02 March, 2009

A Two Headed Coin

One of the biggest problems that I see within the church today is that of a Body that refuses to grow up, or mature. I'm not referring to what we see in one another when we are gathered together corporately within the church building, but rather what is revealed in our lives Monday through Saturday. You see, the true us, our "character" is revealed not by how we can behave when the camera is on us (so to speak) but rather how we act, how we speak when we are not aware that anyone is watching. The fact is, our character should be that of Jesus Christ. Character has many different meanings in our time. For example if someone is really funny we will call them a "character." We'll do the same if someone has very questionable, even shady behavior. No wonder we really don't grasp the depth of meaning when we speak of having "Godly character." The fact is, Biblically, when we speak "character" it carries the thought of image, likeness or being stamped as a coin would be stamped. When we speak of having Godly character, what we are speaking of is being the exact duplicate of Christ. God is looking for men and women of maturity and beauty of character.

In Matthew 4:19 Jesus said, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." There are two things we need to notice in this. First, God's calling. He is calling, inviting us to follow, to walk with him... which leads to the second point that is crucial, and we have missed it so often. He says, "I will make..." Notice, it is God who makes, or conforms us, not we ourselves. We must yield ourselves completely to the hands of the Master Potter whose desire it is to mold us into the image of Christ. The problem revolves around one issue... SELF. Self rises up and resists the pressure, the shaping and forming that the Holy Spirit is trying to mold us into. The Holy Spirit whispers to us to withdraw from the activities and habits of our former life, but self is not willing to let go. God calls us to deny ourselves, but self says, "go for the gusto... you can have it your way" mindset of this world we live in. We cannot live for self and be submissive to God at the same time. The two are at odds with one another and the growth of the Christ character (image) is stymied.

I speak often of how few are fulfilling the "go" part of the Gospel message. We should all be involved in ministry. I am absolutely convinced that the thing that is hindering the vast majority of Christians from becoming involved in the work of the church has nothing to do with satan at all, but rather is rooted in our own selfishness. We simply are not willing to deny ourselves of our time, our talents, our money... it is ours and no one is going to take it away from us. It sure is a good thing that Jesus did not feel that way, or we would all be up a creek without a paddle! We within the Body of Christ have got to learn that it is time to lay down our lives and allow the Holy Spirit to "stamp us" into the image of Christ. God has a goal for each of us. Paul wrote about it in Ephesians 4:13-16:
"We all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in the things into Him who is the head, Christ, from who the whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."

The problem is, many of those who sit in church are like a two sided coin. They look good, but they are good for one thing only... deception.
They show forth the side of Christ at times... but other times reveal that they still have another side to them. It is time for Godly character to arise, and to allow the image of Christ to be revealed fully in us. The world is not fooled. They see us for what we are. Unless and until we are conformed to the image Christ... unless we grow up, our lives and labors for the Lord will be incomplete and ultimately disappointing in the light of eternity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of the most difficult verses I had to deal with growing up was where it was said, "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit; and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit."

I found this verse difficult because even though I professed faith in Christ and the baptism in the Holy Spirit, there were times I bore bad fruit in my life.

I also found the demands of Jesus' for his disciples to be very inconvenient and uncomfortable to my flesh. I made excuses for myself not obeying what He said. It has been a struggle to die to self and let him control my life.