this for God and that for God – I had gone to church all my life – I had brought my kids up to know God.
I feel to my knees – I asked God to take full control of my life – I handed over everything to Him – I made Him No.1
Not only that but I asked the Holy Spirit to come into my life and control what I said, did and thought – and with tears of repentance I asked for forgiveness for those years and years I had strayed from Him doing my own thing and getting into the world and what it had to offer
The freedom that came over me was overwhelming – I handed the controls over to God and was spellbound by the transformation in my life – No longer was I held as a salve to sin – I suddenly despised the way of life I once had.
I had thought I was so free – doing what I wanted when I wanted! I could sin knowingly but reasoning to myself that God would forgive me – after all wasn’t He a loving God always there and willing to forgive and forget?
What I didn’t take into account was that God is also just and so Holy – His holiness is so awesome even the angels fall on their faces in front of Him. Thousands upon thousands of Heavenly beings hiding their faces awestruck by His holiness.
What finally came home to me was the fact that I will have to give an account of every word, thought and deed I have ever committed.
God’s ledger (if you like) will have those thoughts, words and deeds on one side and not my so-called ‘good’ deeds on the other but whether or not I am a changed person in Christ – accepting and trusting Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary.
During this life-changing time for my family and me I had the privilege of seeing Sue make a commitment to the Lord and also both the kids come to know Him as their Lord and Saviour.
The guys at work could immediately see the difference and even my management style changed so dramatically – no longer was it my aim to gain more influence but suddenly I was interested in my colleagues personally. God gave me compassion and empathy for them and much more understanding.
I was still working hard and doing my very best to be the very best manager I could be – but this time I was doing it for God and for his Glory – man! what a difference it made!
You know you can’t live in two worlds – you can’t please God and dance with the Devil – You can’t really be God’s if you still hanker and cling to the world and what it has to offer.
You can’t be a carnal Christian and give God what He yearns for – YOU!
Our awesome God cries when you do – He laughs when you do – He yearns for you to find true happiness and freedom in Him
His great heart breaks when we walk away – when we put other people and things in front of Him.
You know, being a 5th generation Christian didn’t make me one!
Sometimes I look back on my life and think that it is hard for kids growing up with that influence – you can take it all so much for granted – so much so that when it finally does hit you that God means YOU then it comes as a complete surprise!
When we finally get to Heaven – we are going to be so awestruck that we like the Heavenly beings will fall flat on our faces before His utter holiness.
God will Judge us not on whether we went to church and were good – not on whether we met our financial arrangements with each other and were honest – not on whether our families were good ‘church goers’ and were kind to their neighbours but whether we were actually changed when we met our Saviour.
Jesus died so that we might live – He didn’t do that so that we could give lip service to God and pretend sin doesn’t matter.
He didn’t die so that we could live lives that had nothing to do with Him or his standards through the week and just go through the motions of being goody goody Christians on Sundays.
Get into God’s Word – Get into His commands – get into God’s Love and more importantly get into His forgiveness.
Accept His great offer of forgiveness BUT don’t be lukewarm like I was – Lukewarm is YUK! -Lukewarm will spell your doom – like it nearly did to me!
Get real with Jesus- Give Him your life – He gave His for you!
Life with God at the helm is Freedom Plus – His Word is true and final – There is no such thing as a wishy-washy Christian – you are or you aren’t His.
As it says in Hebrews 3:12-13 Don’t let sin’s deceitfulness harden our hearts so that we turn away from God.
Satan is crafty – he will even use God’s word to lie to you as he did to Eve way back at creation. He will tell you like he told me that God will forgive your sin – so go ahead and do it!!
Sin has no part in the life of the Believer – sure Satan can come knocking BUT God is stronger and has already defeated him – claim that promise and really live for God.
God is our Father – our loyalties have to shift from us and the world to Him – He is our primary family now.
We have to live like we own nothing – all is His – everything – Give Him the Lot!
Faith in God is believing His Word over anything you may see, hear or experience. Married to SueAnn and living in Newcastle NSW Australia – We both love Jesus – he is our strength, our Hope and our Redeemer.