Your life as a Christian should make nonbelievers question their disbelief in God.
I’m not talking about your philosophy of religion or your preferences for worship or your favorite spiritual guru. Your philosophies and beliefs and membership in this or that church don’t amount to dryer lint if you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
To do that, you admit your sinful ways, seek forgiveness from Jesus, accept Him as your personal Savior, and begin living for Him, walking in His way.
Sinful ways are those things God says to do, and you don’t; or God says not to do, and you do them anyway.
Seems simple, and it is. Everything God’s laid out for us to live by is in His Word, the Bible. And though we each must choose whether to accept or reject Christ as Lord on God’s terms, everyone is invited and welcome. Nobody’s left out.
If you take exception to any of this, remember: God’s the One who put this all together. I’m not quarreling with you; I’m simply reminding you of what He’s been saying all along. If you’ve an argument, take it up with Him. I love you enough to give you His truth as best and as simply as I’m able.
It’s when we decide to start picking which parts of it we like, dismissing the rest and trying to force everything we think to fit that things get complicated.
If fish can be neurotic, adolescent flounders ought to take the cake. Usually within 5 days, they go from looking like any other fish with eyes where they’re supposed to be, to something resembling a Picasso painting gone rogue. One eye migrates over to the other side so the frustrated flounder is always lying on its side.
I know, right?!? Famous flounder pickup lines . . . “Hey, toots–I’ve had my eye on you . . .” “Woah, baby. You got the cutest little—-okay, where’d it go?”
God wasn’t being mean, though. Looking spectacularly weird, those eyes give Floundy binocular vision: each eye protrudes and swivels independently of the other. Something to do with lying hidden on the bottom of the sea, waiting for unsuspecting shrimp to come bopping past. Believe it or not, flounders and other flatfish like halibut, sole, turbots, and the rest of their weird-eyed kin have laser-fast reflexes. Hunger will do that. Flounders may look funny, but the shrimp are not amused.
Here’s the other reason God gave Floundy this gift: it enables him to manipulate his skin pigments to match his background. One was placed in a science class aquarium with a checkerboard bottom. Within minutes, the flounder had changed its outward appearance to look amazingly like it. From a distance, flounders effectively disappear.
Those strange eyes help make that happen. If one eye is damaged or somehow covered, the fish isn’t as adept at hiding in plain sight.
Patience, grasshopper . . .
The only background for any authentic Christian is that of the Bible. Not my ideas, your ideas, or even your church’s ideas. That way, no matter what’s going on in your life, how you’re feeling? The standard, the values, the core beliefs are always the same. No confusion, no fuzzy images. The background, the frame of your faith is always rock-solid.
Now consider a Facebook faith that draws what it thinks, does, and says from whatever its environment looks like.
By Brocken Inaglory – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10461464
This is four shots of the same fish, taken a few minutes apart.
You’re getting the picture.
Floundering faith won’t cut it.
The Bible is clear about doubting vs. believing faith (James 1:6). Jesus talked to the disciples openly about it (Matthew 8:13 & 9:29). So when confronted by an obstacle to your faith, like the guys in Luke 5 packing their disabled friend in a sleeping bag, trying to get him to Jesus, there are only two answers.
- Shrug and blend in.
- Either find a way or make one.
Possible background environments where floundering faith might be comfortable:
- Distraction of the Flash, Glitter and Popularity – Genesis 19:26
- Trying to be somebody else – 1 Samuel 17:39
- Listening to doubters – Nehemiah 4:10
- Leaky faith – Matthew 13:58
- All your Stuff – Matthew 19:22
- Tyranny of What-Ifs – Mark 16:3-4
- Family – Luke 9:59
- Whatever’s weighing you down – Hebrews 12:1
- Any one of these would make a great post by itself.
Make the time to look these up. Think about the various “backgrounds” each scenario implies. I’m sure you could come up with more, but you’re with me. There are literally worlds of difference between an accommodating, smooth background of faith that accepts everybody’s ideas and lets them just blend in–and faith in God through Jesus Christ that says Jesus is The Door (John 10:9), and it’s before Him we’ll all bow and acknowledge Him as Lord (Philippians 2:9-11).
So how do we keep our background solid and get rid of floundering faith?
Be being your brother’s brother, your sister’s sister – Isaiah 57:14; Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 I almost explained these, but I’d be more interested in your ferreting them out yourself.
Love your brother, love your sister – 1 John 2:10
Our spiritual foundations, our Christian background, for ourselves and for each other, IS our responsibility. We do no one any favors by “blending in a little to identify”. We all know it doesn’t stay ‘a little’.
I encourage you: work to keep it as straight and clear as possible. Then be diligent in living as real and practical a Christian life as you can. Others are watching you, whom only you can reach. There are plenty of confusing, shifting backgrounds out there vying for their attention. If you aren’t filling their need for an example, the confusing, shifting crowd of religious opinions du jour will.
Emerson wrote, ““ To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. ” God didn’t mess up when He designed you. What He’s after is a ‘you’ that’s working at pleasing Him, living a holy, Biblically practical life others have no problem picking out of the background.
There are a bunch of Floundys out there, totally misled and seriously confused about what to believe and how to live.
They need to see the real thing.
They need to see you.
© D. Dean Boone, July 2017