In this world in which we live, sin and temptations and evil spread faster than any other period in history. We see before our eyes the darkness that covers the earth more and more. (Isaiah 60:2). As we get closer to the time of Yeshuas’ coming, and before that, to the coming of Anti-Christ, the world becomes darker and gloomier, because Satan knows that his end is near, and he tries to seduce and kidnap as many people as possible and stumble the believers as well. (1 Peter 5:8-9).
As children of God, what is required of us at this time? – To be His ambassadors wherever we are. “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ…” (2 Cor. 5:20). “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Cor. 2:15).
We must be the light of the world and to spread His light and His word especially in our surroundings: in the workplace, school, army, etc., to be witnesses of Messiah before the lost through our different way of life. We must also have a fragrant scent among the saved ones. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6-7). Only when we walk in the light and in the truth, do we have a real fellowship with the brothers. Only then does the blood of Yeshua the Messiah purify us from all sin.
We must also be the salt of the earth. The role of salt, among other things, is to stop decay. We must go against the current of this world, where lying has become an accepted thing and to be different. That means to be: honest, sincere, true and transparent, in order to be witnesses to the glory of the Messiah. It requires us to go out to Him outside the camp. “Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Heb. 13:13). To bear His disgrace means: to suffer rejection, as Yeshua suffered from those who rejected Him, to suffer persecution, as He suffered from those who persecuted Him. It means to follow in His footsteps!!! “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20).It also means being rejected by those of us who compromise with the complete truth of God’s word.
It is time to embrace the culture of the Kingdom of Heaven, which is very different from the culture of this world. It is time to change the way we think and to adopt the thought and the behavior according to the culture of the Kingdom of Heaven: to live in humility and not in pride, to do His will and not our will, to forgive and not to hold a grudge, to give Him honor and not to take it to ourselves, to give the other cheek, to walk the narrow path and more and more laws and commandments of the New Testament, God made with us in those last days through Yeshua the Messiah.
The culture of this World is based on man’s self-satisfaction. He wants to delight his flesh and do only what gives him satisfaction and pleasure. But in the Kingdom of Heaven it is different! Instead of living to please ourselves, we live to please the King!
As citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, we must put the King above ourselves (not my will but Your will). It is a process that opposes our “ego” that was born in Garden of Eden and we need to deny it. “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). It is expressed in our suffering of denying our desires and plans, especially in these times (of the pandemic) all over the world. In this time our routine life has changed greatly and God has allowed it, in order to work in the life of all of us, believers and non-believers, in His way….
Our commitment to be faithful to the King should cost us even at the cost of suffering, for the sake of the Messiah who suffered for us. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:10-12). For the prophets spoke the truth.
When we are born again we begin the process of changes in our lives. The process starts with the change of thought in our minds that leads to a change in our actions and in the course of our lives. We must oppose the mind of the world, where thought is humanistic. God is not a humanist, God is Holy !!! “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). The process continues with the change of our personal identity to the identify in Messiah (Jews and Gentiles alike). Our identity is no longer national, ethnic, religious, but messianic! It’s a new identity … and it brings us to a new culture: new friends, new language, new music, new behavior and new habits. We begin to practice the thought of the Kingdom of Heaven with the help of God’s grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
It is not easy to be different within society in this world. Our sinful nature wants to be like the society of this world, so as not to be rejected by that society. We must be careful not to imitate the society of the world, but resist this current and strive to live life which brings honor to the King. It is not easy to go against the flow. It causes us suffering, because we seem strange to the society around us, but on the other hand it brings honor to the Lord.
The society of this world can sometimes be a tool in the hands of the devil, to bring us back to our previous lives – to the world’s mind and the world’s behavior, in order to control us.
We must embrace this suffering of being different, for the sake of the King who suffered for us. “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-2). The tormented in the flesh is the one who suffers in his body for the sake of Messiah and thus he adopts for himself a new way of life that brings honor to the Lord. When we adopt the culture of the Kingdom, then:
- We will be more disciplined in every area of our lives and will not give freedom to our flesh. (Gal. 5:13).
- We will sin less, because we will be aware and alert to the circumstances that it will bring us. (Psalm 51:3-4).
- We will have more joy in God and in the wonderful eternal future that awaits us in His kingdom. (Rom. 14:17).
- The troubles of this life will not bother us, as they did before we were saved. (Rom. 5:3).
The culture of the Kingdom (which has the suffering of being different), which grows within us as we grow in faith, prepares us and hardens us for the difficult times that are yet to come in the future. It brings us to develop a mentality of warriors in the army of the Lord, who is the Minister of the Army, because we are all in a time of spiritual warfare. “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier, and also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Tim. 2:4-5). We fight with His truth, with His justice, within His peace, in faith, thanks to the salvation He has given us and of course with the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Eph. 6:14-17).
As true believers, we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are now temporary citizens in this world. Every country and society has a culture with customs that set it apart. What sets us, the believers, apart is the laws of the Kingdom of Heaven according to the word of God and not according to the customs and doctrines of man (humanism). Sometimes the inhabitants of one country (also believers) imitate the culture of another country, for example: there are believing Gentiles, who imitate rabbinic Jewish culture by using rabbinical clothing. God hates imitations! He created us different. There is also a “Messianic” culture, in which there are those who politely avoid convicting a brother / sister who has failed or sinned, so as not to “hurt” them. (This of course causes them spiritual damage). God created us different and sent our Lord Yeshua to unite us within the difference (John 17: 21-23). All of us, who have come from different countries and from different cultures, need to unite around one culture which is the culture of the Kingdom of Heaven and headed by the King – Yeshua the Messiah!
The word of God tells us: “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:3-6).
Our hope today is in the one heavenly city, and in it we will all be united with Him:
“For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come” (Heb. 13:14).
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph.2:19).
“For he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10).