Re:Verse reading–Matthew 23:1-12 (day one) “Do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach” (vs 3) I had lunch recently with a friend whose main problem with Christ is “christians”. Maybe more than she even realizes, her objections are not with Jesus but with bad examples she has seen from those who claim His name. It is a real problem–one that even Jesus had to address. How do we press forward with real religion without being distracted and discouraged by false? The first step of freedom is to admit the truth. Fact # 1–there are people who misuse the name of God. They existed in Jesus’ day. They are still with us. Sometimes they are conscious of doing so. Sometimes not. Fact #2–bad examples do not disprove the possibility or reality of a right relationship with God. We are neither cynical nor naive. We must navigate around bad examples as we press forward toward the truth.
0 thoughts on “Bad examples”
Great, great word!!!
If we step back and really think about this argument, it is a very juvenile one. I am thinking about my daughter responding to my request from her by saying it is not fair, my sister isn’t doing that…. it would never change my mind about my request. Honestly, if I said, “well… okay…. you are right…. since she is doing wrong, you go ahead and do so as well” she would roll her eyes and do what I initially requested of her… getting my point loud and clear.
That being said, it is something that is a common excuse these days. I see it as a great opportunity to explain that there is a huge difference from a person who is only “religious” and someone who is in a relationship with the One Living God…a child of God who is led by the Spirit. You can see the difference by who is being exalted. I heard someone say recently that the Spirit makes much of Jesus. If the person is being led by the Spirit they will lift up/make much of the Lord instead of lifting up and making much of themselves. They will look like a servant… not like the person everyone’s eyes is on. Quite possibly your friend could be helped by looking around for the servants and not at what is being exalted.
We must be careful how we live our lives in front of believers/non-believers but offense is going to come. I personally have an ever increasing “fear” of the Lord lest I judge His child… whom the Spirit is responsible for guiding into all Truth…as not being where they need to be spiritually. I have made this mistake many times in the past and still wrestle with how to build others up correctly… in love… with their best interest at heart…. while always remembering that God is the one who is directing their steps and willing/working in their lives. I will never forget the day I realized (for myself) that I am not anybody else’s Holy Spirit…. if they are a child of God, they have their own.
The bottom line can be summed up by what you said yesterday. If you do not desire to worship Him… you may know facts about Him… but you do not KNOW HIM. My prayer for your friend is that she will KNOW HIM. Father our prayer is for her salvation. Please Bless Pastor Guthrie’s witness/influence in her life and their friendship. Amen.
Pastor, the first times I read your words, “misuse the name of God” I understood them to refer to people who use God’s name as curse words. Tonight I understand your words to indicate those who consider and call themselves godly but don’t truly love and extend His grace to others. Is this your meaning?