Orange jumpsuit christians.

Orange jumpsuit christians.

(Well maybe someday Christianity)

Have you ever felt like you have a desire for yourself, but you don’t see how you can ever get there? Maybe a call to do something but it seems so incredibly out of reach. Or you see the spiritual blessing in someone else’s life and the way they live and you don’t feel like you measure up? You want to be that close to God, that knowledgeable about the bible, that faith filled, but you’re not. You want to be reaching out to people, but you don’t. You want to be talking to strangers about God, but you rarely do.

I remember when I was probably 11 years old all the way up until maybe 17, looking at my dad and my grandpa and thinking, “they’re so passionate about God, and they have courage to live for God when most people don’t.” Then I remember thinking, “I want to be that way someday, but I don’t know how to get that way…..” “Well maybe someday I’ll be like that.”

We need to get away from that mindset. Today is the day we make a change and start really heading in the right direction. It’s all about taking action.

When I look at some of my favorite big name preachers, like Levi lusko, Greg Laurie, Skip heitzig, Carl Lentz, Steven Furtick, or Louie Giglio, it’s so easy to feel inadequate, or like I’m falling short. Like I’m failing God. But what we need to realize, and take to heart, is the spiritual walk of my favorite pastors, the walk of my parents, the walk of my friends, doesn’t dictate MY walk with God in any way. everyone else’s walk is THEIR walk. And to get to a place where you are truly close to God, truly serving him, and faith filled, takes a decision for yourself to stop comparing, or making excuses and realize. It’s completely between you and God. And that goes for stepping out in faith to a new territory in your christian walk as well. It seems so incredibly simple and it is. But we all do this. The only one we should be seriously comparing our lives to at all is Jesus Christ. And not in a “do I measure up” way, but in a “how can I be more like him.” Kind of way.

This isn’t necessarily going to be all about sharing our faith, and how to to go about that. This is mainly going to be an exam of ourselves. And to be an encouragement. To find out and take note of where we’re at, and the importance of our own personal walk with God. And kick it up a notch. Or just turn it on in the first place.

Let’s pray before we get further into this, because this is either going to be super encouraging, or super eye opening depending on where you’re at. Pray for an open and receptive heart. And for Gods will to be done.

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“Main verse”

1 Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. 3 They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. 4 You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. 5 Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! 6 Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. 7 As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! 8 I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me! (Psalms 119:1-8 NLT)

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1. Sincere christians are serving and seeking.

Our main verse this week will either be convicting, or encouraging for us.

Integrity to me, means sincerely walking with God. Not just on Sunday. It means we truly care and seek God every day. And he’s our #1 priority. It’s a blessing to have integrity and no matter where you’re at in life, everyone looks up to those with integrity. God uses those kinds of people. Now that doesn’t mean we’re all preachers or evangelists, so don’t get that misunderstood, it just means that no matter what you do, Gods desire for your life sifts through all of your plans and actions before you act on anything.

(Our highest priority at all times is obeying God, and searching for his will with our entire hearts.) Think about that. Don’t just breeze by that sentence. Judge your life by that sentence. Let’s go back and read it again slower. Do I obey God and search for his will in my life with my entire heart? Maybe most of the time we are. Or are we only “all in” when it’s easy to be in. I think this will either jumpstart some of us into a new way of life or encourage us to keep moving forward with our walk with God.

To have integrity means strong moral uprightness, and that means we don’t compromise. It’s so easy to compromise in our Christianity. To say, I’ll hang out with these people and talk dirty like them. Or to watch things we shouldn’t watch on TV even though we know the content doesn’t put anything God honoring in our heads. To put our own wants for our life before asking God and seeking his will first. Or for most all of us, feeling lead to do something, but passing it by. That’s compromise too. Saying, “I feel lead to speak to this person, or invite them to church. To pay for this persons meal. To pray with this person. But we compromise and decide to stay comfortable rather then step out in faith.

We don’t want to only live our christian walk out when it’s comfortable. That’s what I call “Hot tub Christians.” And that covers a lot of people in this world. Sitting in the cozy warmth, nothing to lose. Just soaking in the sermons. But never applying it deeply. Breezing around life in our hot tub. And that’s not true integrity. Another word for integrity is sincerity. If we’re not obeying God and seeking him with all our heart, that’s not a sincere christian. It’s easy to think, “we’re going to heaven, so everything’s fine. I’ll just be cool.” But that’s a sad mediocre christian life. God offers so much more for those who are going to live with integrity and seek him with every fiber of themselves.

God rewards those of us who are willing to get out of the christian hot tub, and take a swim in the cold waters of the world to reach out to the lost now and again. To step out in faith and to be filled with integrity in our actions so others can see that were different. Integrity is a badge to identify us as “Jesus followers.” Will have joy because of our integrity and there’s peace that comes from serving and obeying God. Keep in mind that doesn’t mean we rub our morality in other people’s faces either, it means we lead by example and show people there’s a different way to live. And we show grace and mercy like Christ gives to us.

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“Main verse”

1 Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. 3 They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. 4 You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. 5 Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! 6 Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. 7 As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! 8 I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me! (Psalms 119:1-8 NLT)

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2. Sincere christians reflect Jesus not the world.

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

Ephesians 5:15-17

Have you ever thought about what it’s really like to not mirror Jesus in the world? To try to fit in rather than shine bright for Jesus. like a mirror reflects the sun. We want to be a mirror that reflects the son. That’s a cheesy pun, but I like it. But really. Think about it. You have a freedom and a hope. And when we’re in the world, so often, we try to blend in. Or keep quiet. Let me give an example of what that’s like.

Imagine you are invited by the president to go to a huge prison that’s full of people. You get access to every room, every cell, and all the security rooms, you have all the keys, and you have been given the incredible honor of an unlimited supply of pardons of forgiveness from the president. And the president says. “Give these out to anyone who’s truly sorry for what they’ve done that got them into that prison. And I’ll give them freedom.” When the president first tells you of this role you get to play for him, you’re excited. But when you get to the prison, and you see hundreds of people locked in, all in orange jumpsuits, you start to feel out of place. You’re in your normal clothes, and everyone notices you’re not in orange like them. You’re different. As you’re seeing all the unhappy faces, you feel uncomfortable. Everyone’s talking about being trapped in this place. And they’re angry about it. So instead of telling everyone about the pardons you have, you ask a guard if you can have an orange jumpsuit too. And you start to walk around looking like them. Then you begin to talk with the inmates and you don’t say a word about the pardons or that you have a friendship with the president at all. Or that you’re actually free from the prison.

That’s exactly what it’s like to not reflect Jesus into the world. We’re denying people the opportunity to be free. Jesus was on the hunt for hurt, broken, and lost people everywhere he went. We want to reflect his commands because our actions are the beacon that initially get people to look to us for answers and help. When they see us living different then the world and they start to wonder why were joyful and were not being imprisoned by the emptiness that the world brings. That’s special. We need to be careful how we live and take advantage of every opportunity to be an example and reflect Jesus. So often we try to blend in, and live like the world. We feel awkward because we’re different. So we act like everyone else for a while. But afterward we feel ashamed of ourselves because we know we shouldn’t have acted the way we did. Or spoke the things we did. Not to mention that our actions without integrity mess up our testimony. That’s why it’s so foolish and unwise like the bible says.

I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone a lot more often, and really intending to be a mirror for the son. And it’s amazing to see God work in my life, and open doors because I have the heart to step out of the hot tub. The blessings it brings and the feeling of joy to know I’m truly glorifying my savior and bringing more praise to his name is so special. It’s addicting and That’s what we’re all called to do when it comes to our walks with God. I’m not perfect by any means. And I fail all the time. But my heart is where it needs to be, and I’m living with integrity. That’s all God wants. Our hearts to be in the right place so he can use us. I have new opportunities everyday to live for the one who died for me. And I’m going to take them. I will be a sincere christian not a hot tub christian. And I hope that you desire that for your life as well.

Let me give an example of actively seeking to reflect God and how it blessed me.

I had been working at a store and there wasn’t much to be done there. So I called my boss and told him I was going to go to a different store to work. I was planning to meet my friend Kyle where he was working, and just work with him for the last part of the day. But before I could say where I was planning on going, my boss tells me a different store to go to, and tells me he has a newer guy there by himself. And I just went with it and said ok even though it wasn’t my desire at first. So I go to this other store, and I just had it in my mind, “I’m going to reach out to this guy.” So anyways I met this new guy Gary at the next job. He was building bikes already and I had never worked with him before or heard of him. So I started to make conversation with him and I wanted to maybe share God with him, or just be an example and show that I’m a christian somehow. He was kind of a quiet guy and wasn’t saying to much other then work related questions. So I started to ask about his life to get the ball rolling. So he starts to talk with me about his life after I had been asking him things and he tells me about his family. Then a little about how he got the job, and then how he had just moved to AZ because he felt called by God to come here. After he said that, I was kinda shocked. Wasn’t what I was expecting to hear. So I asked him about that and found out he’s a believer too, a strong believer actually, and he just came from serving in ministry in Oklahoma. He told me about how he came to Christ and his story and it was amazing, and it was so incredibly close to the things I’m going through in my own life, but a future version of me. (he was older then me, by maybe 7 years.) so we talk all about God, and I share what I feel I’m being called to and he encouraged me in it, and told me from his own experiences what happened in his life while going through very similar situations and life changes. It was 100% Gods will that we meet and talk. So, at the end of the day we had prayer together in the middle of an aisle in the back of the Walmart and it was powerful. It was a blessing to both of us and especially to me. And it would have never happened if I hadn’t stepped out in the beginning to get to know this guy with the intent of reaching him with my faith. My heart was where it needed to be, and God put me in contact with someone that would bless me tremendously and help bring some clarity. And he wants to do the same for you too. Whether it be sharing about God and what he’s done in your life with someone who’s not a Christian. Or like me, Maybe someone who will end up encouraging you tremendously that you would never have expected. And if you’re already walking right where you need to be, then be encouraged. God is working, and if things are a bit dry right now for you, keep striving because the blessings maybe unseen but God is pleased with you and he’s leading you. And you will see things soon. If you’re not where you need to be, then I encourage you to get your heart right. And reflect Jesus. Make some changes.

Orange jumpsuit christians.

Let’s do a mini exam together. Now when you really look into your heart, and at your life, have you been a true reflection of Jesus, or have you been wearing an orange jumpsuit. Or maybe you’ve been a bit of both and you just need to get re committed or need some encouragement. No matter where you are, God wants to use you, and he wants you to be close to him. If you are seeking him whole heartedly and you reflect his image and his actions into the world daily. GOD WILL OPEN DOORS. He will put you in contact with people he wants you to talk too, he will use you and it will be so powerful. He will bring you joy and protection. Don’t live as the hot tub christian. Your life will be truly blessed by stepping out and reflecting Jesus. Things will happen that you can’t even comprehend and it will be so powerful. And people will come to know him. Reflect Jesus, and you will have nothing to feel ashamed of. Or feel like you’re falling short of. Reflect him, and feel the peace and joy God made you to feel. God is working in big ways for those who are seeking to be a part of his work. Be encouraged that big things are happening and we all have the opportunity to be a huge part of it as long as we have integrity and continue to reflect our savior.

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“Main verse”

1 Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. 3 They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. 4 You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. 5 Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! 6 Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. 7 As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! 8 I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me! (Psalms 119:1-8 NLT)

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3. Faith in God is the base of sincere christians, and it shows thankfulness and trust to God.

“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.””

Matthew 28:20 NLT

We want to thank God and honor him. The way we do that is through our actions and our attitude. Our integrity like we said earlier brings us to a place of usefulness to God coupled with a heart that seeks his will above all else.

If we trust God and believe his promises then we will want to live for him. And he says that those who obey him and trust in him, he will be with even unto the end of the age. Just like we love our family and care about them, if they say “don’t do that to me.” Or “don’t talk like that towards me.” “Or I need you to do this for me.” Either because it upsets them or makes them angry, or they want help from us. We obey that because we care, and that shows love and respect. It shows that we’re thankful for them and value them. That’s exactly what God asks of us. But when it comes to God, he also calls us to act in faith for him and watch him provide.

Acting in faith is where Gods heavy blessings normally Come from. The big stories in the bible and the huge movements we hear about in people’s testimonies always come after acts of faith to God. That’s why it’s so important to get our hearts right, build integrity, reflect Jesus and then act in faith and trust to God.

I’ve had this bible story on my heart for a while and I believe God wants to use it for this lesson. It’s the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer.

Some backstory, the Israelite army was in a huge battle with the philistines and they were losing. The Israelites were retreating and hiding in caves, and Saul, Jonathan’s father had lost his blessing from God just before this battle, which is why they were losing really. But Jonathan supported david, (the next in line for the thrown that God had chosen.). Keep in mind, Jonathan and his armor bearer didn’t wait for someone else to do something. And they only had 1 sword between the both of them. But they stepped up and said, “perhaps God will bring us through.” (The key is where their hearts were at.)

Orange jumpsuit christians.

““Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the LORD will help us, for nothing can hinder the LORD. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” “Do what you think is best,” the armor bearer replied. “I’m with you completely, whatever you decide.” “All right then,” Jonathan told him. “We will cross over and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Stay where you are or we’ll kill you,’ then we will stop and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come on up and fight,’ then we will go up. That will be the LORD’s sign that he will help us defeat them.” When the Philistines saw them coming, they shouted, “Look! The Hebrews are crawling out of their holes!” Then the men from the outpost shouted to Jonathan, “Come on up here, and we’ll teach you a lesson!” “Come on, climb right behind me,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “for the LORD will help us defeat them!” So they climbed up using both hands and feet, and the Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor bearer killed those who came behind them. They killed some twenty men in all, and their bodies were scattered over about half an acre. Suddenly, panic broke out in the Philistine army, both in the camp and in the field, including even the outposts and raiding parties. And just then an earthquake struck, and everyone was terrified.”

Orange jumpsuit christians.

1 Samuel 14:6-15 NLT

This story is so cool! look how it starts, Jonathan trusts in God. His heart believes that God will help them if they step out in faith. This is 2 people. Verses 20 people at the outpost, and then an entire army after that. But they had faith that if God desired, they would prevail, so Jonathan’s faith and love for God produced action. And in that action, God did something amazing.

Jonathan didn’t wait to step up. He knew what God was capable of, and he had faith. So he acted on it. He talked with his armor bearer and told him what he believed. And then he produced actions based on that. So much of life now, is words with empty actions. I think of all the politicians running for president and all the things they say they will do. They have slogans like “make America great again.” And “A future to believe in.”

I’m so sick and tired of empty promises and talk of what people WILL do. I mean that In politics and in christian lives. Don’t just talk about it, be about it. If they want America to be great again, then start making it great now. Why do we have to wait. If you want a future that people can believe in, then start building it right now. If they believe what they say is true then why wouldn’t they act on it regardless of where they are. If I believe what I say I believe. Why am I not stepping out in faith, and producing actions now that God can use if he chooses to. We need to have faith and act on it. Not just talk about it. We need to be like Jonathan in that way.

Something that struck me is this.

When Jonathan and the armor bearer were climbing they had to use Both arms and both feet. They had to go all in, it was a hard climb, and they had to use every bit of themselves to do it. God wants every bit of you to act in faith too. It won’t be easy, it’s a hard climb to step out in faith. But he wants every bit of you to be filled with integrity and to reflect his image. And if we will do that, he will be with us even unto the end of the age!

Another takeaway from this story is this.

If you read back further before those verses, you see how the entire Israelite army is afraid and hiding. After Jonathan and the armor bearer act in faith the philistines panic. And after the earthquake it’s chaos for the philistines. God had acted already. But that’s when all of the rest of the Israelite army came out to fight. But what God spoke to me is that, even if everyone else is hiding, he will use the 1 or 2 that are willing and have the heart of faith. And he will accomplish mighty things with them. We can be a part of the many who stand by and don’t give our all, and let God use someone else. Or we can be like Jonathan and the armor bearer and Step out, and have the heart. Produce actions that speak to our faith, not just words. Show God we trust him and are thankful for what he’s done and act on what he’s called us too. We need to the be the ones that God uses to spark a revival and actually give the country a real “future to believe in” through the power of Jesus. And “make America great again” the only way it actually can be great again. Through Gods great love and grace. Let’s be filled with integrity and the reflection of Jesus. Be encouraged that God is moving! And he wants you to be an even bigger part of it. He doesn’t just want you to wait for someone else to get it going. He wants you to be a fire starter for him. He wants you to have integrity for him, and act differently. Reflect Jesus. Take off that orange jumpsuit and stop blending in with the rest of the prisoners of this world. And if you already are stepping out in faith, then be confident that God is with you! He will use you! Keep stepping out and producing action along with your faith and what you say. Because when you make it a point to step out each day. God is going to use you!

Orange jumpsuit christians.

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