My husband has been in Uruguay for a little over a week. The necessity to relinquish our rental back to the owner was the main reason for the trip. He and several Uruguayans, and missionary friends sorted through all our belongings. Apparantly the black death (mold) consumed several things despite our valient efforts to protect against infiltration.
Mold and Mice are the Moth and Rust that God uses to remind me that things are just things. They hold a temporal value but will not be with me in heaven. There I will have the real people I have only met in photographs or read about in the Bible. There I will have my works done for Christ to cast down at His feet. Now those are some motivating thoughts. How wonderful Heaven WILL be!
I have never had an inordinate desire to keep up with the Jones. At least not in material things. That is not to say that I haven’t desired certain things…Guess Jeans…Mercedes Benz…a home to call my own. That was all in high school and very much motivated by peer pressure. Of course if God happened to drive a Benz up to the driveway in my name I definitely would get it insured.
What has encompassed my thinking is that people would be pleased with me. I have a natural God given desire to learn and achieve. When I realize I must over achieve to gain approval of a certain person, I will just about kill myself to make them happy. Sad, isn’t it?
God has shown me that my desire to please people, or have them think well of me, has been more important than pleasing God.
Thinking that being “perfect” on the outside is what pleased others, and therefore will please God started me down a path of pharasiacal Christianity.
We call it, legalism. Man’s moral law imposed upon others. I don’t do this particular thing because I believe it is wrong and so I don’t want anyone else doing it either. Romans 14 is a good Biblical illustration of judging a believer for the freedom they have in Christ, that you don’t have.
Judging someone’s heart based on how they follow our standards, not God’s, is a sure way to be fruitless. And bitter as the jealousy of their freedom over your restrictions takes root.
I may look great! Speak fluent Christian political correctness! Impress even the wisest of fruit inspectors. Here’s the catch, fake decorative fruit sitting on the dining room table is found out by simple touch. Who do I think I am fooling? Only myself!
Deciding if a person is a Christ like Christian based on human qualities will always be deceptive. Why? Because we ought to judge what is being produced. The fruit of the Spirit. (singular, all traits listed are the fruit). Galatians 5:22 and Ephesians 5:9.
If we aren’t holding ourselves against this plumbline of Scripture we are misled. We are majoring on the minors.
Read the list…does it say anything about attire, or hairstyles, facial hair, etc??? No, it is all essential character qualities. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.
Can these qualities be manifested outwardly? Absolutely. Tell me you have faith because people mock you for your standards I’ll want to know if you have faith enough to give your tax refund check away to world-wide missions, or give a tract to your cashier? Tell me you have love and I’ll want to know how sacrificial you are, what was the last thing you did that required you to die to your flesh for your “loved one”, for God?
Why? Because that is what I would as myself.
Legalism fails to reflect Christ to believers and unbelievers alike. There is little ministering of our Lord Jesus Christ to the hurting, and lost when we have a condescending attitude. There is a treasure trove of truth in James 2 on this one subject alone.
I will never forget sitting at the edge of the temple Mount in Jerusalem while our guide and Bible teacher knelt down in front of the ladies in our group and began quoting Jesus.Having the passage of the woman caught in adultery reinacted in the very place it happened was such a powerful thing. Tears came to my eyes as I recalled that Jesus had done the very same thing for me. While I was His enemy and literally shaking my fist in His face with every sin I committed…He loved me, sacrificially!
Those of us who tend toward the black and white will lean towards a judgemental stand against anything. No doubt I would have been a very efficient Pharisee.
Disappointment in believers for being human, pushes them away. Little grace is given to those learning to get back up after sinful falls, ourselves included. Rather than loving them to repentance, we become the hypocrites who keep them from church.
Amputated from the people who they need the most they are quickly drawn to anyone who will provide the sustenance needed to survive. By the time they realize their heart has grown cold towards their First Love it is has been infiltrated by putrifying sin.
Those who long to help them are afraid of the reproach of nearing one so unclean. We have our reputations to protect. It is as though the body of Christ is yelling out “unclean” towards the prodigal and those who dare to help do so at great personal risk…they too will be cast away. All the while Jesus’ loving arms are wrapped about them.
Oh, God, may we who see life only through our black and white perspectives realize the blood of Christ cleanses the sin of all who believe on His name…not in our traditions or interpretations.