Pleasing God Will Isolate You

By: Pastor Shuffel Peter Hepburn Sr./JESHURUN Ministry

There are many mighty men and women of God who felt isolated, and forsaken: Aaron and Miriam, Moses siblings spoke about him behind his back, criticizing him about his Ethiopian wife.

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TEXT: Rev. 3:17; Mat. 10:30-42

Every time the Lord calls someone he will lose some friends and associates………HELLO/WELCOME…….. Whenever the Lord calls someone it will separate them from the pack, and sometimes even from members of their own household, as well as friends. It is a strange syndrome, and some find it too difficult to bear. We all want to be admired, loved and accepted, and some of us suffer from the fear of rejection. Unfortunately the choice of pursuing material or spiritual excellence may cause one to be less loved, less admired, less accepted and yes, even rejected. Very often this happens because of jealousy. So we seek to avoid this pain and hurt. Because of this fear, many people look for a comfortable zone for their day to day existence. They stay in that zone, not aiming too high, and not aspiring to do anything of significance because of their overwhelming desire to be accepted by the pack. It is a lonely feeling to be different, and it is often very, very lonely at the top. A Born Again Believe In Christ is different, it’s a lonely feeling to be Born Again.

So, we continually try to make decisions in a particular fashion so that we will be “un-lonely.” We decide it is better to be just an ordinary Joe, or an ordinary Jane. However, this puts us in peril with God! Because God tells us in revelation 3:15,16: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” If your choice is to take the middle of the road approach, deciding to be mediocre so that you can blend in with the crowd, and not stick out like a sore thumb you will become a stench in God’s nostril, he may spit you out of His mouth! God wants you to strive for excellence in whatever area of life you find yourself, whether spiritual or material. He wants you to work hard, He wants you to excel! If you have decided to take the safe passageway you are considered lukewarm in God’s eyes. You will lose out in the end. In Christ it is unavoidable!

There are many mighty men and women of God who felt isolated, and forsaken: Aaron and Miriam, Moses siblings spoke about him behind his back, criticizing him about his Ethiopian wife. The apostle Paul felt deserted….. As Paul fought persecution to spread the gospel his friends deserted him, and he said the following: “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me…but the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.”…. Joshua often felt lonely and discouraged, particularly after the death of his friend and teacher, Moses. God encouraged Joshua with the following, “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses so I will be with you.” God is saying the same thing to you. Stephen, King David, Elijah, Elisha, even King Solomon who had 700 wives felt alone. He said, “I have found one man among a thousand [who pleases God], but I have not found [such] a woman among all these [1,000 in my harem Ampv]. Those who are afraid of criticism stay behind and criticize those who take the plunge!

Unfortunately, you cannot please God, and please the people at the same time. Neither can you love God and the world! If you’re seeking fame and approval, the people of the world will love you, and will think that you are hot, hot! However in God’s eyes you’re actually cold, cold! If you are pursuing spiritual excellence, and doing the things of God with a passion, then in God’s eyes you are as hot as hot can be!

There is another thing……The man or woman born of the Spirit will discover that they are often misunderstood by the world, and even persons near and dear to them. There is a simple explanation for this found in John 3:1, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. The one born of the Spirit is dancing to the beat of a different drummer than those who are in the world. And no one can predict their coming and going, no one can tell what they will do next! Neither do they themselves know. They are trying to hear the voice of God, and in order to do this they will have to shut out the voices of the world. The change in the desires and passions of the one led by the Spirit perhaps fuels this separation. The things that the world offers begin to lose their appeal for the one led by the Spirit. They become separated from the world.

If you desire to please the Lord you will have to leave the comfort of the pack. It requires spending long hours in prayer and study. It requires careful attention to the duty of His service. It requires abstinence from certain things that are sinful in the eyes of God. It requires self-denial and obedience. The Lord has high expectations for his servants. This means that you will not have time to hang out, or to be on the blocks. Duty will be calling you to the left and to the right. Nevertheless there is great joy in serving God! In fact there’s more joy in serving God than doing anything else in life.

A life in Christ is far more meaningful than any other. This thing of pleasing the crowd, of being an ordinary Joe is in the eyes of God despicable. And one must be careful and very thoughtful about this or he will come to the end of the road of his life, and find that he has wasted most of the precious hours that the Lord has given him doing things that were meaningless. He is in danger of finding that he has wasted his entire life, for the word of God encourages us not to labour in vain (1Cor.15:58). When we spend all of our energies pursuing the things of the world this is laboring in vain! According to God’s word spending all our time pursuing the things of the world is vanity and vexation of Spirit, and there will be no reward at the end of the road. Something else, God has never chosen a lazy man! Every man or woman he’s ever called was busy doing something else!

Now we turn to wealth and riches. Wealth is a strange creature! Too often when one has it he begins to believe that he is better than everyone else. And the Word of God talks about the deceitfulness of riches. The enemy will use riches to pull us away from the Lord, if we allow it to become our focus. Revelation 3:17 says that when someone becomes rich they begin to say: “I am rich, I have become wealthy, and have need of nothing-and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” In short, people who have material wealth or fame can easily begin thinking that they are superior, and need nothing. Eventually this causes them to believe they do not need God. They have the entire world coming after them, this will make them feel they are relevant, but they are not. Only God can Make Us relevant. Yet in this condition of having everything that one can think of materially or dream of, we are most desolate, most wretched. God declares that the rich are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. And he says that if you have been enduring chastening it is a sign of his great love for you. This is when one is most relevant, when God is chastising him!

Pleasing God does not fit with the thinking of the world. He says His thoughts are not like our thoughts, and His ways are not like our ways. God’s way often runs against the grain, because God is not driven by the desires and passions that drive mankind. Sometimes God says some things that sound strange to our ears. For instance, in Matthew 10 he says, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a Man’s enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” In other words, choosing God will often put you at odds even with members of your own family, and those of your community. It may put you at odds with the one you love! The one who is serving God truly dances to the beat of a different drummer.

A prime example of this is found in the life of Jesus Christ who didn’t do very many miracles in his own hometown. Apparently they had their doubts about him, and did not have faith in his works. His own family members did not understand him, and were often urging him to go against the Father’s plan for his life. Jesus Christ was perhaps the most isolated man on the face of the entire Earth. He had no contemporaries! He had no wife. He had no children. He had no one who understood him in the whole wide world. Thankfully the father was always near to him, and understood him. Scripture says that one day a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher I will follow you wherever you go. And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head (Matthew 8: 19,20).” He had far less than we have!

Picture of Pastor Shuffel P. Hepburn Sr.

Pastor Shuffel P. Hepburn Sr.

The Senior Pastor of Jeshurun Ministry Bahamas. He has a Ph.D. in Christian Psychology and Counseling.

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About Jeshurun

Jeshurun ministry is a non-denominational Evangelical, outreach ministry in Freeport, Bahamas. We believe the whole Bible to be completely and equally inspired and that it is the written Word of God. We are located at #6 International Bazaar across from The Royal Islander Hotel, 2 Doors South of the Castaways Inn and 2 Doors East of the Perfume Factory. Come worship with us this Sunday!

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