His Without Reserve
Christian Life

Come Out. Come In

          For millions it’s out of the house and into the car; then out of the car and into the plant. For others the work-day routine is out of the apartment and onto the rapid transit; then out of the train and into an office building. Very few working folks enjoy the peace and solitude of out of the back door and into the wheat field.

          Our work lives are often a series of transitions from one environment to another day after day. These shifts from family to a multitude, from quiet to noise, or from a supportive “nest” to a whirlwind of competitive jostling tear at us with telling effect. But worse than that, they damage the very integrity of one’s spiritual center.

          Among the millions who rush from place to place day after day are Christians. They leave home committed to honoring God in all they think and do. They know that when they leave quietness with God to mingle with the ungodly, their loyalty will be strained. They leave their home-sanctuary and enter a spiritually suffocating society where the values of Christ’s kingdom are smothered by the demands for personal gain and success. Yet here is their mission, for Jesus commanded ,“Go into all the world.” Here lies danger. In this world-focused situation, they have to cling to Christ’s principles of thought and behavior as a drowning person clings to a timber. They must intentionally take the person of Christ and His core principles with them to share with grace.

          When the servants of Christ have to live this way, they must recognize the existence of two kingdoms, the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of heaven. As they transition from one environment to another, are they duped into migrating from one kingdom to the other as their social circumstances change? Are they releasing the protective arm clasp of Jesus in order to satisfy the bidding of adventure and curiosity? Are they likely to allow “friendship evangelism” to take them onto forbidden ground? Is the pressure of not wanting to be different going to link with their in-born carnal nature without their realizing it?”

          One of Scripture’s loudest warnings concerns society’s contamination of the inner sanctuary of the soul: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world–the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches–comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

          How many church-goers participate in both the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world? How many see no danger in toying with these opposing modes of life? Over the ceaseless clamor of invitations to compromise the King calls, “Come out. Come out”

          “Jesus calls us; o’er the tumult

          Of our life’s wild restless sea,

          Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,

          Saying, ‘Christian, follow me.’”

                   –Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander, “Jesus Calls Us.”

          In ancient times some descendants of Abraham became slaves. They cried to God for relief and He gave them relief. When the time was right He called: “Come out.” And come out they did under His mighty hand.

          After 40 years of wandering and murmuring about God’s ways, He stood at the border of the Promised Land and called, “Come in.” They did walk in with their bodies, but their hearts led them into the worship of strange gods. They came into the land, but they didn’t “come in” to Him who would purify them for Himself and make of them a great and obedient nation.

          Today Jesus calls because He wants us to become His special people, a people of His very own. Some of us do respond to His call. Considering all our Savior has to offer, we determine to become citizens of the kingdom of heaven. “Come out,” He calls. “Come in.” And we do. But like the Children of Israel we often allow our carnal nature, like a magnet, to pull us back toward the “it’s OK, it feels good” pleasures around us.

          Again we hear the call, now more urgent,“Come out from dead-end streets, set-backs, and frustrations. Come into My kingdom of peace, meaningful relationships, and assurance of eternal life. Come, my child. Come home.”

          “Out of unrest and arrogant pride,

                   Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;

          Into Thy blessed will to abide,

                   Jesus, I come to Thee.”

                   –William T. Sleeper, “Jesus, I Come,” Stanza 3.