Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Having our behavior shaped by our relationship with Christ (1 Peter 1:13-14)

SCRIPTURE: 1 Peter 1:13-14a (CEB)
Therefore, once you have your minds ready for action and you are thinking clearly, place your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Don't be conformed to your former desires, those that shaped you when you were ignorant.

In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church's integrity problem is in the misconception "that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior." He goes on to say, "It is revival without reformation, without repentance." 

Let no one be fooled, it is tough to be a Christ follower. There are temptations at every turn. If the truth were known we really would like to have it both ways. We really desire to be one way on Sunday and be different on Monday. We don’t like anything that has to do with change and that includes our behavior.

We want to believe what we want to believe. The “gospel according to me” is the one most read. In this gospel we read what the Bible says and then interpret it according to our wishes and desires. Simply put, we want it both ways.

We like our political belief system. We like our social concept system. We like our lifestyle system. And we like our religious system. We just don’t want to put them all in the same bowl and stir it up into one system of thinking and believing. Besides, with little effort we can find a preacher type who will make us comfortable in our particular mindset.

And so, we merrily go through life believing what we want to believe thinking that we are Christian. George Gallup illustrated this back in 1987 when he wrote about his findings. He states: There's little difference in ethical behavior between the churched and the unchurched. There's as much pilferage and dishonesty among the churched as the unchurched. And I'm afraid that applies pretty much across the board: Religion, per se, is not really life changing. People cite it as important, for instance, in overcoming depression--but it doesn't have primacy in determining behavior. 
I could illustrate the reality of this by simply sharing some emails that were forwarded to me by my Christian friends or I could share some of the recent postings on Facebook by some other Christian friends … but I won’t because the purpose of this blog is not political by nature. They covered the waterfront on the social issues of the day. All of them made the self-determination conclusion that what they were sharing was okay because they are a Christian and they believed what they were sharing to be true.

I responded to one posting by simply asking the question: And how does Jesus feel about this? To say the least I didn’t get a response.

There should be a direct connection between our political, social, religion, belief, behavior, faith and our relationship with Jesus Christ. We really don’t want to have a faith that is a non-sequitur now do we?

Help us to live into the reality of what we believe.

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