It made me wake up thankful and thinking about all the things that I allow to control me - time, busyness, responsibilities....self-inflicted rules.
Pastor Tim has been teaching in the iGo ( www.crossroadswired.com ) series about evangelism, so I know the how, but why are there not more opportunities to share? Why aren't people drawn away from worrying about America's future, buying more stuff, the rat race? Why aren't lost people flocking to the Lord giving us opportunity to share?
I think it's because they don't recognize us as Children of God.
- We watch the same movies and tv shows
- We worry about the future just as much as they do
- We talk the same way
- We are too busy in many cases to invest personal time in our families
- We gossip and complain just as much as the lost do
They don't think we have 'the answer' by watching our lives.
Now sometimes the opposite is true - we drive them away by being TOO set apart.
- No mercy toward others who may not have the exact same theological view we do
- Openly criticize other believers and leaders
- No acceptance of people that don't 'keep the Christian rules'
We all know how Jesus felt about the Pharisees' rules! The reason God put guidelines and commandments in the Bible wasn't so we would live this perfect life far removed from society, it was to help us survive and keep sin out of our lives for our own good! It was to bring glory to Him. Not so we could check off a list of do's and don'ts! And NOT so we could throw our 'goodness' in other peoples' faces!
Why would God ask us not to gossip?
-because it hurts others and our own reputation making us look jealous and unkind.
Why would God ask us not to participate in pre-marital sex?
-because the most precious thing you can give to your future spouse is a pure you. By not sharing yourself with others you present yourself untarnished to your spouse with no regrets, no memories of others, no disease, no comparisons. No baggage. This honors God.
Why should we live honestly?
-So we glorify Him by not being caught in lies looking just like the world. Even 'small lies' (if there is such a thing) discredit what we claim and ruin our testimony. On an extreme level, we obviously should not lie so we don't go to jail for being dishonest with others or taking advantage of others. The so-called Christian leaders that have lied that are now out of the ministry or sitting in jail have to grieve the heart of God. Again, the world sees no difference between those of us who lie and the lost.
I could of course list every commandment and teaching, but I won't. You get it, his commandments protect us and allow us to live in freedom not bondage! We are free in our obedience and the lost LONG for what we have when they see this in our lives.