(The Information & Edification Series)
There are people in the Church pews, members on the Church register, listening to the Word of God, day in, day out and yet their hearts are unmoved, as hard as stone.
They continue on, month after month, year after year, sermon after sermon, holding discussions among peers in the aftermath, either commending the Preacher/Teacher for the way in which the Word was delivered or otherwise debating and disapproving because the words were not quite as eloquent, not considering for one moment, what the Spirit of God may have been trying to say to their hearts.
They listen to sermon after sermon and then go home the same, not seeking at all to make amends to their behaviour or to rethink how they have been living, in general. The word ‘repentance’, rarely ever comes to mind and if it does, they think, surely, that pertains to the unbeliever!
There is no soul stirring conviction, only complacent comfort. For, they have embraced religion and a form of godliness, while denying the power of God. They are more about ‘show’ and concerned with keeping up appearances, than really striving to obey God and to live a life submitted to the Lordship of Christ. In short, they are more concerned with what people think of them and being perceived by them in a positive light, than in what God thinks of them and what God sees and knows about them. Such people therefore live lives of PIOUS PRETENTIOUSNESS & PERFORMANCE.
When the cameras are rolling and people are watching, they play the part of the perfect Christian. Yet, when the lights are off and the audience have gone, the show has come to an end and the real character comes out. This is the real person, which only the Lord (from whom nothing is hidden) and their immediate family members, get to see.
It appears that there is no real relationship, no real faith walk with Christ Jesus. For had there been, surely this would be reflected in changed behaviour. Perhaps some of these people are genuinely saved but have quenched the Spirit through habitual disobedience and rebellion to God’s Word, his will and his way. They know the Word in their heads but they have no intention, other than avoiding what they consider to be the ‘big’ sins (like sexual immorality or not regularly attending Church services), to have it change their hearts and to obey it.
Others comfort themselves in a profession made with lips eons ago but the truth of the matter is that they are not saved. They are not yet regenerated. For, they have confessed the Lord with their lips but they have not genuinely believed in their heart, that he rose from the dead. They cry Lord, Lord but sadly their hearts are far from him.
This plays out in their day-to-day behaviour, where they live as if they are in control of their lives and Jesus is just a theoretical by-stander that they refer to when praying, preaching or otherwise discussing the Word. To truly submit their lives to his Lordship, to live each day ever conscious that he is watching and to emulate or aspire to live like him is something they have spoken much about but have never truly known or experienced.
The disparity between THE PUBLIC PERSONA and THE PRIVATE CHARACTER exists because such people have acknowledged the Lordship of Jesus Christ in theory only but in reality, they have resolved stubbornly and rebelliously, to retain control over their lives.
My question to you then is this: Are you in RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ or are you just RELIGIOUS? Does he dictate the pace of your life or do you dictate yours? Are you filled with his Spirit or filled with your own ways?
Only you can answer that question but know this: God is not mocked. That show of piousness that you put on proudly for the world and to impress other Church folk, does not fool God. You are only deluding yourself.
(Written on 13th May, 2020, added to thereafter)