Monday, April 9, 2012

Riding The Fence

Why do so many fake their relationship with Christ? Why is the church so full of hypocrites? Why do some people profess to be Christians but their lifestyles are the complete opposite of Christ's? Why do so many choose to ride the fence?

I've always wanted to know why so many people choose to say they are a follower but live like they aren't. Surely we all know some people who are like this. I've grown up in church and around Christian families, so I've known many of these kids. They act like a stereotypical Christian kid around the adults, but they show their real, shallow selves when the adults leave the room. But my question is, why try to live a double-life? To me, it seems like it'd be easier to live on one side of the fence or the other.

Honestly, I think the most common reason most people are fakers is because they don't really understand what Jesus did for them. I think they don't believe in Jesus or in God. They think that the Bible is a bunch of stuff people made up so some people could control the masses. Some people think, "Even if there is a God, He would never care about mankind. And even if He did care about humans, He wouldn't care about me." They scoff at the notion that you can have an intimate and personal relationship with God Almighty. And I know this for a fact. I know this because if they really believed in Jesus, in God, and in the Bible, their lives would be radically changed.

When you surrender your life to Christ, you change. You become a new person. The desires of the old you die off and you desire something entirely new: an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus. The Bible says that when you commit your life to Christ, you find spiritual life for the first time. When you give your life up to Christ, it's like you are killing off the old self, and putting on the new. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

So when you truly believe in the crucifixion and in Jesus and in God, you will be radically changed. You will be made new in Christ. You are a new creation; the old has passed away, the new has come! Your selfish, sinful nature has been killed, and you have been taken over by the righteous and purifying Spirit of God. So why are there so many fakers? The truth is that they don't believe in God. They don't believe because if they did, they would be changed, made new in Christ. But they are still under the power of the sinful nature. The Bible says, "... if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." The problem with fakers is that they do only half of this. They confess to be Christians and thus fool many. But the reality of their hearts shows that they do not truly believe.

So they remain lost, fake, blind. Even though they profess Christ, they don't know Him. They don't change because they are blinded by ignorance and disbelief. The apostle Paul is a great example. He had a very high position amongst the Jews. He had a lot of power and was considered to be spiritually superior because of his resume. In Philippians 3:4b-6, Paul says, "If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless." All these things made Paul very high up among the religious leaders. He had all of the genealogical requirements to be a leading religious leader, and he had an intense zeal and passion for the Jewish religion. He loved it so much that he killed the Christians for supposedly blaspheming the God of the Jews. His passion, commitment, and righteousness were extreme.

But the problem was that Paul was on the wrong side of the fight. The God he thought he was defending was actually on the Christians' side. The reality that Jesus showed to Paul (then named Saul) on the road to Damascus was that Paul was actually a fake. He wasn't actually serving God. In fact, Jesus went as far as to say that Paul was persecuting God personally.

So what do we do about the fakers we know personally who are blinded by ignorance and unbelief? I think the answer is just to love them. In John 13:34-35, Jesus tells His disciples, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples. Isn't it interesting that the defining characteristic of Christians is that we will love each other as Christ loved us? I'd say that we spend more time judging, hating, stereotyping, fighting with, and excluding each other than we do loving each other. Maybe people pick up on this and that's why they choose to not truly believe in God. Maybe they see the disciples of Christ and how far from Christ they tend to act and decide that Christ Himself must not be all that great.

Show the fence-riders Who they are missing out on by showing them the love of Christ. Show them the love of God by loving them yourself. Love people the way Jesus loves you. Be patient with people. Be kind to people. Be filled with humilty. Show respect for everyone. Live selflessly, to benefit others. Be forgiving. Be honest. And be committed to people. Treat people how you want to be treated. Show them the Gospel by loving them.

1 comment:

Shay said...

Wow, this one hits really close to home...Until I was about 13-14 I was a faker... I memorized every Bible verse that was given out at church, could sing the songs, I could even tell you the gospel...I went through all the motions but I DIDN'T GET IT!! I did all of that because it was what I was taught to do, it was what the other kids were doing, and didn't have anything to do with who I was in Christ. Praise God for helping me understand when I did!