Are We Walking In Truth or Just Standing Up For It?

Sometimes, I get it in my head that I have to defend God. Like he needs me to fight for him. Funny, it's really the other way around but still I am easily confused. I don't think this is the same as humbly, and I do mean humbly, living out my belief in God. While I know that God is not legalistic, that he is full of mercy, I do know that there are things called wrong and things called right...and I need to humbly give it my best to speak truth and do right.

But it's not my job to defend God.

The world is the same now as it has ever been. I've been hearing since I was a kid that it's worse than ever...but I don't agree with that. The world has not gotten worse or better in my opinion. The moment Adam and Eve stepped over the thresh hold of light into darkness, things have been bad. How long did it take for murder to enter the picture? Not long, if you know the story of Cain and Abel. If you read the Old Testament, which starts at the beginning of time, you will see a long, long, list of reckless behavior done by men and women. Incest, adultery, sexual perversion, slavery...all of it is in there. When we move to the New Testament, it hasn't changed, either. Same sins, same conflicts. No, man is not "progressing." Man is not "improving." To assume so is to say that Jesus is only sort of necessary...or not necessary at all.

I am a fighter, though. Maybe it's because I have survived much, or maybe it's just who I am but either way, it's in me. When I see or hear people slander God, deny his word or worse, try to use his word to justify their end...I want to fight. I get angry. I feel the need to stand up for my God. 

But it's not my job to defend God.

There is this idea, I think, that we have to "stand up for truth."  That is a dangerous idea. The danger in thinking we can just stand up for truth when truth is questioned promotes the idea that we can just live mediocre lives, not  always following truth or even seeking it. The danger in thinking we can just stand up for truth is that we don't have to be in relationship with God to do that. Now, if we want to walk in truth, well, that's going to require a whole lot more sacrifice. That's going to require a daily way of living, a daily denial of this world. If I am walking in truth, then when truth is questioned, nothing changes. I just keep on walking, humbly following after my God. 

Here's what Peter has to say about this topic...

"Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing." (1Peter 3:8-9)

I don't know if I have this down yet. I know for a fact that my flesh rises up when I see evil, mostly when evil is done to me or mine. Peter is talking to people who literally lay there life on the line to follow Jesus and not just their own lives but the lives of their children. These people were not just being laughed at or mocked for their belief...they were being slaughtered.  Pay them back with a blessing, he says.

Are you kidding me?

Here's where the spirit of God inside of me stands up and gives me some reminders. He reminds me that it is ridiculous to expect people, especially the lost, to respond to his truth with acceptance. Why would they? They have not discovered for themselves the hope of Jesus. They are living in darkness. It doesn't matter if we are talking about one individual or a corporation full of individuals. I struggle to respond with acceptance to God's truth so why would I expect those who are not following Christ to accept it? No, I shouldn't be surprised when the lost don't accept truth.

There is a danger in thinking that just because we "know" the truth, we are walking in it. No, friends..it's much, much more than that. Many will stand before God one day and think that just because they could quote truth, they were saved. It takes more than knowledge. It takes more than a cross hanging around your neck. It takes more than a status update with scripture in it. It takes more than a "Jesus petition," or a boycott. It takes more than Sunday morning church or a weeknight Bible study. Jesus said, plain as day, if we want to follow him we must pick up our cross, deny ourselves and follow. Follow like your life depends on it...because it does.

I used to be very self righteous. I used to think I was actually good because I didn't "sin." Ridiculous. I am a sinner, saved by grace. Grace, friends...grace. There is not a righteous bone in my body. I sin all the time. How dangerous, to think that "they are sinning worse than me." or "it's my job to defend God because I have it figured out."

Shame on me.

Now, I do live by truth, through the grace of God. When I am asked, I have and will gladly continue to answer honestly for what I believe, what I know is true. I have come to realize, though, that if I'm not living a lifestyle that says I've been redeemed, then my words are empty. How does Paul put it...."a resounding gong or a clanging symbol." (1 Cor. 13)

We should not be mocking those who choose darkness instead of light, yet we do. It grieves God's spirit inside of me when I see followers of Christ declare some truth and then turn around and mock those who don't accept it. Or, when someone else declares truth, and instead of humbly standing with them, we mock those who responded, "the wrong way." Maybe one reason we do this is because we have put some hope in these lost people, groups, corporations, etc. Maybe, we have forgotten along the way that these groups, these people are lost, just like we once were. Maybe, we have forgotten along the way that Jesus told us we would not be well received for following him, but we should just carry on, doing good and loving others. Maybe, we have forgotten that these people we mock and argue with, they are still stuck in the pit of destruction, heading towards death. Harsh words?

Well, that's the truth.

I say, lets live lives that invite others to come be a part, no matter how reckless they have lived. Lets walk in truth daily,  not just when everyone is watching. If the proof is in the pudding, then I want to prove I've been redeemed by the way I live all the time, not just sometimes. Lets not be noise the lost run from, lets be a beautiful sound that is so sweet and pleasant to hear, that the lost are drawn to it, like a deer to water. Sure, the lost are going to respond as lost. They are not going to like the truth. They are going to call us intolerant and condemns us for not calling the lies truth...but we we must keep the door of salvation open so that when they are ready to receive the truth, they know they can come find us.

Don't be deceived, friends. We can do lots of good things and follow lots of rules...and still not have love inside of us. I don't want to be that way. I want to be filled with the love of Christ so that my life is a by-product of that love. I want to not just stand up for truth, but walk in it. By the grace of God, I want to walk in it. Because..well...when I hear a clanging symbol or a noisy gong, I cover my ears and run from it...

 not to it.

"If I speak with the tongues of men and angels but have not love, I am a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophecy and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:1

Comments

  1. I agree with you that God is more than able to defend himself. However, we are to defend the Good News, The Gospel as Paul says in Philippians ch. 1 and fight the fight of faith. It is not to defend God but to win souls for the Kingdom of God. As you put so well we are the model that draws unbelievers to Christ.

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  2. Absolutely! We should always be ready to give a humble answer for why we believe what we believe. I think its easy, for me at least, to cross the line of humbly answering for my faith and picking a fight with others. I want my life to represent the fight for faith more than just my words. Thanks for adding that scripture to the conversation and thanks for reading! :)

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