POSERS...OR TRYING THEIR BEST?
By Céleste Perrino-Walker
The first time you saw a Christian you know do a very non-Christian thing, you were probably a little shocked. You might even have been kinda angry. There are a couple of things that can go through your mind when you see Christians doing something they shouldn’t.
You might think, Why are they [insert activity here]? They’re supposed to be a Christian. The Bible says we shouldn’t do that. Or, if whatever they are doing is something you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t because you are a Christian, you could very well think, If they can do it, so can I. Or you might think, Hey, they’re doing [whatever it is] and God hasn’t struck them dead. Either it’s not very bad or it doesn’t really matter. Or maybe God doesn’t matter.
Doing something that doesn’t fall in line with what you say you believe is called hypocrisy, and people who say one thing but act a different way are called hypocrites. Or maybe you’ve heard them called posers. They pretend to be something they’re not. In this case, they pretend to be Christians, but their actions prove that they are not following God.
That’s so not fair
The thing is, it’s easy to start resenting God for not doing anything about the way they’re acting, and before you know it, you don’t want anything to do with Him. Like it’s His fault. After all, they’re getting away with whatever they’re doing while you’re stuck doing the hard work of avoiding temptation and walking the narrow path. Suddenly the narrow path is making you claustrophobic, and you start looking for a side road.
Before you do that, let’s think about the Olympics.
Medaling in the Majors, not meddling in the minors
If you wanted to be an Olympic gold medalist, what would you do? First, you’d spend a lot of time (and I mean a lot of time) practicing your sport. You’d watch the technique of people who have won gold medals in your sport and learn from them. And you would make winning that gold medal the focus of your entire life. You wouldn’t let anything distract you.
Being a Christian isn’t all that different. If you wanted to be an Olympic gold medalist, you wouldn’t waste time studying your fellow team members to learn how to excel in your sport. Doing that will make you like them. You’ll learn their faults and pick up their bad habits.
In the same way, letting yourself get turned off watching other Christians learn how to be a Christian is a great way to get discouraged. The church is a hospital for sinners, not a clubhouse for saints. Other Christians are your fellow teammates. They have just as many faults to overcome as you do. The Bible says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23, NLT).
You will be a better Christian than some of them and a worse Christian than others. On the road to the heavenly Olympics, everyone is at a different level in their training program. But no one will ever win if they spend all their time studying everyone else and no time studying Jesus, the most awesome gold Medalist of all time.
Follow the leader, not the Losers
If you want to win that gold medal, you’ll study the technique of a gold medalist, someone who has already gone where you want to go. Learning how they behave and how they prepare themselves will show you what it takes to climb the podium and what it takes to display excellence.
If your teammates were out partying all night and never worked out at the gym, would you stop believing in the Olympics? If they didn’t act like the Olympic athletes they claimed to be, would you stop trying to earn a gold medal yourself? Of course not, because in the end, what really matters is you. You are not responsible for the behavior of others. They aren’t “getting away with” anything.
In the end, we all reap what we sow. “Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life” (Galatians 6:7, MSG).
So keep your eyes on the prize and ignore the posers. You’ve got better things to do.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Texts credited to Message are from The Message. Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
Tags: Dealing With Worry/Anxiety/Stress, Christian Life
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