2006-10-21 - Excuses: 5
Editor's Note: As the sender of Tim's devotionals, I inadvertently interrupted the Excuses series and sent another of his devotionals last time instead. I apologize for this confusion.
Matthew 5:13, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
We have been going through some excuses that people use for either not coming to faith in Jesus Christ, or excuses people make for not following Christ once they have started on the journey of faith. We have covered four, and I would like to give you a fifth here that will cause you to nod, I have little doubt, and agree. The fifth reason is Christ's followers.
In some respect, this is sadly an all too legitimate objection. Christians have the pathetic tendency to live down to their faith. They are often idealistic, but lack any effort or execution. They dream big dreams, but, at best, end up playing minor character parts. They will often be found to admit that they have little time for Bible reading, and yet have seen every episode of Lost, or 24. They admire prayer, but that is all. They admire it, and hold those who actually do pray as somehow "spiritual," or "godly." To often in order to reach up to the average standard of a 21st century Christian, we would have to start by digging below the surface. That is the reality, and if you don't know this to be the case you are either unaware, ignorant, or apathetic to the spiritual shallowness of the general group that fly under the Christian flag.
Is it any wonder that the followers of Christ are one of the greatest excuses that people will use to justify their not coming to faith or not following and growing in the faith they say they believe? The world simply doesn't see any identifiable difference that faith in Christ makes in people's lives. It is hard to talk about our victory in Christ, with any measure of impact upon others, when we haven't fought any battles with sin, or temptation, or struggled to live in holiness before the Lord. We can't say we are fighting against temptation when we are plunging ourselves headlong into it.
Don't kid yourself, the world is watching you when you say you are a Christian. Your mailman knows what kind of things come to your house. Your neighbors see who comes over. They see when you have a 64 inch flat screen TV delivered. They know that you have season tickets to the local pro sport team, and that often takes you away from church when there is a game that conflicts. They are very observant to how we live, and when there is no difference between the way we live and the way the rest of the world lives, we give them a legitimate excuse for not becoming like us. They already are like us.
The fallacy in this mindset is that the worldliness or compromise of a so-called believer will give them no excuse before the Lord on the day of judgment. The various faults or inconsistencies of believers is no excuse for them to seek to go to hell themselves. But in the end, we encourage them in this mindset by our very lifestyles. Have you ever counted the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? Has it really ever cost you anything? It should, and it should be evident to those around us that this world is not our home. It should be evident to us that as believers we follow a moral code that is not according to the conduct of this world, and when we fail to live up to our holy callings as children of God, we give them an excuse. This excuse, will sadly, in the end, turn out to be no excuse for them.
This should make us all the more diligent in how we present ourselves to others. Do we speak often of Christ? Do we count it all joy to endure various trials (James 1:2)? The inconsistencies in the faith of others should spur us to greater diligence in our profession of faith. Others may view the inconsistencies of Christians as an excuse, but they are only self-justifying, and without justification by faith, no one will see the Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria,