Archives for : Behavior and Belief

Be Real


Is you behavior consistent with what you say you believe? Does your church behave in a way that shows you mean what you say? We say we believe in evangelism but do we practice it? We say we know discipleship is important but is anyone being discipled? The things we say we value, are they truly convictions or are they just preferences? In James 1:22 we are challenged with his truth, “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

We are told to not decieve ourselves and the idea here is that we need a reality check. A good friend of mine, Sam Douglass, says it this way, “It is time to interogate reality!” Are we deceiving ourselves? The word here refers to incorrect reasoning. In mathematics it is a miscaulculation. Gal 6:3 says, “For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing deceives himself.” The word of God makes it clear that when you hear the word without obeying it you are making a serious miscalculation.

James then gives us the analogy of a mirror. The mirrors of that day were nothing like what we have today. They were polished brass or bronze and only the wealthy could afford ones made of silver or gold. Even the most expensive ones had to be polished vigorously, postioned at just the right angle and placed in the best light to eventually see a fairly accurate image. The mirrors of today, invented in the 14th century, give an instant picture of how we really look compared to how we think we look.

Church, it is time to look into the mirror and see what we really look like not what we think we look like. The time has come to interogate our reality so that we might confess what needs to be confessed, correct what needs to be corrected, and then commit to what must be done for the kingdom to advance. What do we need to see in the mirror today? What area of our lives and our churches do be need to “Be Real” about? What is it that we need to see as we look intently into the perfect law of freedom?

  • First, we need to see ourselves! All of us need better self-awareness. We need to know how God uniquely made each one of us to better understand our strengths and our weaknesses. He has hard-wired all of us a particular way for His purposes. Every child of God has a unique spiritual gift and passions. It does not take long to see that when you read I Cor 12 and learn that we are to be unified even though there is such diversity in the body. Psa 139:14 says, “I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.”
  • Second, we need to see our abilities! What do we need to learn and what instruction do we need to receive? Our abilities are an accumulation of our training and our life experiences along the way. It is very easy to be an expert about things we are not involved in. On Sunday afternoons spectators enjoy being armchair quarterbacks. We need to be careful about being that way at church. It is easy to give advice about how ministries should be done that we never plan on helping with. One man said this, “Before I married I had three theories about raising children; now I have three children and no theories!”
  • Third, we need to see our relationship with Christ! Are we growing in the Lord and spirtually maturing daily? This is what brings together our personalities and our education by placing them under the authority of our Lord. Phil 3:10 says, “My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” First and foremost, how is your walk with Christ? Are you passionatley pursuing Him daily to know Him better?

Here is whay this is so important:

  1. If we are not real about ourselves we will be frustrated! There is always work to be done. There are always improvements that need to be made. That is why James has already challenged us to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. He then tells us to be real because obedience is required and without obeying the truth it is really of no benefit to us or anyone else.
  2. If we are not real about our abilities we will be ineffective! How can you improve your skill set? How can you improve on what you are doing for Christ? Whatever ability you need to work on there is a great question to ask yourself. Who knows what I need to know? Figure that out and then get the instruction and training you need. Churches please do not give your people a job without clearly defining what their responsibilites are and equipping them for the role.
  3. If we are not real about our relationship with Christ we will have broken fellowship! A reality check is necessary because you can believe that your walk with Christ is better than it actually is. That is why James is telling us that we need to make sure that our behavior lines up with what we say we believe. Obedience is required! Luke 6:46 says it well, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say?”

Healthy churches and healthy Christians are not afraid of a reality check in the mirror!