Photo taken by Cherie
Do you know someone who expresses devotion to the Lord on Sunday, yet lives life for his or her own desires on Monday? Does it break your heart to see the hypocrisy? I know my heart was recently broken when I watch a person say one thing, while doing another. Well, this same issue breaks the Lord’s heart as well. Listen to what I discovered during my morning devotions as I read Ezekiel 33:31-32.
My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.
How sad! As I immediately thought of this person, the Lord gently spoke to my own heart. Do we hear God’s Word on Sundays or mid-week Bible study or as we listen to Christian radio—yet turn around and do the opposite? Are His Words as beautiful as a love song to us—yet as we listen, and even express devotion with our lips as we hear His Word, do we then turn around and not put into practice the truth that we just heard? Let’s be honest with ourselves. Because, if this is the case, the only person we are fooling is ourselves. The phrase Actions speaks louder than words is true! People are watching. And sometimes we are the only Bible others will read. As they read our lives (and I say this in love) are they reading the life of a hypocrite or the Word of God?
Therefore, we need to take to heart James 1:22 which says: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” And Ephesians 5:1 implores us to “Be imitators of God.”
This is who we are in Christ! We are to be does of the Word. We are to be imitators of God. We are His ambassador. In view of this, it is time to put into practice the truth that we learn when we hear or read God’s Word. It’s time for us to die to our greedy hearts and our selfish desires, and instead, live for Christ.
To accomplish this, let me share a short portion from the last chapter of Go in Peace for Teens. In this chapter “You Are Chosen” it is teaching the teens how to live the life God is calling them to live, even if they have a prickly person they must deal with. Listen to what it says.
“You must have the attitude of, ‘It’s not about me, it’s all about Christ.’ The pity-party attitude of ‘life’s not fair’ or ‘no one loves me’ is no longer acceptable. So what if people aren’t nice to you. You be the one who is nice, no matter what. So what if people don’t care about you. You be the one who cares for others, no matter what. So what if life isn’t fair. You be the one who is fair in every situation. This is what it means to die to self and live for Christ. This is when you will bear fruit. Remember that you are chosen to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last, for you are Christ’s ambassador here on earth [and people are watching].
God is looking for the teen who is willing to be humble, gentle, kind and compassionate, even when he (or she) is being treated unjustly. God is looking for the teen who will be patient and bear with others in love, even those prickly people. God is looking for the teen who loves the unlovable. God is looking for the teen who will walk in integrity and fairness, even when a situation seems unfair. God is looking for the teen who will not compromise, even when everyone else is. God is looking for the teen who will walk in purity, even when everyone else is not. God is looking for the teen who is not ashamed to stand for the truth, even when it is unpopular. God is looking for the teen who will deny self, even when everyone else is living for self. God is looking for the teen who will take up the cross and suffer difficulties and hardship for Him. God is looking for the teen who will follow Him no matter where He calls him (or her) to go or no matter what He calls him (or her) to do. God is looking for the teen who is willing to lose his (or her) life to find His perfect will. As Brain Bell has stated, ‘The world needs you, Christian, to see your character on display daily which will result in genuine fruit.’[i]”[ii]
Are you putting into practice God’s Word? Or are you merely, expressing devotion to the Lord with your mouth, while living your life for your own greedy heart or selfish desires? It’s not too late—the world does need you, Christian, to see your character on display daily because people are watching and actions do speak louder than words. Remember, you may be the only Bible someone will ever read. Does your life reflect the same power as the Word of God? Or is there room for improvement? Looking forward to your comments or your words of encouragement to all so that we can together put into practice that which God has called us to do.
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[i] Brian Bell, “Calvary Chapel Murrieta Values—Character” (third in a series), lecture on MP3 (Murrieta, CA: Calvary Chapel Murrieta), January 27, 2008.
[ii] Cherie Fresonke, Go in Peace for Teens (Enumclaw, WA: WinePress Publishing, 2009), pp. 173-174.