“The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
Every time I hear this quote in a song or read it somewhere, I get the shivers. I mean, we truthfully are the epitome of hypocrisy, myself included. And it isn’t necessarily that we are trying to be… It is just that we aren’t trying hard enough not to be. Christian is the definition of internal warfare. We were born in this world, but upon having accepted Christ, we are commanded to not be of this world. To live in a familiar place but have to leave all familiar aspects of our life behind? How could we be asked to do such a thing? Well, the simple answer is that we ourselves are the ones choosing to leave these things behind because we believed at one point in time that it was worth it. Is it really worth it? Well, I for one think it is!
But what is more, not only does the world hate us being so lukewarm, God does also. He says in revelations that if we are lukewarm, He will just spit us out. He says lukewarm not to be an adjective or an adverb… He says it as a noun. It is a title. It doesn’t merely describe a person. It is the entirety of who that person is and what they believe and what they do.
So then, how can we make a complete u-turn from being to being different?
The old youth pastor from my church told us a few times about this girl he grew up with in school who was just so filled with the Holy Spirit that you could tell just by looking at her… Not that she necessarily had something different about her physical appearance, other than dressing more modestly I presume… But her life was just one that echoed God’s love. Everything she touched, everything she did, everything she said was out of her love for Christ. Now, I am guessing she had a few stumbling blocks along the way because none of us are perfect, but I find myself coming back to the thought of her and the thought of God’s love. What would God’s love look like? What would His love feel like? What would it say?
Going back to 1 Chorinthians 13, God’s love is described as being patient, humble, kind, non-judgement, envy-less, selfless, polite, meek, merciful, gentle, always delighting in the truth (no matter what it may be), always protects, always hopes, always perseveres… And that love NEVER fails.
That last point is particularly interesting to me because if love NEVER fails, then we could not ever possibly be lukewarm if we grasp and cling to this love. If we are full of this love, of God’s love, then it should be overflowing in our lives and God tells us in the bible that it will be so desirable and a person won’t be able to resist such a love.
How then do we attain such a love?
Well for starters we can pray and dig deeper into God’s word. We can ask him to show us how to love. I would think that it is so hard to love someone, but just by smiling at them I realize that it isn’t… I mean, where do all of these feelings of hate or despise come from? Certainly not God! Which means that I don’t want any part of it!
I remember when I was younger how adults would tell you that it takes more muscles to frown then to smile and the same goes for all of your actions. I find it a whole lot easier offering my seat on the bus to someone who needs it or would like one rather than awkwardly sitting there, having that feeling in my stomach and feel terrible about it for the whole day. I also find that it’s easier not being apart of the gossip then helping spread it. If you don’t let anything bad be said, then there is a whole lot less drama and you will have a clean conscience over those matters. Not to mention that you then won’t allow someone else’s fight conflict your opinion concerning a person. I believe that it is wrong for your opinion of something someone has done to you affect someone else’s view on that person, despite me falling short of this several times.
Again, we are going to screw up and fall. But an easy way to change all of that is by spending time in prayer and digging deep into the bible. Smile at everyone…. People are passing you by from every which direction in each of their own situations and circumstances and you may have just opened this window for them to feel just a bit of God’s irresistible love in their life! Finally, get an accountability partner… It may be extremely hard to find…. But the best things are the hardest… Have someone actually keep you accountable for things you stumble upon, for example swearing or lying or stealing…. etc.
If you try to just make this instant u-turn, you won’t know how to start. However, if we turn our mind-set from thinking of a habit to being a lifestyle or attitude of this joy, we can improve and grow closer to others and God. It is not something worth trying to quantify all of the data for. It is simply this change in our life that causes us to be set apart from the rest of the world and how they’re living. I mean, why would we not want to be always happy and full of joy and love? It is easier than dieting or exercising or going to the dentist… It is such an attractive thing and always we must do is yearn for God to have His way in us? If we really love God and are drawing closer to Him, then these sacrifices that we are making now will no longer be sacrifices… We will no longer desire for what the world has to offer and we will become familiar with a new self.
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