Wednesday, November 07, 2007

This past weekend, Pastor Tito (from Peru) was teaching about our need as believers to live our lives for Christ and Him alone. He was explaining that in Latin America, Christians are watched very closely. If they live a life in contrast to what they say they believe, then the unbelievers call them out for it at humiliating times.

He went on to explain that they go so far as to keep lists of wrongs committed by believers, especially pastors. These lists are brought up at times when Christ is being shared with them. Part of his point was that evangelism in Latin America, needs not to focus on lording Christianity over unbelievers as if they are second class citizens, but to build relationships with them, and letting them see who we really are as believers. Imperfect people who follow hard after Jesus.

It is no different here, but often we try to make ourselves believe it is. We are not shy about doing things we know are not right, because we want to be accepted by our peer groups. We want to be seen as "cool," and do not even think about how our choices will impact our testimony.

I am not suggesting we become legalistic in our approach to our faith, but that we simply stop to think about how our chosen actions may be interpreted by an unbelieving audience. Are we following Christs example by how we live our lives?

Recently, a young lady that I know is a believer, posted pictures of herself on the internet from a Halloween party. This is generally an opportune time to dress up in costume regalia, and to be somebody you are not for an evening. This can be a great deal of fun.

I have noticed, however, that many believers use this time to dress in ways that are generally inappropriate. Maybe a better way to put it is that they dress in ways that if they were standing in Christs presence they probably would not choose to dress.

Considering whether or not what we are doing would be pleasing to Christ is a good barometer for decision making.

It's a bit startling then to stop and evaluate the fact that if we are believers, His Holy Spirit dwells in us and we take Him wherever we go. How then do we justify our decisions to overtly choose to do things that would not be pleasing to Him?

The enemy has us believing the lie that it is okay to justify anything as long as we don't mean any harm.

Those who don't believe aren't looking at our intentions. They are looking for the Truth in what we do and say. If we don't show them this by how we live, then who are we a better witness for, Christ or the enemy?

In her pictures posted on the web, this young lady displays herself in provocative clothing. While I'm certain she would consider most of her pictures to be harmless and fun, she has included at least one that is nearly pornographic.

This same young lady, leads worship on Sunday.

Many would say I am being "Pharisaical." Others, that I am "casting the first stone."

Perhaps I am.

While I know that I am far from perfect, and that I make mistakes and some of them are on display for many to see, I believe that the Lord's heart breaks when we as a body behave in this way, believing it to not be hurting anyone.

Somehow, some way, we must begin to hold one another accountable for our actions. It does not have to be in condemnation. It should be in love.

At any rate, we must stop justifying sinful actions because those Christ wants to draw to Himself are watching.

While it is impossible to be perfect, it is possible to strive for a life lived as the Bible teaches.

I truly hope you understand my point, today.



At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an awesome expression today Brent! I fear too many times Christians hide behind the cloak of imperfectness. Agreed, we are all imperfect and fall short of the glory of God. We have all heard that statement thousands of times. I feel many times, Christians use this as an excuse for their ill decisions. This is not an excuse to sin people!! We must change our hearts!

So true, onlookers do not see our intentions, they witness our actions. And right or wrong, they are judging us (I have a sermon for this one too!!). This is exactly what I love about this blog. It forces talk, thought and hopefully motivation in its readers.

Thank you for being faithful to the cause!

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are indeed to hold each other accountable as Christian brothers and sisters. I think we get into the most trouble when we try to hold non-Christians to Christ's standards.

It isn't that we don't want them to live up to them or that they aren't worth everyone doing so, it is that they don't see things as we do until they allow the Holy Spirit to open their spiritual eyes so that they know with their heart that what they are doing is wrong (they often already sense it with their head - at least I hope they do).


At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My pastor puts is very simply...

Love them where they are at.

Through Christ's love they will change. We forget it is not our mission to change people. We are to be examples and to spread the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will change their hearts.


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