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Thursday, August 11, 2011

All Talk; No Walk

A car passes by with a Christian symbol on the back. It is severly exceeding the speed limit. Some churches have business meetings in which members call each other names. People send emails bashing the president and others along with ones proclaiming that Jesus is Lord. "Faithful" members of a church are seeking to oust their pastor.

My problem is that these people do not know that their walk doesn't match their talk. They don't know that they are hurting their witness and the Lord. (Originially I wrote "their" Lord but I realized that wasn't true.) They don't know that they have been used as an instrument of the devil. They think they have the right to do whatever they please even though they claim to be Christians.

On Wednesday nights I do a Bible study. I started in Genesis in April of 2005. We were in 2 Chronicles 7 last night. There is the famous verse that I have preached so many times:" If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I wll hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." I told those attending that this is what I call the "almost verse in the Bible. We make a mental assent to the validity of the verse. We know that God will heal our land if we would simply do so but we are unwilling to go the full distance in order to accomplish it. We are only humble on the surface. We only pray as long as we believe others are watching. We seek what is in God's hands rather than His face. We mostly turn from our wickedness. In fact, we can't even see our wickedness because that would mean that we had fully humbled ourselves, fully prayed and fully sought His face. We "almost" do what this verse says. Of course, "almost" means that we never did.

The disconnect Christians have between our faith and our actions is the reason that we are having such a small impact on our areas of influence. Our own families have rejected our faith because they couldn't really see it lived in the home. They saw it as a show rather than a belief because we acted the part as long as others were watching. We say the right words but we don't back them up with a character that looks like Jesus.

The fact that we will never reach perfection has become a great excuse for continuing in sin rather than eliminating it. It is like never really cleaning your house because you know that you can't get it perfectly clean. You simply hide the dirt when others come over.

Are we dismayed by our condition? I think not. We seem to be satisfied with being better than others rather than totally committed to our Lord. We want to look down on others, criticize them, shake our heads and say that we wish they were like us. We pat ourselves on our backs and believe the Lord is lucky to have us.

Now, honestly, I wish I could say that I know that I am fully committed to my Lord. The truth is that I am not sure. I have made commitments which I believed to be real in the past and forgot about them. What will I do? I will commit again. I pray it sticks this time.

James 2:18 (NIV) 18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

Guilty, guilty, guilty; I am guilty; he is also guilty and she, too, what then? Give up? Don't compare with the more worse ones! Compare with the better ones? Are we sure they are better? Only the person's spirit knows the person, and the Holy Spirit (knows); you and I, we do NOT really know! So, how to compare? Don't compare with one another. Rather, know that God has expectations on people, different ones for different believers, and different ones for different times; and we are NOT yet perfect; we are to walk a journey of improvements, without anxiety and without fear, but with godliness with contentment, knowing that God is faithful to forgive us when we confess (that includes repentance) when we have erred, always bearing in mind that: THAT we are princes, we are to think like a prince, behave like a prince, and act like a prince. A prince is truly a prince when he lives out his life as a prince, in accordance to the Word. The way to avoid being instrument of the Devil is to gauge our conduct against what the Word says; even in matter of judgment, the Bible has a lot to say. What is our yardstick of measurement in life? Is it NOT the Word?

Judging another's ministry should be avoided unless necessary. Weighing out teachings to see if they are right or wrong, we are exhorted to do. A forgiving stance we are to adopt. Discernment and sound judgment are highly exhorted. The Word is the yardstick, in addition, the Apostle James said we should ask God for wisdom, and He will give without discriminating.

The greater the responsibility to judge, the greater the need to have been properly grounded in the Word of God, and a close walk with God. God watches us as we take each judgment in life (Sorry, I do NOT believe one can go about life without judging at all). As a comfort for those misjudged by others, God saw that too, and may you remember that if you love God, are called according to His purposes, God will work good out of the situation where you have been misjudged (Rom 8:28).

"Almost" is NOT necessarily that bad in ALL situations; it is NOT perfect, but in certain context, it is still worthy of praise. Yes, it is still short, and should NOT be used as an excuse, but if 100% is expected on one, ALL the time, he may buckled under pressure, and give up, and decide to live a defeated life. It will only encourage such believers to swing over the “overly grace” camp which tells believers that they are PERFECT, ALL their sins or transgression including FUTURE ones had already been forgiven, nothing they do (sin) matters; no confession needed, for there cannot be unrighteousness in them (PURPORTEDLY). Correct handling of guilty pronouncement is important, and there is a place for godly sorrow, and there is definitely a time to tell a person that he has done wrong (sin), but we do NOT need to take the place of God and demand zero sin or wrongdoing on an individual. Just imagine, if you were tempted 100x in speaking the truth, and you lied 10% of the time, and you are told, you almost made it, but you never did (tell the truth). The next time, you lied only 5% of the 100x, and you are told the same, "you never did" (tell the truth). Then a 3rd time, you lied only 2% of 100x, and you are again greeted with "you never did". Yes, some will try harder, but some may just give up altogether. God may be working in the person; maybe a better thing to do, is to encourage him. I am NOT saying we condone sin, but we are to encourage brothers and sister to walk with increasing holiness, NOT to "defect" them, and of course, NOT to do like the overly grace preachers are doing, spin a lie, and say that it is alright, every subsequent sin is of no consequence since all sins have been forgiven of the person AT THE MOMENT OF HIS BORN AGAIN (purportedly)! Anthony Chia, high.expressions