Meet Rick: Rick grew up attending church with his family and still considers himself a Christian even though he doesn’t go to church anymore. He tries to do his work well, is kind to others, and he’s a ton of fun to be around. And while he says he believes the Bible is the “Word of God” he says there are other paths to God and has jumped on the “open and affirming” movement regarding sexuality. If you looked at Rick’s life, you’d see someone who is a good guy, but not much different from anyone you’d meet who does not identify as a Christian. When asked if that’s a problem, Rick sees his similarity to others as a good thing because it shows that Christians are just normal people.
How do we make sense of things when what someone says they believe doesn’t line up with their life? More specifically, what happens when someone claims to be a Christian but the Bible doesn’t seem to have much of a say over their life?
People will always believe your life over your words because your life proves your faith.
Forgetting the Word of God
One of the most remarkable stories in the Bible comes only a few generations after God delivered Israel out of Egypt.
“And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10 ESV)
Imagine that! Moses was generation one. Joshua was generation two. This third generation didn’t know the LORD or what he had done for their grandparents. This wasn’t hundreds of years later. The slippage happened fast!
After Israel entered the Promised Land and the tribes were all divided up among the land Israel faced a new pressure. They now had their own land. They were free. But they were also surrounded by nations who weren’t happy that Israel now lived in that land. How would they respond? Would they embrace their uniqueness, or would they conform to the people around them?
The people of Israel looked around them and increasingly saw how different they were. The LORD gave them laws and standards which set them apart and made them different, and not everyone was happy about that. So bit by bit, and little by little, they disregarded the Word of God and didn’t teach it to their children.
God’s people are called to be different. We shouldn’t be different just for the sake of being different. But if we look like those who aren’t Christians, then why bother being a Christian at all?
Think about Rick again. Is he a Christian? He says he is. That should count for something, right? But is it enough to make it true?
You can’t call yourself a Christian and then live in a way that ignores the centrality of Christ and the authority of the Word of God.
Be different, and be honest enough to ask yourself the question, “What do I really believe about the Bible?”
Christian, you don’t stand on the Bible. The Bible stands over you, because it is the Word of God and Christians are people who live under God’s authority.
Remember, when there’s a difference between what you say you believe and how you actually live, your life will prove your faith.