Monday, October 27, 2014
Do you believe the message?
The difference between beliefs we profess and the values we live by can be like the ancient Greek actors’ masks
A JUNIOR school child who has a heart to share the gospel and a heart for other people, will be successful at evangelism. In fact, we hear frequent stories of child-to-child revivals in junior schools as well as in secondary school Christian Unions.
Why can children do naturally, what we tend to hold back on? Children are relatively guileless as a broad generalisation (I know that there are exceptions!) They have the uncomplicated ability to just be what they are. On the other hand we adults have spiritual and emotional insecurities accumulated through life’s unresolved conflicts. So what do we do to hide them? Live behind a mask. Too often in churches, what we actually are and believe, and what we project to others, are different. The world sees the hypocrisy in that.
The key to it is what we really believe – and whether we are free to live according to what we believe. The two are not separated. What we live out comes down more to the values we hold, than the beliefs that underlie them.
Beliefs and values are linked, but we can hold beliefs without them shaping our actions. Jesus pointed this out when He told the Pharisees that they were like whitewashed tombs. They were people who believed the law and the prophets, or so they said, but their values had become distorted. Their values emphasised strict observation, by which they hoped to hasten the coming of the promised Messiah.
So what they read in the Scriptures and believed – they were orthodox believers – was expressed and lived out by values of religious practice. This so blinded them to the underlying truths that most of them were unable to recognise the Messiah when He came and stood among them. The values we hold determine what we see and how we live.
Beliefs are a foundation for values which amplify those beliefs. We believe that Jesus, Son of God and Messiah, lived on earth, died on a Roman cross, was raised to life again and ascended to heaven to rule and reign and be a life-giver to all who will call on Him. Our values, if good will amplify those beliefs:* The value of spending time in Jesus’ presence* The value of calling on Him in expectation* The value of living for Him* The value of telling others His life-giving story
That should get us taking the most amazing message ever heard to people of every kind and letting them know that this salvation, this new life can be lives. This is a value of living like we believe that this message really can change/ lives.
It’s tme to recognise where we are believing one thing and living another. Time to recognise the Pharisee that believes but only on its own terms lurking within each of us and put that superior, judgmental spirit to death. Time to get real with God and His mission to reach His people through His children who make themselves available to Him.