Opinions on faith and life

Walk This Way

2010-07-30

Too many people think that being saved is the end, as if being born is the end of life instead of its beginning. They forget the part about growth; they don’t walk in the light.

But why? Why is this failure to walk in the light an epidemic among professing believers today? Isn’t it at least partly because the leaders have been tyrants and Pharisees instead of examples? In the previous post we looked at some teachings with dire consequences— dire, because people actually “walk the walk” and live out the logical conclusions of those teachings. Intended or not, the reality is that people live the way they actually believe.

And this goes both ways. In many cases, the teachers of unbiblical theology do not practice what they preach, even as their followers practice it. So by their actions the teachers demonstrate that they really don’t believe what they’re teaching— or they think themselves above their own laws. And that is the essence of the Pharisee:

They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for people to see... Mt. 23:4-5a
But between these two extremes are many, many people who were saved at a young age, whose adult lives seem to mostly ignore God. Where is the “walk”? What real difference does their faith make in their lives, outside the walls of a church building? Where’s the saltiness (Mt. 5:13)? Where’s the light (Mt. 5:14-16)? What kind of ambassadors never mention the One they represent (2 Cor. 5:20)?

We walk amilessly and wonder why we never get anywhere. We walk in the dark and wonder why we keep crashing into things. We can’t walk in the truth because we either don’t know it or have come to believe there is no such thing. We are thrown out as useless because we have lost our saltiness; we do not “flavor” the world around us.

That’s what is wrong with Christianity today. How to make it right?

Walk this way.

10 Comments

Lydia

"To walk this way" many times means you have to leave many behind you once thought were your "Christian" brothers and sisters. They are busy walking the way of the organizational system following men and not the way of Christ

Paula Fether

Good point, Lydia. There is a price to pay, and we need to be up-front about it.

Joyce

Paula, this is not to criticize your post one bit. It is very good and I agree with you. But what I struggle with regarding the commandment to love is how do we love. What actions on our part can be said to be the most loving of actions in a given situation? And shouldn’t we be asking ourselves and praying to God about it, how he wants us to show our love in a given situation. Even though our motives may be pure, it must be that it is our responsibility to find out how best to love. We find inspiration from the Bible on how best to love. And there are other places aside from the Bible where we can learn how best to love.

I had this discussion with my daughter recently in which she tried to simplify what we are commanded to do, that being to love. It turns out that the commandment to love is not a simple one at least not in my mind. It is a serious commandment that requires a lot of thought. Wouldn’t you agree?

TL

Good post Paula. I just returned from spending quality time with my sister and brother in the mainland. It important that I determined to walk carefully according to the leading of the HS so that I could minister pearls of wisdom and understanding to my sister. When you really love someone, it is easier because suddenly you see the importance of walking out your faith in God.

Paula Fether

Tanx TL. :-)

We do need to be sensitive to the person we’re talking to, no doubt about that. But that includes not only our style or outward behavior, but also larger principles; that is, as we see in the verses cited, both truth and love are the way to walk. If we see a loved one heading toward a cliff, we are unloving not to warn them, even if intervening means hurting their feelings. I’d rather be seen as outwardly mean than to just watch someone jump the cliff because I didn’t want to upset them.

We had a big go-around about that in a popular Baptist blog in the past year or so, where a certain ex-president was not to be questioned regarding his understanding of the gospel. We were called mean for daring to say he might not be saved. But our motivation for questioning was precisely because we don’t want anyone to be lost, especially if they only think they’re saved but don’t know the gospel. If we didn’t love or care we wouldn’t bother. But the people defending him only saw us as mean and unloving. I think that principle was what Lydia referred to as well.

Lydia

There is a big difference between whether they are long time believers or not. When they are long time believers we have to use the Word to communicate truths they might not yet understand or have been taught wrongly. There is a ton of bad doctrine floating around. We must teach people to seek the Holy Spirit to teach them through the Word.

If we love other believers, we do not want them feasting on milk all their lives. And I would not want to affirm them in wrong doctrine or behavior. Yet, I would communicate I love them no matter what. That does not mean I can be in fellowship with them if the behavior is really bad and continuous.

I think we give unbelievers and baby believers much more leeway. Was Paul a meanie because he told the Corinthians to throw the guy out in chapter 5? No, his counsel was so the man could be saved. And so he could not poison the Body. Paul was upset that they allowed it to continue. He did not say, Oh, just love him more. That would be akin to the advice given to battered women...just submit and love him.

TL

I agree Lydia. Each person needs to be treated according to where they are. I noticed that I needed to be firmer yet still careful with my unsaved brother than with my unsaved sister. With my sister all I needed to do was be led of the Holy Spirit and speak honestly.

Lydia

Yeah, if they are both unsaved, it is a different thing all together. Paul makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 5 about the differences in those who profess Christ and those who don’t. With those who profess Christ, our dealing with sin is much different.

Greg Anderson

Joyce,

"..... Poets, Priests, and Politicians..... have words to thank for their positions...." --- from an old song by The Police (Sting) ---

There is nothing at all complicated about love, nor in all the forms that it may take. Ever since we’ve had agriculture, we’ve had a priestly class living off the labor of others. They tell us with aplomb that love is complicated and that only they can properly teach us what love is. Oh really? Look into your own heart and guts. Contrary to the fiction taught by some, you are not hopelessly depraved. What do you like? How would you like to be treated? Go then and treat those around you likewise. Nothing at all complicated about it. Your daughter is right in demanding simplification.

Paula Fether

Good answer, Greg. I would only add what I mentioned already, where sometimes love means hurting someone’s feelings. A good parent doesn’t give a child everything they ask for, not to be mean but because the request would ultimately be harmful or less than a better choice. For the Christian it also means confronting error, to keep it from growing and doing much harm.

Which is all to say, love is not just a feeling, but a principle. It can express itself in not only affection but also loyalty, devotion, protection, encouragement, and whatever builds another up.

Or then there’s always 1 Cor. 13. ;-)