– by Nico Bougas
One of the most famous characters in the movie industry was Charlie Chaplin. He was a comedian, actor, director, and producer who earned worldwide fame in the silent movie era. At one time there was a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like contest being held and, always the practical joker, the real Chaplin decided he would enter. After deliberating long and hard, the judges unwittingly awarded Chaplin the third prize behind two impostors.
Imposters in the Church
Today, the church is plagued by people who are not the real deal. They have a form of Godliness, but there is no power and no personal relationship with Jesus. These are people who follow the rituals and mouth the words, but in reality their hearts are some distance away. Jesus had some harsh words for such, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’” – Mark 7:6. On another occasion He called them, “A bunch of snakes.” And “whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones.”
Are you wholehearted?
Caleb was a man in the Old Testament whose life stands in sharp contrast to such imposters. Six times in the Old Testament it is said that, “Caleb wholly followed the Lord.” If someone had to describe your spiritual life in one sentence what would they say? Do people think of you as a wholehearted Christian, or are you only a part time Christian?
Three witnesses to Caleb’s dedication:
1. Caleb was the first witness:
Ten of the twelve spies who were sent into the Promised Land returned with negative reports. They looked at all the problems facing the children of Israel and were ready to run. In contrast to the nervous and frightened spies, Caleb was able to say, “For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.” – Joshua 14.8. This was not an idle boast. It was his sincere testimony.
2. Moses was the second witness:
Moses recognised that Caleb was a man of faith and made a promise to him, “The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your grant of land and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.’” – Joshua 14:9
3. The Lord Himself was the third witness
God recognised that Caleb had a different attitude to the others. He assured Caleb that because he was following the Lord wholeheartedly, “I will bring him into the land he went to and his descendants will inherit it.” – Numbers 14:24
We can fool others with our religious spirit and actions, but God knows our heart. God knows the real you. Are you wholeheartedly following the Lord?
Why should we wholeheartedly follow the Lord?
• So that God is glorified
The only life that really glorifies God is the life that is completely dedicated to Him and the life that serves Him wholeheartedly. God’s Word calls us to be holy, not self-righteous, not pious and ‘holier than thou’, but completely given to His service.
• So that others may be enlightened
One reason why the Gospel is making little progress in your area is because the believers are not wholehearted in their service for the King. Jesus warned the believers in Laodicea, “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realise that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” – Rev 3:15-17
• So that I might be satisfied
The great missionary, doctor, and humanitarian, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, said: “The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” You are not satisfied by accumulating treasures and assets. Accumulating things only increases your hunger for more things. To find real satisfaction in your life you need to be totally committed and fully operational as a servant and follow Christ’s example and learn to be the servant of all.
Jesus is the only way
As someone has written, “Money will buy a bed but not sleep; books but not brains; food but not appetite; finery but not beauty; a house but not a home; medicine but not health; luxuries but not culture; amusements but not happiness; religion but not salvation – a passport to everywhere but not Heaven.”
How can I serve the Lord wholeheartedly?
It means being totally focused on the pursuing the goal of following the Lord. As Paul so beautifully reminds us, he is forgetting all his past pursuits, all his past bias, and past sins. He is now putting all his energy into following Christ and knowing Him and being transformed by Him.
No divided loyalty
There can be no divided loyalty as Jesus put it plainly, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” – Matt 6:24. The psalmist David was faced with many distractions and challenges, but he determined to put God first in his life, “I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand I shall not be shaken.” – Psalm 16:8
Jesus said, “No man having put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom” – Luke 9:62. There is no room for indecision and uncertainty. To follow Him completely means to follow Him utterly, absolutely, with heart and soul, and without any reservation. It means to follow Him in all that we are, in all that we do, and in all that we say, and to do this wherever we are and under every circumstance – completely. It means more than giving Him all that we have; it means yielding to Him all that we are. God wants our gifts and talents, but most of all He wants us!
We tend to be very inconsistent in our following. Remember how even Peter professed his loyalty by claiming, “I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” And not long after that he was to deny our Lord three times. His intentions were good but sadly, like most of us, he was inconsistent. We come away from a camp or special service and we are on fire for God and ready to change the world, but then in a moment of weakness the world changes us. To follow the Lord wholly is to follow Him all the time and to go on following Him day after day, month after month, and year after year.
What is the secret to wholeheartedly follow the Lord?
D.L. Moody heard a speaker declare that the world had yet to see what God could do through a man who was fully yielded to God, and he determined to be that man. He became a man mightily used by God in bringing thousands to know Him as their Saviour. His influence is still being felt through the schools and ministries he established.
William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army
When General Booth was asked what had been the secret of his success, he replied, “I will tell you the secret: God has had all that there was of me. There have been men with greater brains than I, even with greater opportunities, but from the day I got the poor of London on my heart and caught a vision of what Jesus Christ could do with me and them, on that day I made up my mind that God should have all of William Booth there was. And if there is anything of power in the Salvation Army, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life.”
We cannot wholly follow the Lord in our own strength. What was Caleb’s secret? We read that he had a different spirit. Jesus promised to send us “another comforter” who would be with us forever. Yes, that is the secret: strength and power to follow the Lord wholly is not in ourselves, but it is in the Holy Spirit, and with the Holy Spirit indwelling and infilling us we can then do as Caleb did – wholly, fully, follow Him, our glorious Lord!
The Holy Spirit is our helper!
Sadly, although the Holy Spirit is freely available to all believers, many do not take advantage of the power, the strength, and the peace that He provides. Many Christians try to live the victorious life in their own strength and abilities. Jesus promised us that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
Article source: JOY! Magazine (June 2019)