1 Corinthians 13:1 “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Christianity without love is a spiritual perversion.
There are many who claim the title as ‘christian’, and the definitions are as varied as the people who falsely represent them.
While I was doing street ministry one night I came across several people who claimed to be christians. One guy sat on the street curb smoking a joint and hanging with his live in girlfriend. He cussed up a storm and acted no different than any other who lived only for himself. Another guy claimed to believe in Jesus but hated the church, organized religion was as he exclaimed ‘corrupt and full of hypocrites’. These two guys are no different than many others I had met before and their lack of understanding is more common than you might who think.
In many cases the evidence of a false understanding of what it means to follow Jesus can be more obvious, for others it’s a little more hidden and difficult to recognize.
1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
For those who are true believers, there should be an expectation for how the gospel is represented, for those who hide behind the charade of indifference, the fruit they bear gives them away.
Those who are not real in their faith, the expectation is destruction. It doesn’t matter what people claim, what matters is how they live. True faith in Christ is exemplified in the one who loves God and loves others.
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The commandment Christ gave was given to His people because He equipped His people to love as He loved. It is impossible to love others with a godly love without the Spirit of God indwelling. It is also very difficult to love others if the true believer isn’t walking in the anointing of the Spirit. The lack of the indwelling Holy Spirit is the reason people lack godly love—it comes from God. We shouldn’t expect someone who has never submitted to the authority of Christ to live like someone who has, we also can recognize a man or woman of God who has fallen and needs strengthening.
To keep walking in the anointing of the Spirit is to repent daily of sin— every day. Christians don’t lose their salvation when they sin but they can lose fellowship of the Spirit by allowing sin to reign in their lives.
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
Do you know how to test yourself if you have unconfessed sin?
- You lack love for others.
- You begin to fear man more than God.
- You lack true fellowship with other believers.
- You lack fellowship with God.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
As a believer you have the power to overcome sin. The deception of the enemy is exposed by understanding and this comes through the Spirit. Wisdom also comes from God and is imparted to those who walk obediently in self-control. You see, everything pertaining to life and godliness is supplied amply by God, He is waiting for you to walk in Him.
1 John 2:27 “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”
The process of ‘abiding’ is the process of walking in righteousness.
For those who attempt to mimic the things of God without submitting to God, they bring judgement down upon themselves rather than blessing.
I’ve known many people who like what they hear among believers, the joy expressed among the people of God is something the world desires. For those who desire that joy yet without the sacrifice, the practice of trying to mimic God’s joy without going to the source is an attempt at falsifying the gifts of the Spirit.
Some people, like in Paul’s day, would attempt to preach the Word of God without walking in the Spirit of God. Others would try to cast out demons, or heal the sick, or do all manner of good works so that their consciences are clear. Jesus rebukes those who live these fake lives.
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
They hypocrisy of unfaithfulness will be fully exposed before the judgement seat of God.
I’ve been reading about the persecutions of the church and have come to realize there are very few hypocrites in countries where it’s costs something to be a believer. It doesn’t make any sense to fake christianity and be thrown out of a family, locked up in prison, and tortured for a fake faith. Why would anyone subject themselves to a such a difficult life when the world makes it so difficult to carry out that faith?
In America, it takes very little to call yourself a believer. It might get a mocking laugh from someone or deprive you of a football game on Sunday, but the practice of labeling yourself a christian is easy.
For Americans and others who live in free societies, the cost of christianity is found in being obedient to God’s Word. It costs to give up a lifestyle of sin, it takes self-discipline to control your tongue and stop using profanity, it takes discipline to not drink, particularly around people it might cause to stumble, it takes boldness to share your faith with people who might reject your message. There are ways to show yourself approved, for many the sacrifice isn’t worth the cost, it’s easier to list a scripture online than it is to live out that scripture each day.
A perversion of faith is exhibited in a majority of american christians today.
Matthew 19:24 “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Riches are not always an indicator of monetary wealth. Your position can be measured by how much you need and it’s there are a myriad of ways to alleviate need in America. There are also a number of ways you can try and feel good about yourself. No matter what the situation, people seem to form hierarchies of self importance when placed in positions of community.
There is no shortage of false doctrines or ways to grow in knowledge, and resources are in abundance. It’s hard to find a homeless person that doesn’t have a very nice cell phone. Many people know that if you drugs long enough, you can get state help by qualifying with a mental disease. For many, all it takes is to hold up a placard on the street corner for a few hours, buy your dope or alcohol, then live in the midst of the street insanity and rampant evil, it all eventually takes it toll. Everyone starts to break down after too long in these situations. Homelessness is almost always a choice and I always try to discourage people from allowing that to ever become an option.
Regardless of your social status, you can live faithfully before God or live hypocritically before Him. Your lifestyle may fool people around you but it never fools God.
It’s time to take a step back and decide what it is that you believe.
If Christ is your all in all, then live for Him.
If you think a nominal gesture will gain you any position before God, the sad reality of your choices will hit you like the blast of a fiery furnace.
We’ve got to stop perverting the holiness of God in how we live. If Christ has never been real to you, either take that step of complete surrender or just stop using Christ’s name at all and walk away. Never allow the title of christian to be associated with your name ever again and you might spare yourself a measure of judgement for not blaspheming God’s name.
If you are a believer but have given yourself over to sin more than you have submitted to righteousness, it’s time for a change. It’s time to take some drastic steps in changing who you associate with, what you watch, how you speak, and what you do for entertainment.
It’s time to pray more, it’s time to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word, it’s time to live out your faith without shame or regret and boldly proclaim Christ in your life. The world has more respect for the one who lives passionately in their belief than they do for those who try to look more like the world without being apart of the world.
This is the proclamation of a people who decide to follow their faith….
Jeremiah 42:5-6 “So they said to Jeremiah, “Let the Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not do according to everything which the Lord your God sends us by you. Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.”
If you choose His way, it will go well with you. If you trust Him, regardless of how difficult the path, you’ll find the way of goodness. Examine your priorities and bring them into alignment with God’s Word and you’ll never regret the decision.