WORD FOR TODAY
16 February, 2017
What kind of Christian are you? (1)
‘They…recognised them as men who had been with Jesus.’
The Pharisees were self-appointed experts in matters of dietary laws, dress codes, etc. These practices allowed them to decide who was ‘in’ and who was ‘out’. And what’s worse, the insiders became judgmental towards the outsiders. Dallas Willard writes, ‘How many people are repelled by Christians who are unfeeling, stiff, unapproachable, boringly lifeless, and dissatisfied? Yet such Christians are everywhere.’ The truth is, when our lives aren’t marked by genuine joy and devotion to Christ we start looking for superficial ways to distinguish ourselves from the people we classify as ‘worldly’. Jesus didn’t do that! When He was asked to identify what the law was all about, He simply replied, ‘Love God and love people’ (see Mark 12:29-31). Paul writes, ‘If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal’ (1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV 1984 Edition). It’s possible to think you’re becoming more spiritual, when in fact you’re becoming what Mark Twain termed ‘a good man, in the worst sense of the word’. Winston Churchill had a political opponent called Cripps, an arrogant man who was widely disliked for his smug self-righteousness. The story goes that one day Churchill saw Cripps passing by and remarked, ‘There but for the grace of God, goes God.’ One of the greatest compliments ever paid to the apostles is that they were ‘recognised…as men who had been with Jesus’. The strongest argument for Christianity – is Christians drawing life from Christ. The strongest argument against Christianity – is Christians who are smug, judgmental, and complacent. So, what kind of Christian are you?
Lev 8-10, Matt 25:31-46