For the Christian, Jesus is our light and our guide. He is revealed in the living word of God.
The Bible contains blessed instruction and spiritual nourishment for the thirsting, passionate disciple of God. It is when we stray in our application and obedience that we grow complacent, proud, frustrated, irritable, overwhelmed, depressed, and ultimately unfaithful.
The Good News of the Bible is not about us; rather, it is for us. We must rightfully be inclined to share and serve others (starting with those in our very household). We cannot maintain ourselves as the center of our universe. The Lord must be magnified. He is our comfort, our refuge, and our focus.
We needn’t be annihilated, but we’d better find our strength and our wisdom in the living word. When we don’t, it’s bound to all go terribly wrong. Here are just a few examples of how so. (If you see yourself in any of these profiles, acknowledge it, and flee from the ‘Christian ME.’)
The Legalistic Christian – These are the sin sniffers, the rule-makers and the finger-pointers. They are quick to cast the first stone. They are the Pharisees. They hide their own fragile insecurities behind an air of superiority. Jesus is their carnal shield and their license to wound, but He will never be their Savior.
The Mystical Christian – They are those who speak of lofty experience. They await the spirit to move them. They are waiting on a sign. They are on deck, but they never arrive; nor do they accept their own obligation and responsibility. They are so busy letting go, handing over the reigns, and waiting on the Lord for a directive that they’ve rendered themselves unfruitful. They have buried their talents and hidden their light under a bushel. They’re sitting in the sanctuary waiting for the call, but they’ve yet to take any faithful risks. They are not owning their faith, nor are they living it out. They are using God as a crutch because standing firm in living faith and obedience while confronting the tough circumstance would require too much devotion and accountability. It would require them to take what they know (and so undeservingly received) and take on the world. They are cowards for Christ. It’s easier to sit back and just let God do it. The inconvenient reality for them is that He already has, and now He expects them to go out and live it. They are to share the Good Word and glorify God for the redemption (and tragically, the condemnation) of sinners everywhere.
The Working Christian – They have a miraculous story to tell and live the rest of their lives living up to that one radical conversion experience. Their home is the workhouse. They are ultimately their own slave and their own master. Every sin is a bitter disappointment, while every act of faith is a greater confirmation. Life is a series of catastrophic missteps and fulfilled expectations; but in the end, they are merely going it alone. Their insecurities are woefully misplaced. Tragically, they dwell in a prison of their own design.
The Barely Christian – They are the Christian musician, the Christian publisher, the Christian builder, and the Christian plumber. Christ is their calling card and their marketing ploy. He is their key selling point. They are corporate and political Christians. They worship social justice, holy wars, and golden rules. They are pragmatic and peace-loving religious humanists. Their Christianity comes at no cost. It’s merely a no sacrifice required form of spirituality that they are living. Christianity is their cover. They are cultural Christians; but tragically instead of transforming the culture to Christ, they embrace all that the world has to offer them. They are globally conformed and compromised. They’re merely peddling a secular agenda. They market and sell Christianity – a cheap imitation thereof. They are Christian out of convenience; yet they are hardly so. They are shallow professors. They are mere pretenders tainting the faith. In the worst case, Christianity is the flag they wave to trigger, expand, and ignite a military industrial complex. Ultimately, their masks will come off; in fact, their true identity is already showing. In the end, they got nothing.
The Narcissistic Christian – They are the date setters. They’ve uncovered hidden revelation and have broken from the faithful denomination. They refuse to be taught; yet they hold the key to unlocked mysteries. They have the inside track. Those who’ve come before lack the illumination they bring. They are the Harold Campings, the Ellen G. Whites, and the Benny Hinns. They hold the faithful insight. They are anointed and self-appointed. The power of healing lies in their spiritually-gifted, supernaturally-charged hands. They are the religious charlatans. They have been designated by God to deliver a timely message. They have Jesus on speed dial. The current day reveals a hidden truth, and they’ve been sent by God to decode it. We are no longer wandering in the dark, but will they?
And so the traps and snares abound for those who forget where true life is found!
Again, we must flee such ME’s……..you know where to go!
Peace and loving service is to be had in the revealed word of God, the fellowship of believers, humble prayer, confession of sin, and participation in the holy sacraments of faith (i.e. the Lord’s Supper). May we be restored and sanctified by the living Word, and may the world be our mission field.
* My Thanks to Dr. Phillip Cary for the faithful insight and inspiration