The Individual Mandate
Mandate – an official order or commission to do something. Oh, how we love the ability to hide in a group of people. It is the mob mentality and you can see on the news just how powerful it can be at times. What drives the person who joins the mob and shouts their opinion into the din of noise caused by the mob? It is the safety of the mob or the supposed safety of the mob that makes our courage come to life. But is it really courage. I think not! Can you think of one person who went against popular opinion and established themselves as a voice? I can. Jesus Christ!!
In Deuteronomy 13:4 the Word of God says 4 Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. (NLT) . This single verse is a beckoning cry to each believer to stand and be a witness of the grace and truth of our Lord. That grace is accessible to all who come, but it is not the mob mentality that saves you. It is the individual faith that comes through a “personal” relationship with Jesus Christ. Sometimes churches can look like a “mob” but we really are not the church we should be when we digress to that lower form of religion. The church is made up of individuals who all have a personal faith in the Savior who made that faith accessible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our focus. Jesus is our Savior and Lord. It is all about JESUS! What is our part in all of this? The Apostle Paul said it well in Romans 12:1-3 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 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. 3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. We are given this “mandate” as individuals. We don’t hide behind others faith. We have our own faith and it is good if it is based on God’s Word.
So what are we to do? We are to live separate from the world. Or as scripture says “in the world, but not of it!”(John 17:16) There has been a change in our attitude about “the world” in the past few years that seems to call us to live more like the world. Look at what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about their actions that led to his writing this letter. In 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 Paul writes 14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. These verses lend themselves toward marriage, but to also not have a marriage with the world. There is an individual mandate, a commissioning to each of us as believers to live for Christ and not the world. In fact, we are called to tell the world about Christ. Not tell Christians about the world!! We need to be a people who stand out by the way we live, the way we love, and the way we proclaim the Name of Jesus. I believe we have so much of the world in our living now that we cannot distinguish between the two. That is why politics has entered the mission of the church and ruined it. That is why selfishness has replaced selflessness and corrupted giving. That is why the gospel is not being shared by believers who have been individually mandated, or commissioned to share it. We need to stem the tide and go the other way. You may ask how?
Step out from among the crowd or mob and have an individual life ministry that is built on the Word of God. Actually get to know why you believe what you believe and live it. 1 Peter 1:16 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.
Live your convictions and be ready to tell others why you are living those convictions based on the Word of God. 1 Peter 3:1515 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.
Ask God to be your strength and hold to your convictions. Isaiah 40:31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. We have a mandate from Jesus Christ and we need to commit to following that mandate to the fullest. No compromises!
The Pilgrimage continues…..