Think About This: “Hardly anything else reveals so well the fear and uncertainty among men as the length to which they will go to hide their true selves from each other and even from their own eyes. “ – Aiden Tozer
Put Your Oxygen Mask on First: Intro
Posted on November 17, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV)
Twenty years. It has been twenty years since I stood behind the pulpit in the Colony Chapel, on the grounds of America’s Keswick and announced that I was leaving my 120-day stay based on a passage of Scripture I had taken from 1 John 2:15-17. Looking back on it, I also had some pseudo sense that I was imparting wisdom upon the congregation that chilly 12th of November night. I also came home that night, sang “Happy Birthday” to my daughter, pronounced to my family some stuff outta Ezekiel 33:1-9, ate some cake and went to bed. I woke up the next morning with my battle armor on and ever since then I have come to realize that I’m no better a Christian now than I was back then.
I have read many books since then and have heard hundreds, if not at least a thousand sermons on how to live a better Christian life to the glory of God but none really made that deep impact on me like Tony Evans’ book “Kingdom Man” or a sermon given by Alistair Begg titled “Be Careful How You Live.” Now, I understand that neither one of these two resources are a replacement for God’s Word but they did do something to motivate me to dig deeper into God’s Word. I needed to figure out why the stuff that Tony had written or the stuff Alistair was saying was making me feel like I was wearing a coat of conviction. Being forgiven may alleviate a lot of the fear of paying the bill when it comes due, but it doesn’t dismiss the side effects of one’s disobedience to Kingdom principles, just that simple.
“Kingdom Man” took me to Psalm 128 where I shoulda seen what God had given to me to minister to in the first place. The conviction that I walked away with was that I hadn’t used what God gave me first and because of that life had gotten outta order but stayed away from the disorderly lane. I now can say with this with all certainty, if you are not ministering at home do NOT go out into the world and try to minister to others. That’s outta order. ‘Nough said there but it allows me to segway into how Alistair Begg treated me through his “Be Careful How You Live” sermon.
“One day Jesus said to His disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.” Luke 17:1-2
Isn’t it easier to find fault within others before you take your sorry self to the mirror? Go on and say “yes” because it is true. Just as an unbelief in Christ becomes the leaven that spoils your spiritual growth so does not taking your own mess into account. Begg will challenge his listeners with four questions and they hinge on three words from Luke 17:3, “So watch yourselves!” And if you need an object lesson to help you see that watching yourselves first is important, step then the next time you fly on an airplane take notice to how they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first when they drop if the plane is in trouble before helping anyone else. Anyway…
So, the four questions that might be helpful in assuring that your oxygen mask is fitted properly are…Am I causing others to sin? Am I learning to forgive? Am I living by faith? Am I doing my duty? Now I don’t believe that these questions were designed to be as straight forward as only deserving one-worded answers because that would only to lead to other questions. You could just say “YES” to all four and then the question of “How so?” could come up. You could just answer “No” to all four and the question of “Why?” just seems to be the next logical question. And I say to my own determent, not answering at all is like turning up your nose to Kingdom principles, not too good to do.
So since I just made that bold statement, I would like to share my answers to those questions over my next few Freedom Fighters (and with the way I write it could a long series). But maybe you’d like to examine these questions yourself and run them through Luke 17:1-10 and see if you find any wiggle room to not answer and be mindful of this, “Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod!” (Mark 8:15b) Because being religiously correct alongside of political correctness most likely equals hypocrisy or better stated in James, “Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” (James 1:8) Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, a father, and has recently become a grandpop. He has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy, 11/2003. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Hebrews 12:14-15