There are many times when I’ve been in a quandary because I know so many people who seem to be ‘good Christians.’ Their conversation is sprinkled with references to God and with bits of scripture. They often refer to their morning devotions and their study group and their lesson from this or that teaching outline. I don’t talk about my devotions with that kind of frequency. They talk about their church activities. their youth outreaches, their senior support groups and their (heaven help us!) Christian diet group. They are busy with missions and with the ‘ladies’ group’ or conversely, the ‘men’s group.’ They go on ‘retreats.’ They talk of having a ‘wonderful time in the Lord.’ I’m pretty much house bound and even when I got around better I never participated in ‘ladies’ groups’ or ‘retreats’ (the few ladies’ Bible studies I went to were shallow and devoid of the Holy Spirit so I didn’t continue) They testify of the blessing they received by hearing this “Christian rock” band play and how wonderful it was. They encourage me to listen to their favorite radio station because it is in tune with today’s modern youth in playing “Christian music” they can relate to. They invite people (and me) to this and that Christian concert or special service. I never attended a ‘Christian concert’ and I do see any thing of Christ in ‘Christian rock’. And I’m made to question just why the Spirit in me doesn’t bear witness with their spirit.
I’ve searched my heart many times to see just what was wrong with me. And quite frankly I have been accused of having a contrary spirit, a critical spirit and a hypocritical spirit because I didn’t go along with modern religious practices. It has hurt many times. I’ve never had any proclivity or urge to walk with them, but their negative feelings toward me have caused heartache. And in those times I guess I have done my share of questioning just how they could make such a big deal of being a Christian and not show one modicum of Christ in their lives.
Tonight, while I was brushing my teeth (I guess I’m different from a lot of people because thinking on the things of God isn’t relegated to certain times or positions. I think bout Bible verses and the things of God at all kinds of times throughout the day.) Anyway, tonight I was thinking about the question as to why they could sound like such godly people but not act like Christ. And quite suddenly the book opened up to me.
The key is that they like to talk about God; they like to talk about Jesus, they like to talk about the Bible, but they don’t like to participate in the reality of serving the God of the Bible and the Jesus of the Bible. This might be compared to how I can talk about Navajo religion. I know more about it that most people and I can explain a lot about it. I can say I believe the ceremonies are awe inspiring. I can say that the sand paintings the medicine men make are beautiful and wonderful. I can explain how they are incorporated into religious and healing ceremonies. I can talk about the hero twins and the first woman and other figures from the Navajo religion. I can talk about hand tremblers and Navajo seers. I can recount circumstances when the authenticity of the seer has been proven. I can say how beautiful the singing is and how moving it is to hear a Navajo song to the morning drifting across the desert when all else is silent. But when it comes down to trusting my eternal soul to the Navajo religion I am not a ‘true believer.’ I merely have a lot of information. I can talk about it without believing in it.
That is exactly the way many men and women are acquainted with God today. They merely have a knowledge of Him and the Bible; they don’t worship in spirit and in truth. Jesus said,“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:8-9. This very same thing is true today on every hand. What an exact description this is of men and women and young people today, 2000 years after Jesus spoke the words. So very, very many in society today are talking about God, but their hearts are far from Him.
That’s why I have so much trouble having a deep fellowship with them as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Because I am endeavoring to be like Christ and not just talk about Him, we have little in common and our fellowship is affected.
And that’s what the Lord showed me while I was brushing my teeth. Isn’t He some kind of God! It’s great!