Saturday, March 22, 2014

Contagious Faith?

“...Let me ask you this question: What do your values, passions and priorities communicate to those who are watching you walk and talk in your everyday life? Let me ask you straight up, if I hang around with you, learn from you and imitate you, what will I “catch”? You know as well as I do that some men’s and women’s faith, love, joy and passion is communicative. To be near them does us good, inspires us, heals us and reconciles us with the human race! We love being around them and thank God for their faith that produces hope and propels us toward new heights of desires, commitments and possibilities in God.” ~ Claude Houde

I have been over thinking this lately–the concept of having a contagious faith and what constitutes being an inspirational Christian type–the dear heart who always speaks the uplifting and encouraging words and ministers so gently that people see Jesus in the speaker and therefore want to know Him. 

This devotional by Claude Houde made me realize why this has been much on my mind. I have had to admit that I don’t fit this profile as much as I’d like to. It seems I was built for something else, another kind of Christian duty. I think it is specific to this era–the era of the Last Call. 

I’ve always known that I am a sower not a reaper and therefore I rarely have the joy of witnessing the harvest of anything I have ever sown. But worse than that I am, more often than not, called upon to say the tough words that sometimes gentle Christians  might think but hesitate to say lest they discourage someone. Discomforting rather than comforting words that offend and challenge modern human sensibilities and bruise tender feelings.

One might correctly assume that this does not help me win friends and influence people. 

But I know I am well suited to this onerous task because I am neither vested nor interested in being right or approved; I just want to see good results. If I am compelled to say something that cuts deep, causes ire and rouses indignation, then I have likely pierced into the root of something that needs to be dug up and brought into the light. I don’t do it to hurt and it grieves me; I do it to shed light into dark corners because I believe time is running out to ‘get it’.

Generally speaking, for my effort, I can count on getting push back and resentment. My response to that is always–then prove me wrong–please–do–thereby challenging one to rise up and do differently or choose to grumble in enmity against the messenger in order to sidestep the message.

Which is... 

In all our efforts to find God, to please him, to commune with Him, we should remember that all change must be on our part. ~A.W.Tozer

Change must be on our part

What I have had to come to terms with, regarding the hard message I cannot ignore, is that, in this waning age, personal change is not the first consideration. Perhaps that is attributable to the New Compromised Church abandoning the original teaching that coming to Christ is not just a decision to become a “Christian” and learn the righteous buzz words and then reap all the rewards, but it is a call to dump excuses, admit sin, repent and desperately desire to do differently. Humanism, often mislabeled Christianity, seeks to attract converts with only the upside presented, carefully (some might say diabolically) omitting the tough step that must be taken by the convert to complete the conversion. It’s more like a razzle-dazzle invitation to an eternal party rather than a life-altering offer that requires a personal sacrifice. 

In a reprobated age where no one has been given the unpleasant words that must come in tandem with the saving words, the only way someone with ‘contagious faith’ produces hope and propels us toward new heights of desires, commitments and possibilities in God is when those who have ‘caught’ faith have also been willing to have  the painful booster shot no one wants to experience. 

So shoot the messenger if you must but know this, in these last days, genuine faith is not really all that contagious because humans have a built in resistance to having to give up anything of the old self or suffering the humility that produces real change. More’s the pity, no one is asking them to. However, and here’s the really harsh part, the appearance of faith without commitment to personal change isn’t really faith. It’s just emotional theatrics. 

It’s difficult for us to tell the difference sometimes. But God surely knows.

For Him,

(Revelation 3:19) As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  (3:20) Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  (3:21) He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne. 

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