Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Right Believing, Right Living

Like most Christians, there are things I struggle with.  One of the many is the relationship between faith and works.  It's an age-old discussion, so I'm in the company of many much more knowledgeable than I am; but it's frustrating still.

Obviously, not one Christian is perfect.  I have enough notable errors--we can safely call these sin--in my life to keep me humble and lots of family and friends who can remind me of that with nothing but a raised eyebrow; but like many, I work hard, with the aid of the Holy Spirit to live a responsible Christian life and not give the cause of Christ a bad name (though I'm sure I do that occasionally despite my best attempts).
However, we see many professing Christians living lives that are horrible.  They might be quiet Christians, who aren't terribly vocal about their faith and live like the rest of the world; or they may be outspoken ones that make it very plain what they believe, but by their behavior give everyone around them cause to step back and say "REALLY?"  "HE'S a Christian?"  Those loud ones are the once that concern me.

In my profession, I had friends in another agency who had very bad feelings about Christians on account of one of their supervisors.  His office was filled with Christian sayings on plaques; there was a Bible on his desk; Christian radio stations were always on in his office and patrol car....that kind of guy.  However, he was the most miserable man to work for.  He treated his officers like pawns in a chess game, told them name it; he was not the visible image of a good Christian.  Though I'm sure his belief was right, his life--at least at work--surely didn't show it.

Another fellow, in another agency, quickly became my friend after I noticed his uniform had some Christian items displayed on it, and I started a dialogue.  He had a church-going family and was, for all to see, a good Christian man.  All went well for a while, then I found that he was having an affair with a young woman...and all his coworkers knew it.  What a black eye on the cause of Christ.

Both of these men--though I'm sure they were believers--were not showing it by their works and bringing the cause of Christ into disrespect.

Faith--belief--is what brings about salvation, that can't be disputed Biblically; but, if the life is not changed by the belief, is the belief really there?  Hmmm.

I'm disturbed by many friends who tell me that they're believers, though their behavior makes me wonder.  I've often said that you cannot fly in the face of God's laws and expect him to bless you--that seems to be what many of my friends are doing.  My job is not to be critical, but to make sure I get my life right--maybe being something of a positive role model to them.  I can ask some probing questions, offer advice; but to point fingers is not my job.  It's still disturbing to see my friends living lives that are not God-glorifying.  I worry about what God might have to do in order to get their attention.

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