Be closer to God than to the world

Good morning everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Great thoughts from great Christians”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind; so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “Be closer to God than to the world”
 
This morning I want to continue our thought from yesterday regarding the desperate need today for strong Christian men and women.
 
Vance Havner was a plain-spoken, home-spun, backwoods preacher from Jugtown, North Carolina in the mid-1900s. He did not have formal Bible College or Seminary training, but he did have the hand of God upon his life from an early age. At the age of nine he was already writing Christian essays for the local newspaper. At twelve he stood on a chair behind the pulpit in his church and preached his first sermon. At twenty-two he became a pastor, and by the age of thirty-nine he was a full-time traveling evangelist.
 
One of Havner’s favorite themes for reviving backslidden Christians and churches was the need to live differently than the world around us. Strong Christians get and stay strong by refusing to conform to the culture around them. Weak Christians give-in to cultural pressures and become just like it. Here’s a portion of one of Havner’s sermons on the subject:
 
“We are often distressed by church members who ask, “Can I be a Christian and do this? Why cannot I do that? What is wrong with dancing, smoking, card playing?” etc. What they are really asking is, “How much like the world can I live and be a Christian? How near the precipice can I walk without going over? How far away from the Lord can I be and still get to heaven?” Why do they not ask, “How far from the world can I live? How near the Lord? How much like Him?” Such people prefer the Borderline to Beulah Land.”
 
Havner’s point is perceptive, and accurate. Many of us toy with the Christian faith. We try to see how much of popular culture and worldly values we can include in our lives and still be found faithful to the Lord. But the fact is that the more we’re like the world the less we will be like the Lord. The more the world has a hold on us, the less the Lord will be able to do in us and with us.
 
In Romans 12:1-2 Paul called us to holy living. He urged us to resist the allure of worldly things and to give ourselves fully to Christ. Doing so will transform us into strong and courageous Christian men and women. I encourage all of us to stay closer to the Lord than we are to the world.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2021 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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