I happened upon some information the other day while looking up some books for a friend. Information that shed quite a dark shadow on an actress who had been quite vocal about her faith in Jesus Christ some years back. She had faded from the limelight awhile ago and I never thought too much of it. After all, if I was famous, I’d want to melt into the background too. Unfortunately, what I found out is that the happenings of her life since that time have been a sorry, selfish mess–which basically negates the good things she wrote and spoke so long ago.
It made me realize, anew, how incredibly important a self-sacrificing and holy life lived for Jesus truly is as a believer. We can say all the right words, speak in front of thousands, or write a Christian best-seller but if our lives do not match our words we have done great damage. This actress, and many more like her, are the reason why so many unbelievers cry “hypocrite!” It’s why so many aren’t attracted to Christianity.
Quite frankly, if I concentrated on the failures and downfall of these people, I wouldn’t be all that attracted myself.
And, once again, I realize that our lives are our greatest testimony. Our priorities, what we buy, who we hang out with, and what we do on the weekends tell people about us. The lives our kids lead — their priorities, their language, their respect for authority, and their entertainment choices also say something about us.
What is your life telling others about you?
We can tell others about Jesus all we want. But if it isn’t back up by a life lived for Him– a life dedicated not only to loving others but to holiness and purity–we may as well just keep our mouth shut.
As the church has changed over the last thirty years or so, we have swallowed a couple of insidious lies. Lies that have greatly affected our testimonies.
First, we have been sold the lie that the only thing that matters to God is love and acceptance and that He doesn’t care at all if we just keep on living in sin. If you believe that, I would suggest that you start reading your Bible. This is absolutely not scriptural. Here are a few verses that prove that this isn’t true–
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Luke 13:3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
I Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
The Bible teaches us that we are under the wrath of God until we repent and accept the amazing and incredible sacrifice of Jesus. If you have been taught a gospel without repentance, it is not the true gospel. Please, read the Bible for yourself to find out the truth. Don’t follow the modern day popular preachers and authors without discernment, for many are not preaching truth!
The second lie we’ve been sold is that victory in the Christian life isn’t possible. Yes, life is hard and happy endings are few, but I want you to know that if you do things God’s way and live a life of humility and obedience to Him and His Word, He is SO FAITHFUL. It is a hard and arduous way, full of difficult and painful choices. It is filled with postponing instant gratification for the hope of something better in the end. It is filled with going to the right, when the whole world–including the church– is going left. It is filled with anguish and questions and hard work.
But if you stick to it and follow it through, victory is possible! No, we won’t be perfect this side of heaven, but we should be getting more like Jesus every day. We should be experiencing transformation and sanctification. Don’t be sold the lie that victory is unattainable and that we must wallow in the scum of our brokenness and dysfunction forever. That’s just not true. We can break the chains of sin through the help of the Holy Spirit or Jesus died for nothing.
Why is it that when we start talking about righteousness and living a holy life that we hear cries of “legalism!”? I believe it is because so many people do not understand the genuine desire that fills the heart of the true believer. A believer’s heart doesn’t feel weighed down by a set of rules. Instead, the believer’s heart truly desires to do what’s right and spends much time at war with their worldly desires. We don’t choose to do the holy and pure thing because we have to. We do it because we want to.
Life is so confusing these days. People call themselves Christians who obviously aren’t. People who don’t call themselves Christians are often nicer than people who do. We hear pleasant messages in our ears that preachers claim are from God. Meanwhile, we see families and churches falling apart. Put on your armor, my dear friend, and stand strong in the power of His might in these perilous times (Ephesians 6:10).
And let’s pray for those in leadership. Satan would like nothing more than to render them ineffective. Let’s support and encourage and pray diligently for the godly men and women who are standing up for the Truth.