May 16, 2012
May 16, 2012
I said to myself, "I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me." -- Psalm 39: 1 (NLT)
One little verse from Psalms with so much good theology for us today as believers. It all starts with -- "I said to myself." Let's be honest with ourselves, we often times need reminders about what we are supposed to be doing as children of the most high God. We sometimes lose our focus and start behaving with the world, or heaven forbid, like the world. We see things that might outrage our worldly flesh and lose sight of the fact that we are no longer of this world. That we are in fact merely passing through"
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. -- 1Peter 2: 11-12 (NKJV)
We are merely going through this world beloved, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ before H comes back. But sometimes it gets hard because while we are not of the world, we are in it every day and sometimes it is easy to forget that we are supposed to be sojourners. Sometimes as the Psalmist suggests, we need to "say to ourselves" what sayeth the Lord.
The next declaration in this verse is that we need to watch what we do. Our actions matter to the lost world. They matter greatly. I have seen too many Christians who speak about Jesus but treat people like hell. What message do our actions send to the lost? Are we salt and light to a dying world? I have said it before but YOU might be the only chance someone has of seeing Christ. Instead however we still act like we have a right to be just as mean or uppity as we receive. As if reciprocation is what Jesus taught us.
"You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow. -- Matthew 5: 38-42 (NLT)
Truth be told we find it very difficult to live up to this standard in this world. I understand that but we need to at least strive for it! At a bare minimum we need to stop living by the same eye for an eye; reciprocal tenets the world lives by. Otherwise, of what difference are we? Because we claim the mantle of Christ but treat people like everyone else does?
Next in the key verse is something we do not consider enough as Christians and that is that we can sin, merely by what we say! I think sometimes we view sin as an action as opposed to a statement and that can lead us to think that what we say does not matter as much. It does matter to God what we say and how we represent Him in this world. In this age of advanced communications and social media it is even more important. I have seen the worst things on Facebook posted by self-avowed Christians. Off color jokes, profanity, espousing worldly ways of thinking, and outright hate -- all for the entire world to see. Oh, and wrapping our hate up in the name of Christ does not make it any less hateful -- it only makes it more reprehensible. God's ways of thinking are as far above ours as the stars are above the sky so we should not think for a second that we know anything other than what Scripture says. The Bible says that God is not a respecter of persons. He is not an American. He is not a Republican. He is not a liberal. He is not defined by any human measurement we might like to use to make us feel more superior in our opinions. He is not on your side. The only question is if you are on His side.
This is why it is important that we hold our tongue when the ungodly are around us -- the final point from the verse today. There is only one thing that matters beloved and that is the eternal condition of the souls of men. This life is but a vapor compared to eternity. If you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and have that relationship with Him today then you are assured of your salvation. But there are a lot of people out there who are not -- inside the church and out. There are a lot of people in our families. There are a lot of our friends and co-workers. There are all those people who walk right by us and next to us every day in this life. Tomorrow is promised to no one. The devil is really good at getting Christians hung up on minutia. Hung up on things that have no eternal value so we are distracted from the one thing Christ commissioned us to do -- spread the Gospel! Are the hot-button social issues within this culture important? Absolutely; but not as important as spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Are politics and the upcoming elections important? Absolutely; but not as important as spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We were not charged with saving this culture. We were not charged with saving this world. It is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It still is going down. We need to try less to save this world and more to save people from it.
But I know and understand how hard it is. This world pulls and lures. It defiles and entices. That is why the Psalmist says that we must remind ourselves what God has told us to do. We must watch our actions carefully because if they do not match up with what we profess then the world will view us as hypocrites -- which is the number one reason given why people do not join churches! Beyond actions however we need to start viewing what we say -- either verbally or electronically -- with much more care than we have in the past. Think about the awesome connectivity we have today. You might have 200 Facebook friends who combined could have 40,000 and if those 40,000 have 200 then we are up to 8 million people -- all seeing what you post. Even if only 10% actually see it, that is still 800,000 people. Even if only 1% see it -- that is 80,000 people! What are they seeing beloved? Are they seeing 50 shades of grey jokes or are they seeing Scripture? Are they seeing Farmville or Jesus? Are they seeing the hate of the world or the love of Christ? It seems that sometimes Christians would prefer to send political emails to the four corners of the earth before they spread the Gospel! I am not saying you cannot have fun. I am just saying what Scripture says -- I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me. I might be their only chance to see Christ in this lost and dying world. Amen.