Church-goers Vs. Christians

We all love Jesus right? I’m sure you do, because you are probably reading this to check if you are missing something in your spiritual life! Don’t worry, only the people refusing to read this are the real sinners! Just kidding, relax relax haha. This blog isn’t to tell anyone who’s going to Heaven or Hell, because I can’t judge your heart. But these are points that are true and we all should examine our own hearts and motives daily.
So here are 7 differences between a Church-goer and a Christian:
1. Church-goers believe in Jesus. Christians believe and actually obey His commands out of their love for Him.

 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)

2. Church-goers attend church services when it’s convenient for them (possibly only on Easter and Christmas). A Christian is fully aware that godly community is not only enriching to their spiritual walk, but it is also biblical to have a “church” family to call their home.

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

3. Church-goers read their bibles when they want encouragement. Christians read their bibles so they can grow in their knowledge of Christ and so they can be conformed to His image.

I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalms 119:16)

4. Church-goers will try to twist the scriptures to fit their lifestyle. Christians are changed from the inside out because of the scriptures.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

5. Church-goers wait until times are hard to pray. Christians understand that prayer is something we should do consistently because it is simply communication with God.

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

6. Church-goers think repentance is something that will destroy them or is somewhat legalistic. Christians understand that sin is a barrier between us and God (Isaiah 59:2), but Jesus is willing to forgive all who repent.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

7. Church-goers leave their faith inside of the “church” on Sundays. Christians understand that our love for God really shows in our lifestyle and ministry doesn’t necessarily start until the service is over.

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

There are many differences between the typical fans of Jesus and His genuine followers. Judas was “close” to Jesus, but his heart clearly wasn’t as dedicated as it should’ve been. Many are in church, but many of us haven’t taken the step to actually becoming a disciple of His. If you haven’t taken that next step in your walk with Christ, will you do so today?
Grace and peace,
Tovares Grey

Idolizing Marriage

So you say that you want to be married. That’s fantastic! However, your desire may be delayed because of your motives. Why is our society so deceived into thinking that they can’t be happy until someone else comes along to give them worth? Marriage is so great, but it cannot complete. Good things cannot fill God’s role. Marriage is meant to be a blessing, but not your purpose on earth.
Okay, before I scare you away, let me get into the point of this blog!
There are so many people out there desiring marriage. That is so good, because marriage gives us an idea of just how much God loves us. Husbands are literally told to love their wives the way that Christ loves us. If that isn’t an indicator on how serious God takes marriage, I really don’t know what is. We are blessed with the gift of sex in marriage which gives pleasure and the ability to procreate. However, the problem arises when we want to be married more than we want Jesus. We seek a spouse before we seek the God who created us. Of course the all-knowing God could tell us who to pursue and who to stay away from, but we simply just hunger so much for the fairy tale love story that we forget all about God. Too many people are expecting a story like Love and Basketball, The Notebook or a Disney channel love story. I think many of us have the idea that marriage carries us into a happily ever after without problems, but is that the case? Every “romance” movie we watch, the movie ends with the highlights! The boy finally wins her heart. That pretty girl finally gives that guy a chance and they run off into pure bliss. The couple who broke up and moved on, somehow managed to run back into each other and fate would have it that their love is rekindled.
“It is definitely God’s will that I get my fairytale!” That’s just how it should be, right?
Wrong. Relationships don’t always go according to our plans….even if we love Jesus. Divorce rates are high just for the misconception many of us believe. You must know that no matter how awesome they are, they are still human. Perfection can only be found in Jesus, so do not hold an extra high standard for someone that cannot fill it. Marriages fail when God isn’t the center, but your idea of how marriage is. You both will have work to do, but you can’t grow if you two aren’t CHOOSING to forgive, love, cherish, respect and honor even when the feelings may fade.
Ever heard someone say they want a Godly spouse or someone following Jesus, but they aren’t even following Him wholeheartedly? That will never happen, you attract who you are not necessarily who you want. If you’re pursuing Jesus, then like-minded people will be drawn towards you; if you’re a lustful person, then that kind of person will be drawn to you. It is not God’s will for you to be with anyone holding on to the world. You two are going in opposite directions if they choose to remain lukewarm or unsaved. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Wait on someone you can pursue Jesus with. Wait for the type of person that will protect your purity and encourage you to seek Christ. So many want marriage so bad that they don’t take the time to evaluate themselves or the person they are with. God does not want us with anyone leading us away from Him. Love does not lead to sin. A Godly man/woman can commit to one person. Be careful of those wasting your time with their games. Do not say “I do” to someone who hasn’t said “I do” to Jesus. Committing to someone that doesn’t love God is only setting you up for a dead end relationship. If the two of you even last, you’ll still find yourself far away from God and that wasn’t your intention.
Are you getting yourself prepared for marriage, or do you just want a honeymoon, a ring and sex? Be careful of doing right things with wrong motives. Paul did say it’s better to marry than to burn with lust/passion (1 Corinthians 7:9), but keep this in mind: if sex is the only reason you are going into marriage, you’re not ready for it. Of course no one will be perfect before marriage, but be careful of jumping into it and you’re not ready for such a great commitment. It should be until “death do you part”, not until “looks fade and you run out of money”. Remember that it’s a lifetime commitment you are preparing for so do not rush into something you can’t handle. Guys, if you don’t want to commit then leave the girl alone. Stop trying to see how many hearts you can break before “settling down”. And vice versa, because some women string men along and try to get attention from him, but won’t give him the commitment that he desires. Divorce is only common because we are seeking guilt-free sex, a wedding celebration, someone to control and manipulate rather than a best-friend we can honor Christ and grow with.
Think about it, your heart is too valuable to just jump into marriage and you weren’t prepared for it. Rushing will lead our vulnerable hearts into sin, brokenness and wasted time. Choose today to be patient, wait on God to lead you and not our emotions that can easily change. His timing is perfect.
Grace and peace,
Tovares Grey

My Friends Don't Understand my Walk with God

Living for God is such an amazing experience that we get to enjoy daily. He changes our lives from the inside out and delivers us from many things that used to keep our hearts in bondage. Unfortunately, our “friends” don’t always see it that way. What makes it even worse is when our “Christian” friends don’t support us. I can understand a nonbeliever questioning my desire to pray or fast, but not a Christian. I can understand an atheist saying negative things about my attempt at a disciplined life, but not someone in the “church”.
“Bro, you are doing way too much!”
“Girl, chill. Stop acting overly spiritual.”
“Don’t be so ‘heavenly minded’ that you’re no earthly good.”
“I get that you say you want to do right, but all of those things are just leading to legalism or a self-righteous approach of earning God’s love.”
I have heard these things said to me and to others before; but what if I told you that your friend was doing you more harm than good by saying those things? What if they want to help you, but their “good advice” is not “God advice?” What if God is actually calling you into a deeper place of intimacy, but you will never experience it because of your company?
Anyone that makes you feel bad for being passionate about living for God is a distraction from the enemy. It is best to keep a healthy distance and pray for them, instead of having them keep you comfortable in a stagnant walk with God. I am not advocating for foolish or weird behavior, because God will use friends to explain the scriptures to us and tell us when we are viewing things wrong. I am saying that there should be no one in your inner circle that doesn’t want to see you grow into who God is calling you to be.
Let’s look at 3 major things every believer should do when their friends don’t support their walk with God:
1. Examine your friends.
I’m just going to make this plain, everyone isn’t meant to be your close friend. Jesus is our example of how to love and treat others, and even Jesus had an inner circle. Jesus preached to masses, did life with 12 disciples, and yet He only called Peter, James and John for certain situations. Did he love them more than the others? No, not at all, but He had a different purpose for them and possibly a deeper level of intimacy with them.
If your friends stop you from growing, then you two must address it or slowly drift apart. If your friends are struggling with the same issues as you, then accountability is hard. Instead of having the wisdom to help you out of it or the boldness to rebuke you in love, they will give you a pass (because they are struggling).
So again, check if your friends are growing and keeping you accountable. If they aren’t, they should not be in your inner circle.

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, WITH THEM that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)


2. Challenge your friends!
This is something many never do because of fear, but why be afraid if the person wants to be in your life? Jesus had a rich, young ruler coming to him that seemed to have it all together. Jesus gave him one command, to sell his possessions and give it to the poor. However, the guy didn’t do it, and he went away sorrowful. What I find interesting about this is that Jesus never chased behind him. Too many of us are running behind people that God is not sending to us. If they aren’t willing to meet certain standards or to make any sacrifices, they aren’t willing to be in your life. If you are only valuable to them when it is convenient for them, that is not the will of God for your circle. Stop thinking you can’t push your friends to grow with you. If you aren’t doing so, you aren’t a good enough friend to them.
If I cannot tell you that you’re living beneath your purpose, I don’t love you. I should be able to genuinely say “get it together, you’re better than that” without it being taken as judgment. If you don’t have friends that do that, challenge them to challenge you. Pray for God to send people who will push you!

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:6)


3. Be willing to find friends that don’t look or think like you.
This may sound simple, but this is one of the hardest tasks for a person. We will always naturally gravitate to those who look or think like us. It doesn’t matter if it’s politics or sports; we will feel more at ease when the person we are conversing with has things in common with us. Like for me, I have a few friends that act just like me. We can laugh and joke literally all day. The problem with that though is they will have my same issues so they may not pull me out of my spiritual valley. It wasn’t until recently when I started making friends with people who are of different races, denominations, financial status, various cultures, etc. that I hadn’t seen some things with a clear perspective. That’s like me being a guy with a Jamaican background and not going out to eat a lot when I was younger. So now when my wife and I want to go out or friends invite us out to eat, I don’t even know what to pick. Not because I’m super picky, I’m just not familiar with a lot and in need of someone to expose me to it.
How much is God trying to show you, but you aren’t able to see because it looks unfamiliar? How many people has God sent your way to push you into purpose, but you ignored them for being too “churchy”, “different” or too “weird”? Jesus gave Ananias clear instructions on what to do in Paul’s conversion. However, he knew how Paul used to persecute the church. God had to take him out of his comfort zone in order for Paul to be delivered, because he was possibly afraid of the things Paul would do to him. People may not be used to you or you with them, but you need others in order for you to be who God called you to be.

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. (Acts 9:15 ESV)

Your environment will play a major role in determining your destiny. God wants to bless your life and it requires the right people on your team and the wrong people can delay that calling. Not only can they delay purpose, but bad company will corrupt good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Grace and peace,
Tovares Grey