Monday, May 7, 2012

Always a Bridesmaid

The old adage of always a bridesmaid, never a bride, refers to that selfless woman that is always hard at work to make everyone else’s life complete. Always fussing about to make sure everything is in place, serving others first, often to the point of placing her own needs secondary to others. She is never the most important person in any situation, always deferring to someone else. So it is with those who accept Christ and turn their lives over to Him. One’s own needs become secondary when it becomes more important to please our Lord and Savior. Filled with the love of Christ, one places Him above all else. Ephesians 5:1-5, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.”

The primary benefactor of greed is one’s self. Where would we be if our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ placed His needs above ours? What if Jesus decided that we were not worth dying a death on the cross? What if He decided that it was more important that He bypass the suffering and be lifted up into heaven and safety? For He could have with a word, call down angels that would have prevented any harm befalling Him. But no, He humbly took on the form of a human being, experiencing all the pain and suffering meant for a selfish, sinful humanity. He died for us so that we may live. And this is a life eternal in paradise. Our salvation, the gift of grace from our Father in heaven. What is required of us to gain this wonderful gift of salvation? Faith in the living Christ. Belief that my Savior, God’s own Son, took upon Himself all of my sin, suffered the just punishment that I deserve, died and rose to life, defeating death and opening the door for all who believe to defeat death and live eternally with our Father in heaven.

This is such a small price to pay for such a wonderful gift. We die to our former selfish lives and are reborn to be a child of God. But, being a bridesmaid is not acceptable to all. The enlightened leaders of the ELCA, by invoking the doctrine of bound conscience, bow to no one. Deny yourself, well how can a loving God prohibit the things of this world that we selfishly desire. Don’t tell me that I can’t do as I please and that there are consequences to my actions. Self-esteem is paramount to this misguided denomination. Self-identity is so very important, more important than our identities as Disciples of Christ. What God prohibits, this denomination selfishly proclaims acceptable so that no one needs to deny oneself! Place God first in our lives? A loving God would never demand that. For the ELCA, the children make the rules and tell their Father what they want, not the other way around. And yet there are those, when this false doctrine is challenged, that choose to stand up for a church and thereby deny God’s authority. The church is nothing without Jesus Christ, and the ELCA is swiftly leading their flock away from Him.

In Matthew 8:34-38, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Humble yourself and place Christ first in your life and you will be justly rewarded. Accept the false doctrine peddled by the leaders of the ELCA, and you will find that you are ashamed of Him and His words. Continue in prayer for those trapped within the ELCA to have their hearts and minds opened to the Truth that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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