My friend, "C" at http://simply.blogsome.com/ has spanked us all pretty good with his post "Seeing Christ in a Christian."
C makes some good points and observations; in the midst of personal pain that he deals with, he still takes time to notice that the majority of us are not doing what we're supposed to do in our walk as Christians. When you think about how we fail each and every day, the overall appearance of Christians is pretty dismal.
I asked our Father to help me out here. On the one hand, I want to ease C's pain; all I can do is pray, but that is also the most I can do. But I asked God to give me SOMETHING.....and He led me to the book of James...the NT's little user's manual of Christianity. Interestingly, Martin Luther got ticked off at this book and tried to stick it in the appendix of the Bible as he was having it published. He didn't like the differing takes between Paul's "saved by grace alone" and James' "faith without works is dead." We could go all day in a discussion about this....but James is right as he was trying to put a stop to the "freeloaders" who believed in Jesus but went on sinnin' on purpose... And Paul was right...he was pointing out the problem with focusing on the Law as a stepford Christian instead of on God.
What's the point of being a Christian if our attitude is self-serving and without honor in our walk? Can we keep on purposefully sinning and blundering, figuring that a trip to the big house on Sunday washes us all clean, and we can start all over again on Monday? I don't think that's the point, and Jesus tells us that we have to walk the walk.
With right faith naturally comes good works. I do truly feel that we are all desperately trying to live this out. I don't think that we are consciously trying to fail....
Anyway, the scripture that was given to me was James 3:13-17
13Who is wise and knowledgeable among you? Let them show by their fine behavior that their actions are done gently, with wisdom. 14 Now if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast against and lie against the truth. 15 This type of "wisdom" doesn't come down from above, but is earthly, of the natural realm, and demon-like. 16 For where you have jealousy and selfish ambition, there you have a state of disorder and all worthless matters. 17 But the wisdom which comes from above is primarily holy, then peaceful, considerate, reasonable, full of mercy, unprejudiced, and without pretense. (The Source)
I don't know about you, but that is a very humbling bunch of words, and I can feel a blush come to my cheeks when I read it....and when I think of how I've failed those words many times. How could I possibly live up to any of that? Kind of makes me feel like throwing in the towel right here and now. We're so human because, well, God made us that way, and we have a real talent for messing up.
So, where have I brought my little discussion here? Well, heck! I'm not sure! I guess it's just to think about studying my motivations for some of the things I do, the things I say. Am I able to minister to someone that I seriously don't like? Am I working toward becoming Christlike--that is, do I pay attention to the needs of others despite a busy life? Do the things I do feel good on a fleshly level, or do they feel RIGHT on a heavenly level?
Well, this turned out to be a bit negative. I really didn't mean for that to happen. So...I'm going back to the Big Guy and pray on this and see if I can pull some positives out of it. Feel free to knock me off the soapbox.....