James 1:6 – the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, tossed around by the wind.
Right before Christmas, Mimi and I decided to surprise both of our sets of kids with a dog. We went to the pound and started looking. We found an absolutely beautiful one, but when we got her out in the yard to play, the first thing she did was try to make a meal of my arm.
As we were walking back in, we noticed a dog that was not there the last time we were there. And get this….
HER NAME WAS PERU!
For anyone that has been following my blog knows that I have been on mission in Peru twice in the past 3 years and hope to go back this year. The last time, Mimi was able to join me. It was her first mission trip, so it was very special to her.
The name Peru just seemed to fit for us. So we took her to the yard, played with her, fell in love with her, and got her.
Since Mimi and I are not married (yet), we agreed that dog would live with me and she would take her from time to time to stay at her house just to make sure she doesn’t become only my dog (I don’t think that has worked, by the way)
But anyone that has a puppy knows that if they can stick something in their mouth and eat it, they will. She is literally a walking vacuum cleaner.
I came home one night from a Christmas party to what I thought could only be terrorists targeting me for my faith.
It was the dog.
She decided to enjoy a meal of 25 mint flavored dental chewies for dogs, my backpack, and about 7 pills of heartburn medicine.
A few vet visits later and she found herself kenneled during times when I am out of the house.
But as I was walking today with her, watching her eat everything in sight, I was thinking about people I see on the street, at the places I used to work, at church, and other places. When I bring up God, I get a whole bunch of different viewpoints, theologies, and opinions.
It is as if we humans eat any doctrine that comes our way without testing it for validity or truth. Just like my new puppy, we feed on stuff that could potentially be hazardous to us. Not just our life, but our afterlife.
John 12:43 – For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
You want to feel good? Just read a book or listen to a sermon b one of those prosperity pastors.
You want to feel guilty? Just look at religions that make you work to secure your faith.
You want salvation for free? Just claim the name of God and behind closed doors act differently. (I call this the politician model)
If you want to feel, be, or act any way, you can find a book, speaker, or program that will get you there.
I want to make this painfully clear. CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A SELF HELP PROGRAM!
Christianity is a lifestyle. It is a life that begins by showing faith in a Creator who is God, Spirit and man all at once and yet separate. It is a life that is characterized by discipleship. It is a life that lives out loud and will not be silenced. It is a life that doesn’t need to use words to prove a God exists. It is a life that feeds on the words of the Bible as the Word of God. It is a life that desires to learn every little passage and understand what God is saying in His holy Word.
The first century Christians craved the Word of God. They saw it as part of their hope and their future.
The persecuted churches in China, India, Nigeria, and the Middle East holds sacred a single smuggled Bible, memorizing the words as soon as they can.
Acts 20:24 – However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
And in America and much of Europe? Well, we see the Bible as a fiction book filled with some good stories and morals. We don’t see it as the inspired Word of God.
Which is why when every little doctrine comes down the road, we cling to it. We think it will get us one step closer to….what?!? If we are simply trying to be good people, what are we growing toward?
A more civilized society? Well, that only works if everyone is on the same page as you.
Christianity is the only religion I know that will confront a person in their sin not to judge, but to help. A Christian cannot save anyone. God does that. We simply are to live a life that would represent Christ and be a page-turner in the Bible. As we do that, the Holy Spirit begins to change lives.
That will lead to the more civilized society.
A more civilized family.
A more civilized church.
When we place God before everything…our families, our work, our friends, and ourselves, we see a revolution happen. We don’t want to feed on the junk that will fill us with hot air and discord. We want to feed on the bread of Life, the Word of God. We want to feed on that which brings health to the unhealthy spiritual state of the world.
We won’t go around eating everything like my puppy.
We will have a balanced diet of theology and application.
And that will, at least in our own portion of the world, be more than enough to sustain a healthy spiritual lifestyle.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.