Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
A strange title to something so profound and important in our Christian lives, but your entire life boils down to this: how much of what you know and what you say do you live out?
I believe the verses of James 1:19-27 are written to encourage us, as well as to reprimand us. You- Christian, feeling despondent and lukewarm. You- Christian, feeling like a constant failure trapped in a malicious cycle of sin behind closed doors when no one is watching. You- Christian whom Jesus loves. You- Christian whom Jesus called and redeemed.
Bear with me as we try to break down some of these striking and relevant verses.
Slow to speak, slow to wrath. Quick to listen. As simple as it seems, it may be oh so difficult. As Christians we are told to live this. It may be easy at work, towards your employer, where you obviously won’t scream at her if something doesn’t go your way, but what about at home with your siblings? Do we still bear the same fruit there? It is important to be consistent in what the Lord asks of us.
The Power of the Word of God
“lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness”- what a striking command. Not just some filth, not just a speck of dust that you contemplate to still keep in your cupboard, but ALL. Jesus died on the cross so that we can be made clean. He offered His sacrificial blood to wash us white, that we might take His cleansing. It is the only cleaning up you’ll ever need. It is the only cleaning up that will ever work. Jesus already did all the work; He already paid the sacrifice. Lay aside what you know entraps you and messes up your life.
As if that wasn’t already enough… as if we aren’t already undeserving enough… He did more! He gave us His Word, the way to live by. James says to “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” Take the gift and take the manual that goes with it. Jesus made it all so simple… just grab hold of it… and unwrap the present given to you. The Word which is able to save your souls. Dwell on that for a moment. Repeat it to yourself, say it aloud. Do you realise what amazing gifts we have as Christians?
I believe this is for us who have walked with the Lord for quite some time but might be in some dense and dark valleys at the moment. For the ones toying around with ulterior thoughts and contemplating the truths and simplicity of Christianity. We’re told to receive the ‘implanted word’- the things you know. The stuff you grew up on – stick to it dear Christian. The gospel is a message of simplicity – don’t try to complicate matters. Cast off the ulterior shackles.
Away With Hypocrisy
How often do we find ourselves judging those who don’t do what they say, or even better, those that tell everyone else what to do, but can’t even do so themselves? Do you ever do that? As much as we hate to see it, how much of it are we?
But to look at this critically, it isn’t just something amongst us humans we can judge on. We should be measuring it to what God’s Word says.
“but be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Just DO it.
“if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of a man he was.”
So yet again, Christian, letting so much compromise creep in and blur your vision, clear the foggy mirror. We live in a very compromising society, where almost everything goes. We allow certain sins to govern our thoughts, govern our actions and in the end corrupt our lives.
Lukewarm Christian, Jesus is ready to help you clear out the closet of lies.
Lies like “it doesn’t matter what I do”, “I am not good enough to have a worthy testimony anyway”, “I just have to put on this show now… I’ll go chill and be myself later”, or “everybody else is doing it… why can’t I?”
Lies that eventually end up destroying you. Lies you allow into your room, into your heart, and into mind. Look critically at what you are ‘entertained by’. Shows you watch, books you read, internet sites you visit, games you play. Would you feel comfortable continuing with them when Jesus was physically with you in the room?
If the answer is no, then you know you have some reassessment to do. (He is there anyway dear Christian)
Critically analyse how much you’ve let slide over the last year, perhaps over the last month or couple of days. What is sin that the world tries to call right? What are things that we are told to ‘accommodate’ and ‘tolerate’ but the Bible and the Lord are very clear on that they are wrong?
Below is a list of what I came up with that we are faced with today:
Things that creep in so often are blasphemy, swearing, premarital sex, murder, adultery, homosexuality, pornographic images, slanderous words/actions, abortion… the list goes on.
How many of these things have slowly been affecting the way you think? Affecting the way you act?
We weren’t saved to look and act like everyone else!
We weren’t saved to adapt and fit into a culture that accepts everything it is given.
Carry on in the truths you know dear Christian. Those you grew up with. Those that once set your soul on fire with passion and excited your heart at the truths you beheld. The simplicity of the gospel is so beautiful! Stay the course!
“but he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
There is blessing in obeying and following wholeheartedly! There is blessing in purity.
Your testimony matters, the way you live your life is being watched by those around you. You may be the only ‘Bible’ some people will ever read.
“if anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religious is useless.”
Live It Out
So don’t just agree with all you hear in church or at youth group dear Christian, live it out! As you know, live in His grace and do His Word.
Put your money where your mouth is. Stop the compromise! Stop the double lives. Don’t just put on the façade and do your own thing when no one is watching. Be a NIKE Christian: JUST DO IT!
Christian soldier… carry on. Step back into the war zone, put your armour back on. Fight this good fight of faith! Stand, being girded with the armour that God provides. Your Commanding Officer already won the war; He is soon coming back to fetch His children. Be ready!
All verses quoted from the NKJV.