Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Put Up or Shut Up

By Allen White

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. Matthew 23:27-28

When I was first starting in ministry, the denomination I was a part of required us to take tests on what we believed in order to receive ministerial credentials. I would meticulously study the statement of faith along with the supporting Scripture references. After all, if you failed a denominational ministry test, where would that leave you with God?

I would rapidly memorize all of the doctrinal points and the companion verses, spit them out on the test, and breathe a sigh of relief. But, looking back, if I had to work that hard on researching and memorizing my beliefs, did I actually believe them?

The reality is we don’t actually believe just what we say we believe. We only believe the things we actually do.

Have you noticed people’s reactions when a fire alarm sounds? Does everyone jump up and run out of the building? Probably not. Some people don’t even pause to notice. We wait for someone to verify whether the alarm really indicated a problem or just a malfunction.

If we believed there was a fire, we’d grab what couldn’t be replaced and then dream about what our new computer will look like. We’d run out of there. But, we don’t always believe alarms are accurate.

If we believe God answers prayer, yet we choose to worry rather than pray, we don’t actually believe in prayer. If we believe God will meet our needs, yet we continue to fret and kill ourselves to make a buck, we might not believe that either.

Don’t get me wrong. God values hard work. But, God doesn’t value anxiety and worry over things He’s already taken care of.

If we trust Jesus for salvation, yet work hard in order to feel more secure, do we trust Jesus? If we worry more about what other people think of us, have we truly put Jesus at the center of our lives.

I know, today’s devotional is ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. I’m not writing these things to make you feel bad. If you believe in the power of prayer, then pray. If you believe in the truth of God’s Word, then read it and live it. If you’d rather fake it ‘til you make it, then fake it. It’s exhausting. It doesn’t work. But, go ahead.

Integrity demands that who we are on the outside is the same as who we are on the inside. It’s time for us to either live what we say we believe or just shut up.

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