by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

At an appointed time, King Herod put on his royal apparel, sat on his throne, and made a stirring and eloquent speech. The people gave him a great ovation and would not stop shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!” And immediately the angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died. Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread, and there were many new believers in Jesus Christ (Act 12:21-24).

This world is so tricky and cunning. As soon as you’re born, your self-worth, value and purpose is challenged. Suddenly you see the light of day and just as suddenly you are surrounded by mercenaries of the ‘adversary’ trying to shape and mold you into the image of the world value system. When you were born, you were cute and sweet, lovable and precious. You were fine just like you were. As you begin to mature you begin to be bombarded with: “If you don’t dress like this, you are not fashion literate and that’s not good”; “If you don’t get your hair done at that shop you’re not in tune with what’s happening”; “If you don’t drive that car you’re killing the planet”; “Everyone has an iPod, you should too”; “If you’re not politically correct you’re a bigot”; “If you don’t drink, smoke, get high or be promiscuous or immoral, you can’t be a friend or achieve success, because everyone who is somebody drinks, smokes, gets high and is a whoremonger.” Unfortunately some of the very talented and gifted people fall in line with that peer pressure and their lives are a total mess! You know, Apostle Paul made a very simple statement, but when you observe the Corinthian life style of the rich and famous, you realize that it is a very profound and prophetic statement; “Don’t give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27).” Let’s say you are an aspiring actor or actress and you meet with an agent or a talent scout, but you don’t drink hard liquor. Your agent says, “We will meet in a bar, have a few drinks and discuss the movie project they want you to be a part of.” You go there with the intention of having ginger ale, but your agent tells you that you will have to start drinking hard liquor. Now you’re faced with deciding if getting somewhere in the industry is worth compromising your principles. You say it’s just one drink, but you have just given “place to the devil.” As the years go by, you wake up with a successful acting career, but you’ve so compromised your principles and value system that your life is a mess and the whole world feeds off your moral degradation. All this because one compromise led to more and more demands and compromising your value system…

I’ve got a question for you; did that agent, or director or talent scout or boss give you the talent that you have? Think about it. All they have done is mold you into the image of the world, telling you that “you have to do this in order to get the world to see your talent.” It seriously sounds like prostituting your talent or gift. Really! Note that God declares that He knew you when you were in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). God gave you your gift; but He gave it to you for His good purpose (Ephesians 1:11) and not to be another notch on the world’s belt. If you have observed: notches on a wall or a belt just look like notches… nothing special. However, it looks like graffiti to God (a sinful mess all over your soul). You can act like everything is okay, but you have sold yourself and worth for “30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15).” A struggling street musician has more self-worth then you do because every time he gets applauses, every time he sees someone put money into the hat, he gets encouraged and assesses his growing value, and not one of his audiences asks him or compels him to compromise his principles.

Well, that is the sad state of affairs. So how do you get joy and freedom? I suggest that you step back and take a serious look at the trappings and maneuver your way through the entangled worldly maze. I like the way Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 13:12) and Michael Jackson put it, “Take a look at the man in the mirror”. If you look, you will see the reflection of how the world has molded you; but if you look at the reflection in the Bible, you will see how God made you. He formed you as a man or woman and He said it was good (Genesis 1:27-31 ) He stitched into your essence a gift or a talent and placed on your imageheart a charge to use that gift to sustain your provisions and to impact others for His glory. Your image, your moral instincts and discernment between right and wrong were God infused into the fabric of your soul, but now your vision is impaired and cloudy; your image is sinfully stained.  Because of His love, grace and mercy, you can be rescued…you can be saved! You can be delivered in a crowded room or in the privacy of your home. All you have to do is confess to God that you have sinned against Him, invite Christ into your heart and confess Jesus Christ, who died on the cross then rose again on the third day, as your LORD and Savior. Then you shall be “changed, freed and delivered.” After this, when you look into the mirror, God will show you just how much He treasures you and how you can use your talent and walk in His purpose without compromise. You think your talent is seen now, just wait until God becomes your agent. The world “ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Those people who have made you a disciple of the world with promises of wealth and fame… Don’t you know that God can take them out faster than a blink of an eye? We really dwell too much on how we appear to man who is subject to God (whether they know it or not). It’s not just the publically immoral, but it’s the average Jane Doe and John Smith (whether they go to church or not) that spend too much time being anxious about how they appear to other people. The One who created heaven and earth with a Word; the One who already declared that He will make a new heaven and earth whenever He pleases; the One who decides whether you live or die; the One who has already promised eternal death for the wicked; that’s the One who you should be concerned about pleasing.

Caution! Don’t be as the rich man who asked what more can he do to assure himself of eternal life. Christ replied, “Sell all you have and give to the poor and follow Me.” The man bowed his head and went away sorrowfully (Matthew 19:21-22). I don’t know how great your acquaintances are, I don’t know your economic status or your influential position, but it is not greater than what God can give or take away. All those ‘things’ will become ashes. The disciples asked Christ, “then who can be saved?” Christ replied, “Anyone who gives up anything to follow Me will get it back a hundred times more.” (Matthew 19:25-29)

I have placed before you a plan of deliverance. Right now, you are a Spiritual ‘Zombie’: dead in your trespasses; and the world you are in is shoveling sand on your body every day. The media has already written your obituary! Christ is giving you a choice: Life or death. You don’t need a scriptwriter or a talent agent to be set FREE. The Holy Spirit breathed the Holy Bible thousands of years ago. Jesus Christ has already given the perfect sacrificial ‘performance of a lifetime’. He gave up position, status and wealth just to write your life story with His own blood, sweat and tears. He was your ‘stand-in’. Jesus Christ died on a cross so that your life story would have a happy ending!

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known (NIV).    1 Corinthians 13:12

That’s Today’s Single Focus.

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