Shortly after I came to faith and made the decision to change my life in order to try and follow Jesus, I was gently reprimanded for swearing by a friend who has been a Christian for many years. He said something like this – If you are going to live as a Christian, you must give up the bad habits of your old life because even though many of the people you will meet in life won’t be practicing Christians, they all know what they expect from their Christians.
This has stuck with me and I think it always will because it is so true. I am becoming more and more sure that the primary reason that so many in our society have turned away from the Church and the teachings of the bible is that they do not see the church (the people who say they are Christians) behaving according to its own beliefs! It seems Jesus thought the same about the religious establishment.
Matthew 23:13, 15, 23-28 NLT
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel! “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
My goal is simply to strive again today and tomorrow and all the days that follow, to live according to my beliefs. I want to apply what I am reading everyday to my life. My hope and most earnest prayer is that these subtle changes in my behaviour will register with those I meet who do not yet live by faith. I pray that all Christians could do this and that the current negative perception of the church might melt away in the bright light shining out of its doors and windows.
Exodus 19:16-21:21, Matthew 23:13-39, Psalms 28:1-9, Proverbs 7:1-5