Friday, May 30, 2008

Consistent living

“‘Abraham is our father,’ they answered. ‘If you were Abraham’s children,’ said Jesus, ‘then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.’ ‘We are not illegitimate children,’ they protested. ‘The only Father we have is God himself.’“

                                                        - John 8:39-41

Jesus was here debating with these Pharisees about their own spiritual state. From their perspective they were made righteous through their heritage. They make the claim that Abraham, known as the father of the Jews as well as the father of faith, is their father. But Jesus is quick to correct them. Their notion of what Abraham was all about was twisted.

They had missed the point. Abraham believed and because of his faith he was deemed righteous. Jesus was telling them that if they were truly of God and spiritual children of Abraham they would have the same faith that he had. Yet he brings into contrast their deeds versus the faith of Abraham. He then goes on to say that they act more like their own father than as descendants of Abraham, the father of faith.

They quickly retort back by claiming God as their father. Yet Jesus quickly corrects them by telling them that they are children of the devil.

Jesus knew their hearts and so he was able to make correct judgments on them. But their actions are just as telling. Here Jesus tells them that their actions reveal where they are truly from and that their true identity and lineage comes form the devil.

Oftentimes Christians can deceive themselves into thinking that because they have prayed the sinner’s prayer they can live their lives in whatever way they wish. They claim God as their father and Jesus as their savior but their lives do not reflect that claim.

So whose children are they really?
Is their claim any different from the one made by the Pharisees thousands of years ago?

Well, in a sense it is even more grave.

Claiming Jesus as our savior and then living opposite from that claim makes a mockery of Christ’s sacrifice, forsakes His Lordship over our lives and misrepresents His message to the rest of the world.

Being saved means becoming part of God’s family; becoming his child. And as such our actions need to line up with that relationship. The Pharisees in this passage claimed God as their father yet it was evident through their actions that that relationship was non-existent in their lives.

Working in ministry has taught me many lessons and I have grown greatly because of it. But perhaps one of the most important lessons learned has been the one of consistency. Living out my faith in a consistent way at church, at Ignite, at the office, at home, as a husband, as a brother, as a son, as a friend and whether I am in Hawaii or Seattle or Los Angeles. I need to be consistent. And the only way to be consistent is to stick close to my Lord. If it becomes real to me that God is right here next to me al the time then I will never have room for error. But when I forget, or rather choose to forget that He is there, I mess up. I stray. I become a hypocrite.

My life must be consistent with what I profess.

Please help me to live consistently wherever I am at, in whatever situation I am in and in whatever relationship I am in. Help me to be a better son, brother, friend and husband. Please help me to be consistent.

In Jesus name amen.