Friday, June 09, 2006

Dressed for the Occasion

Well, it's been more than a week since my last blog. Sorry, but I haven't had too much to say lately. That changes today. Read on!

Maybe you are a sports fan. Right now, it is baseball season, and we are about a month away from the All-Star game on July 11th. Wow! Time flys, doesn't it? It's hard to believe that the season is almost half-over.

Imagine Barry Bonds, or another ball player, showing up to the game to play in a 3-piece suit. I know, it sounds silly, but just think about it for a minute. As a player and representive of San Fransico, he needs to wear the official uniform of his team. He can't show up however he wants, and simply decide that he will do his own thing.

It's the same thing with us as followers of Jesus Christ. We, in a kind of crude analogy, are on Christ's team. We are representatives of Christ, actually called his ambassadors in Scripture (2 Cor. 5:20). Hear what the Bible says in Philippians 1:27:

"Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel"

Also, Romans 13:13-14:

"Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts"

If you think about it, our conduct reveals what our character is. Jesus said it this way: "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks". What our inside character is will be revealed by what we do outwardly. In a sense, our visible behaviors are kind of like our uniform: it's how people can see and recognize where our allegiance lies. That is why it is important to live a life that glorifies Christ. We may only have one chance to shine our light to someone, showing them our good works we do for Christ, so that they may see that there is substance to our profession of faith. I, for one, do not want to let some bad behavior be the thing that turns someone off to Jesus, because I was hypocritical and my claim to follow Christ didn't match my life. Both passages of scripture are saying the same thing, and the latter passgage in Romans literally uses the the Greek word for clothing oneself when it says to "put on" the Lord Jesus.

In the 3rd Commandment, we are told not to take God's name in vain. What is really interesting is that in Hebrew, the language Moses wrote in, that word "take" is a deep word. There are many ways that word translates into english. One that I noticed from Strong's Bible Dictionary is that it can be translated as the word "wear". How about that? Perhaps in a sense, when we apply God's name to our lives, it's a little like getting dressed? When we claim to follow Christ, others will look at us, and they will look to see if our walk matches our talk.

A good example of this is King David, at a time when he should have been leading his army in battle. Instead, he stayed back, and got into some real trouble. He noticed a woman bathing on her roof (I guess they washed in the supposed privacy of a roof so no one on the ground could see them). But Davids roof was higher, and as he was out for a walk up there, he caught a sight of a beautiful woman named Bathsheba, and he began to lust after her. So he found out about her. She was married to Uriah the Hittite, one of David's warriors. That should have been enough to stop David in his tracks, but his lust was driving him now. He had her brought to his palace, and they committed adultery. He then found that she was pregnant from their fling, and he needed to cover his tracks. He had her husband called in from battle, to get him to go be with his wife, so everyone would think that they are expanding their family. It didn't work, as Uriah was too loyal to his fellow soldiers to enjoy a night at home with the Mrs. while they slept in foxholes.

David then tried getting him drunk, but that didn't work, either. Finally, David wrote a note to the commander, and told him to put Uriah at the front of the battle so that he would certainly be killed. He gave the note to Uriah to deliver to the commander. Look how low David's sin made him sink. Resorting to murder for hire, and sending the message by the victim's own hand! It worked. He got away with it, or so he thought.

One Person saw everything. That was God. he sent a prophet named Nathan to confront David about this. God said this to him:

"because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme..." (2 Sam. 12:14)

Eveyone knew that David loved God. Certainly, even his enemies, and the kings of surrounding countries knew of David's deovotion to God. But his actions not only brought a bad name to himself, but to God. He took, or "wore" God's name in vain. And he paid dearly for his sin.

Friends, I don't mean to lay such a heavy word on a Friday, but this is what is in my heart. Other people are watching us, and we may only have one chance to shine the light of the Gospel to them. Let's not turn them off by bad conduct.

God bless!


ruthrap said...

you are so right! Our actions truly speak what's in our hearts! Keeping a pure heart and reflecting Christ's love to others is a major challenge in todays corrupt society---but as Christians, we must do our very best to follow Christ's example of servatude and truly love our enemies! WE MUST HATE THE SIN, BUT LOVE THE SINNER!

Anonymous said...

I think that this is incredibly important, and thank you for the reminder. I think that it is somethign we need to remind ourselves daily.

it does remind me of a prayer I once heard.. it went somethign like this

"Dear Jesus. Thank you that, today, I have done nothing wrong. Everything so far has gone great and wonderful. I have had no problems with anyone today, have had no mishaps. But Lord I am about to get out of bed this morning... and only you know what this day holds. Keep me well Lord, help me to maintain my integrity. Walk before me and guide my path. I thank you for this. In Jesus name, Amen"