When was the last time you saw evidence of 'reverence' or 'godly fear.' Are you kidding me?
The past five years have been the spiritually toughest times of our lives. My husband and I are estranged from many family members and dear friends due to spiritual sifting, because we stood by principles laid down in God's Word - and these people are all professing Christians. We love them dearly, but our first commitment is to obedience to the Lord. Scripture clearly tells us to expect these divisions in the last days. Well, here we are - not happy about any of it, but at peace.
We have had to leave 3-4 churches because they were heading into heresies through New Age evil creeping in. We stated the case according to scripture, were unsuccessful in stopping the new changes, and left peaceably. We have no ill feelings and love the pastors and people left behind, but our first commitment is obedience to the Word. The Lord blessed us with a wonderful Bible-teaching church, a real church family. It has been like receiving a great blessing toward the end our journey.
What was accomplished due to all of this sifting? We aren't sure. These were spiritual issues, and we can see with real clarity only the physical realm at the moment. The peace we have, however, is confirmation to us that something was accomplished in the heavenlies.
In addition, we have taken on what we saw as some of the toughest projects for the Lord that we can imagine. We could have walked away, but we knew they were things the Lord wanted us to do. We have become more adept at hearing the still small voice.
My point in revealing all of this is that we have felt, in a real and concrete way, the sifting in our own lives. We have been forced to make decisions about things we might not have done ten years ago. The Lord has been honing us, molding us, and it hurts. But it's his will. It's right. We will never achieve the goal while on earth, but we want with all our hearts to be heading in the direction He wants us to go. We have become aware of the sifting, and we understand that it is a part of God's program in these last days. In other words, we don't want to be wrapped up in theological arguments and principles; we want to follow the Lord's call by our correct handling of actual, real life decision-making in obedience to him. We want that to be the driving force in our lives. That is our aim: to live it rather than talk about it.
One doesn't need to look very far at all to see that the universal state of Christianity is deplorable, sad, ineffective, a sham, a cloud without water, a hollow shell - often evil. Satanic forces continue to sift the church, to shake it until all dross falls away. Only what's done for Christ will remain.
Paul's letter to the Hebrews was an attempt to pry the Jews away from their man-made order, the Jewish system, their forms, their everlasting traditions of men. The same principle holds true today. A great majority of the Protestant churches have fallen away, and we are about to see the Roman Catholic Church (already firmly pagan) split and destroyed. Watch. The entirety of the Church continues to be shaken and tested until only those with abiding values will remain standing at the gates. The Jewish experience and destruction of the Temple, the priesthood, and the traditions was a type of what is happening today to the Church.
God doesn't want systems, orders, dead form. He wants relationship - with those he created after his own image! What man continually does is to construct a better system, and just as legalistic and ritualistic as the old. The New Testament is dramatic in its lack of a church system; it was an organism, springing forth from the reality of the Cross, creating followers of Jesus, crucified to self. That which goes by the name of "Christianity" in the world today is often the greatest enemy of Jesus Christ.
Are you being sifted? If not, why not? It's the last moment of time. We need to take stock of our spiritual lives. How important is it for you to have a personal relationship with the King of Kings, the Creator? You can, you know.
We are not only in the final hour. We're in the final moment. What's the truth of your spiritual state? If you cannot live up to the reality of Christ-likeness through obedience in the physical, that is evidence you are not passing the test spiritually.