The scripture is at the end of the devotional.
I must confess that I sure enjoy the springtime. Here in the midst of cold and snow I keep telling myself spring is only a few weeks away. One of the sights of spring that we typically see is young people at the front of stores in their uniforms raising funds for their season. There are different uniforms for baseball, track, football, soccer, cheerleading, basketball and the list goes on. One thing they all have in common is that it’s pretty easy to recognize that they all involve sports – even though we might not recognize which one.
While the uniform indicates sports, it is how they play the game that counts. Games have rules and require learned skills. Typically they also have officials, umpires, referees or judges to assure that rules are observed. Sports involve teamwork, practice and include features that measure how well something is being accomplished: getting the ball in the basket, scoring runs, completing passes, keeping the ball within the lines.
In our culture today it is easy to fall into the trap of treating Christianity somewhat like a sport. Certain outward behaviors and acknowledgement of certain things indicate we are a Christian; they are our ‘uniform’. The differences between the things we believe, place us in different ‘teams’ of Christians. Unfortunately, this ‘sport’ of Christianity has lots of players modifying or ignoring the ‘rules’. In spite of sincerity, we can succumb to the temptation of creating our own definition of who is a player and how the sport is played.
But what constitutes being a Christian? Is it as simple as acknowledging that Jesus is Lord, confessing we are a sinner and adopting certain behaviors (like putting on a uniform)? Mentally, most of us would say there’s a lot more to it than that. But what is the actual testimony of our lives, thoughts, attitudes and actions. What does God say about it?
In the book of Revelation (3:15-17) is the Lord’s admonition to the Church of Laodicea. They thought they were rich but in reality they were “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” They were lukewarm – neither cold nor hot. The Lord also speaks to the Church of Ephesus. They are commended for doing many things right, but then the Lord says this,
“ 4‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:4-5)
These admonitions are serious! They raise questions that we must consider: What are lives really like that have Jesus as their genuine first love? Do our lives reflect such love? What is our basis for knowing? And how do we respond if our lives don’t reflect such love?
To be continued…