Perhaps, like me, you have heard many people complain that Christians are hypocrites. And maybe there is some truth to the statement.
Why do some people not live up to the message they proclaim? There is a popular misconception that we must try hard to be good Christians. For many people, Christianity is a set of precepts that help them try to live a good life. But the Christianity of the Bible was much more than this. It was (and is) dynamic. The receiving of the Holy Spirit is a powerful life-changing experience. The many who profess Christianity, but have not been led to being filled with the Holy Spirit, do not yet have what it takes to live a truly overcoming life.
But even Spirit-filled people can end up not living the life to which they have been called. Paul the apostle wrote to the Corinthians and roundly condemned them for their cavalier attitude to unrighteous acts being committed by church members.
To compromise your testimony is to act unrighteously. All the things you may have said, all the testifying you may have done, are undone. Those who were looking for an excuse not to follow the gospel are, in their own minds, handed one: “they’re all just hypocrites”. Or worse: “there’s nothing in it really, it doesn’t seem to make much difference to him”.
That’s at the extreme end. More the norm is simply not ‘shining’. Jesus said His disciples would not hide their light. He said they would be like a city on a hill – unable to be hidden. Everyday living that matches God’s calling attracts people: “… be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15). As we walk in the Spirit we mirror a confidence about life that makes people wonder: ‘what’s she got?’ Our light is not hidden under a bed, but out for all in the room to see. We light up the room with the presence of God shining out of us: ‘there’s just something about him…’.
(This is an extract from a longer article, in the Voice of Revival – December 2010.)
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