2000-04-28 - How Do We Look?
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 - Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
It is hard and getting harder these days to tell the Christians from the non-Christians. We dress like them, we wear the same jewelry, we frequent bars, we watch the same stuff on TV, we hoard things, and we whine about circumstances. The list goes on and on and on and on and...
So much of "Christianity" these days is based on self-esteem and feelings. There is no mention of either in our plumb line, God's word. He has set standards for us to be holy, even as He is holy. We do have grace and mercy, but we prove our love for Him by our obedience to Him. Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments."
There it is. Paul tells us a good way to make sure that our testimony for God is true. Abstain from all appearance of evil. When I was a "baby" Christian, I used to say, "Who do they think they are, judging me?!? I can do/wear/say/go whatever and wherever I want! After all, I have freedom in Christ!" I just hadn't read the Bible yet.
If it looks/sounds wrong, or is questionable, there is a possibility that is wrong. There is an even greater possibility that someone who was on the verge of meeting my Father would change their mind because I am no different than them. Their choice is their responsibility, but we are also told not to put a stumbling block in front of someone.
Ask yourself, "Am I different?" Jesus was beaten, spit on, had his beard ripped out of his face, was whipped, slapped, punched, mocked and finally crucified -- to redeem for Himself a peculiar people, created unto good works. Do people know just by looking, that you are different?
He died because we are sinners, He arose because He was God. Does He live in you? If so, you have all the power you need to be conformed into His image.
What does your fruit reveal?
Father, we get so caught up in the "God loves you" idea, that we forget that You are not willing that any should perish (to be separated from You forever in that horrible place of torment,) but that all should come to repentance. A changing of our ways. Turning from our wills to obeying Your will. Lord, we all like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, everyone, to our own way. You laid the iniquity of us all on Your precious Son. Then, because You hate sin so much, You turned Your back on Him. He faced the awfulness of separation from You so that we don't have to. And yet, we are selfish. We want His salvation without any effort on our part. Forgive us, Father. Forgive me for my selfish heart. Forgive my desire to follow my heart, my deceitful wicked heart. Thank You for giving me Your Word, the Bible. I know that I can trust You to lead me into the path that You have created just for me. Thank You … Help me to abstain from evil, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil. In Jesus' precious name, Amen.