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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Results Not Typical

I am enamored with stories of success. I love to hear how someone faced impossible adversity and overcame it. These stories are always encouraging, inspiring and, unfortunately, not typical.

Looking carefully at the bottom of my tv screen I see, "Results not typical . . ." as the victorious person tells of making money, losing weight, promoting an invention or curing their own back pain. Each of these people are promoting a product that does not typically produce the desired results, right? No, I don't think that is the real problem.

Often, people do not follow through with the plan. They assumed that going on the diet would take a whole lot less effort than they were willing to spend. They did not follow through until it brought the desired results. They assumed they would make money from the very first day of the investment plan and did not prepare for any setbacks. Thus, they didn't make the money they expected. They did not realize how hard it would be to exercise an hour each day and skipped or cheated at times.

Results not typical may mean that the product still worked but the users failed to work the product.

So, I am thinking about all those testimonies that I have heard in church. You know, the ones that tell of the joy being had with every day since coming to know Jesus. I thought, "Should we put a message on our screens (as the testimony is being told) saying, 'Results Not Typical'?" Too many Christians are living a joyless life.

Yet, what is the problem? Do Christians expect that they will avoid all troubles when they come to know Christ? Do they think that it will make them divorce-proof or financially fit forever? Do they think that everything is set without continuing to seek after Christ?

The problem for most Christians is that they fail to truly follow the Lord daily. They lose the joy of Christ because they do not walk in such an intimate way that they expect that the hardships they are experiencing to produce a greater joy. They do not expect, or in some cases want, to grow as believers in witness and faith. Thus, they walk as the world, riding the waves of their feelings as circumstances determine how they act and feel. They are elated on good days and down on bad.

So, many nonbelievers look at Jesus as a product that works infrequently. They decide that it is not a good buy because they are looking at all the believers who don't look any different than anyone else. It is like looking at an obese person who proclaims the success of the diet they have been on for years.

But Jesus Christ does transform believers who walk with Him. The problem is that so many do not "work the product."

Indeed, maybe we should say of our faith, "Results Not Typical."

Romans 8:29 (NIV) 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Philippians 3:12 (NIV) 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV) 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.


high-expressions said...

Apart from the title, this article, to me, is a very good write-up of the lack of follow-through of believers of their commitment to be in continual acknowledgment of Christ Jesus or God.

As to the title, "result not typical", it can mean extraordinary result or result not meeting common expectation. Well, in those bombastic advertisements, the former was what they were hinting at. On the other hand, when outsiders view the Christian faith via looking at us, believers, often, they come up with the latter - not meeting common expectation.

But of course, if one follows NOT, through the regime given for a product, like a dieting program or formula, he or she ends up with the latter - result not meeting common expectation. This means, of course, the fault is NOT with the product or formula or program, but with the user. And some observers of the user, too, can be faulted to conclude the same - that the result is NOT meeting expectation, when they lack enough knowledge and understanding of the product, and what it required the user, to do. And so, it is too, for some observers looking at the practitioners of the Christian faith; they are mistaken concerning the product, the Gospel, when they realize NOT the practitioners hiccupped on the application. Just as it is NOT easy to follow a dieting program, it is NOT easy too, to follow through with our commitment to be in continual acknowledgment of God. That is what you and I committed to, when we entered into salvation – CONTINUAL acknowledgment of God.

At times, it is NOT the product, but the advertisement or the promotion that is at fault; and sadly to say, it happens to the Gospel, too. For example, advertisements mislead people, some intentionally, too! For example, for an energy-booster food advertisement, the ad may go like this: A hunk is shown eating an “energy bar”, and the next moment, he is on the tennis courts, “flying around” in flying colours. It does NOT tell you, in fact, the intent was to made you forget about some truths, that time is needed for your body to break down the food, digest it, and take it into your blood stream, and then to burn up the “dissolved” food to get energy for the muscles to work the “flying around”. So, if you are gullible, you believe that all it takes is to grab a bar of that, and hit the court, and you will play superbly. Again, I say, sadly, we also find such, for the case of the Gospel; and so, we have promoters (preachers) who hold out such thing as all you need to do, is just do a one-time acknowledgment of Jesus (enter into salvation), and you are set for life!

Sure, you marry him, and he is legally your husband, but do you actually treat him as your husband? If you think there is a legal status or standing, he is your husband, everything else you don’t care, that relationship is NOT going to work. Ours, with God, is also a relationship; likewise, do you think we can just bank on standing, and ignore everything else? I like to say that we should NOT be surprised that God applies the “test of the pudding is in the eating”. You are a pudding, but if you taste awful, you will be spilled out. Is there no such thing in Scripture; I, making up thing? No, Scripture did say such thing, if you are lukewarm, God will spill you out of His mouth.

Sad to say, many proclaim that they are the ambassadors of Christ or the Gospel, but in actual fact, they are no different from the “must sell” salesmen, we commonly come in contact with, or whose product advertisements, we commonly see on TV, loaded with intent for you to “forget” or overlook some important truths.


high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

The hallmark of a believer is NOT basking in grace, as what many promoters are nowadays, telling people; one of the hallmarks of a believer is perseverance in the faith, staying in the relationship through “thick and thin”, be of overcoming mentality, of trusting in the holiness of God, of faith in the awesomeness of God, of resting in the love of God, and of relying on the faithfulness of God. If you are an ambassador of Christ, give your audience the full-works; and NOT simply, compress time, omit all the nitty-gritty of overcoming, and just tell how good and good, the result.

An honest seller of a dieting program will tell his/her audience that you have to be patient, you got to give it time, you got to stick to it for a time, you got to observe certain don’ts even as you do, like you cannot stay on this formula, and at the same time, go on heavy suppers before you sleep. Oh, before I forget, he/she will tell you to read the accompanying booklet to familarise yourselves with the regime. Many promoters of the Gospel are incredible - they hold out the Bible like it is of 3 pages; page 1 reads, “It is all about God”; page 2, “God has done everything”, and page 3, “It is finished. There is nothing for you to do. The end.” What about the rest? “What the rest – they are NOT talking about you; they are talking to the non-believers, NOT you; you are a believer!”, that how they would retort.

“C.H.R.I.S.T.I.A.N.I.T.Y. is a good “label”. Now it got even better; Christianity 101 – I am saved; NOT my problem, it is His problem; I just bask in grace.”” “You don’t know-meh, they are mega on the internet. Now, you don’t even have to go to church, no need of “do this, and do that, better still, no “don’t do this, and don’t do that”; it is so cool, they tell you, JUST TELL THE DEVIL OFF - THAT YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS.” “Wah-bang! You are NOT internet-savvy to cruise over to their broadcasts, come, I bring you to one of these mega-churches, that reads, “NEW this and NEW that”. “No-lah, not that “Old this and Old that”, that is so old fashion; no, this one-lah - at Bogus Vintage, where the building is so futuristic, and costing more than ½ a billion dollars to the church, you-know. How can the pastor be wrong? So many followers, you-know; ½ a billion dollars, you-know. Can you beat that; surely the pastor who is so full of charisma must be right! No matter what others say, “I just love him””. Be careful, now; it is here; NOT just in the promotion of your slimming products. It is in the Church! Talking about sales pitch!

Indeed, it is we need to persevere; read the manual called Bible, and “work the product”.


high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

For me, Romans 8:29 reads like this: For those God gave re-birth (born-again), he also had in mind (wished, desired) that they be transformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ, His Son, that He, Jesus Christ might be the firstborn among many believers. What is it saying? It is saying we are to be growing, and growing, and growing in the likeness of Christ. Is it God is supposed to be growing, and growing? No, it is we. Do you think you just sit there and bask in grace, you will grow to be like Christ? Is that how Jesus lived His life on earth? Do NOT believe those false ambassadors of Christ’s sales pitch!

Phil 3:12, for me, it reads like this: I have NOT arrived, and I have NOT got everything right, but I will continue to try, to work on it, the works Jesus wants me to do, until my last breath. What is it saying? We got to be working on it all our life; we have committed to continual acknowledgment of Christ; and so, we have to continue to grow, and grow into the likeness of Christ. God did NOT change you into another Christ, Jesus (When God sees you, God sees you, with all your goodness and flaws; NOT Jesus! Those who tell you all God sees is Jesus are WRONG). God only expect you to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. And so, absolute perfection is NOT the achievable end-goal in our earthly life; but the journey of increasing likeness is expected of us; we have to press on. In other words, to persevere, and to overcome.

Finally, for me, 1 Pet 1:6-7 reads like this: For and in this plan of God for me, I greatly rejoice, for, although for a little while (well, tens of years of earthly life is just a little while, compared to eternity thereafter), I will suffer and have to persevere and overcome trials of all sorts, I will enter into, and share, in the glory of Christ Jesus, after I pass on; because all of these trials, when I have passed through them with the right mindset and attitude (including persevering and overcoming), my commitment to continually acknowledge God may be proved genuine. What is it saying? It is saying we ought to thank God, and rejoice for our inclusion in that plan of His. Not only that, we continue to rejoice as we walk in that plan of God of having us to grow in likeness of His Son, for we know we have a living hope that at the end of it, when our faith has been proved genuine, we get to share in the glory of Christ Jesus when Jesus is revealed, once more.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions