|Vol. 13 No. 7 July 2011||
“Are you in the zone?” was a question frequently heard during the week of June while we were at Maywood Christian Camp outside Hamilton, Alabama. It was sort of a way of rallying the “troops” to make sure we were keeping our spirits up and our attitudes in check as the fatigue factor set in due to the heat and lack of rest. Amazingly, it’s not too hard to stay “in the zone” with all the wonderful things taking place and as we together sought to draw nearer to God away from all the everyday distractions we experience.
Christians, however, do not need to be concerned about “being in the zone” one week of the year. We can, and must be “in the zone” 52 weeks of the year. Are you “In the Zone?”
First of all, to be “in the zone” you must be “in the kingdom of heaven.” The kingdom of heaven is an expression that is used synonymously with “the church” that Jesus promised to build (Matthew 16:18) and which promise was kept as his church was established through the plan and power of God (Acts 2). So, Jesus is Lord and King in the lives of those who have “obeyed the gospel of the kingdom” and are daily surrendering their lives to the fulfilling of His will. Those who are yet held by “the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13) are not as yet “in the zone” of which we speak, but there is hope for you. You can be delivered through the power of the Gospel when you are “born of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:3-5).
To be “in the zone” you and I must be walking with Jesus in the light of righteousness. What a glorious path wherein God has provided for us to walk whereby we may experience joy and peace as well as the security of our souls. Our relationship with God grows stronger and our love for Him grows deeper as we keep the weeds of sin rooted out. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7). Let us walk daily with Jesus in the light.
Are you in the zone? If we are truly in the zone, we are “walking in love” as Jesus walked while here in the flesh. The Bible is given to bless our lives in teaching us how to “walk” the Christian walk. “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Jesus has definite expectations for all of his disciples: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). What a great standard He has challenged us with in the expression: “as I have loved you.” It must be evident to all of us that we are not given the freedom to “pick and choose” just which of the brethren we will love. Jesus does not condone the practice of some who would claim to love one group on the one hand, while having feelings of hatred, spite and murderous thoughts on the other (1 John 4:20-21). Many noble traits of love are described in 1 Corinthians 13. However, never forget that when we have the love of Jesus in our hearts it will be marked by kindness in all that we say and do (verse 4).
The Christian faces trials every day, and if we are not careful, it is easy to allow fatigue to set in. We become worn down and then become spiritually vulnerable, and can even become a tool of Satan. However, we need to rally together behind the cross of our Lord, keeping our attitudes and lives in check, as He leads us forth to victory over all of the foes of righteousness. Friend, are you “in the zone?”
To be perfectly honest with you, the sign was so small that I did not even notice it at the corner of Madison Avenue and Maryland Street. That is, until a friend informed me that our church building was for sale. It was then that I made an effort to check and see if there was a sign at the location of the Capitol Heights church building, and there was. However, at the bottom of the small sign was an arrow pointing down Maryland Street to the area where a house had been placed on the market for sale. During this period of time I heard from various sources that the word had been spreading that, yes, our building was for sale. It is amazing how a rumor gets started; in so many cases the person who began it really never took the time to investigate as to the possibility that the fact of the matter had not really been proven, and that is the way that it goes sometimes. I even see a sense of humor in some rumors while other tales can be very damaging to someone’s reputation, and that is bad. I hope the home owner has success in selling the house and that the buyer will obtain it at a reasonable price. Buying and selling of a commodity/product really helps our economy, and we all know that we need some assistance in that area.
In the spiritual realm of things, the church (not the building) should be in the buying (obtaining) but not in the selling (discarding) business regarding one commodity and that is truth. In Proverbs 23:23 we read the following: “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding.” What is the “truth” that we are to purchase? Jesus answered that question in His prayer as recorded in John 17:17 when He was praying to His Father: “Sanctify them by your truth, Your word is truth.” Jesus Christ is the very essence of truth because He is the Eternal Word (John 1:1-2). The Lord taught in John 8:31-32: “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And in verse 36 Jesus said: “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” In John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” To believe in and accept Jesus as the Son of God is also to accept His word as truth. They are inseparable. The Hebrew writer declares that God presently speaks to us “by His Son” (1:1). Jesus Christ informed His apostles that when He left them to return to His father, the Holy Spirit would guide them into “all truth” (John 16:13). Today, we have “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints,” that is, the inspired Word of God (Jude 3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Our sentiment should be the same as the apostle John who wrote: “For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:3-4). How sad to realize and to know that even among the body of Christ some are fulfilling the words of Paul as found in 2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but according to their own desires, because they had itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” That is the very reason why we should continue to “Preach the word!” The apostle Peter stated that the truth should always be taught: “For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you” (2 Peter 1:12-13). We should all be seekers of truth and obtain it at any cost, but we should never “sell” it in the sense of rejecting or disobeying it.