Called To Be Faithful Not Famous
If history—particularly Church history, has taught us anything it is that Kingdom success is measured in the terms of faithfulness. One with personal charisma may burst on the scene with the brilliance of lightning across the midnight sky, but in reality in the long run may be just another flash in the pan. Better to be a flickering candle, I say, that burns through the night than the shock and awe of a lightening flash.
Assertive, self-willed impostors through the sheer strength of their charismatic personality can develop a pack of gullible dupes that sprint along the sidelines desperately grasping at each nugget of the most trivial Christianized foolishness imaginable—that’s for sure. All Mr. or Ms. Charisma need do is flash a smile and regurgitate any old worn out cliché and the charm offensive is on. It works, too.
I say, it works, but then it all depends on what we mean by works. If we are talking about fame or fortune, it really does work. These fools’ barns are stocked to the roof with symbols of success—Rolls Royces, Bentleys, suits from Lloyds of London, Rolex watches, private Learjets, you name it, they’ve got it, and all in the name of Jesus, too. Nor, dare we ask ‘Where is that spirit of Jesus, riding on a donkey, and without even a roof to cover his head at night?’—unless, of course, someone was kind enough to provide one. No, we mustn’t question ‘God’s anointed’ and do these false prophets any harm.
I suppose the attitude is that if we just ignore them they will go away. Well, to do that in my opinion is just like trying to ignore bedbugs in hopes that they will not come out during the night and bite the fire out of you. I refer to them as bedbugs because that is about the size they really are, and in reality they will suck the blood out of you. Other than that the analogy falls apart—but it gets the point across, none-the-less.
Harsh word? Well, if the truth is harsh, then these are harsh words.
‘Well,’ I’ve heard the argument, ‘these men and women may indulge themselves, but really that’s just a sign of human frailty, otherwise, they are soundly Evangelical.”
Really? If you mean by Evangelicals that they mouth the five solas—sola fidei, gratia and so-forth, then may I present another suitable candidate for the Evangelical ministry—that being, of course, the African grey parrot. I have been told that their capacity to articulate the most complex of sentences is utterly amazing. However, I am also told that they can be mean little rascals, and are as devious as they come. Furthermore, they also have an astounding capacity to attract a following. Yes, they do if Facebook is any indication. Take for instance Einstein the Talking Texan Parrot has over 7,259 likes on Facebook, and this is in spite of the fact that poor old Einstein the Talking Texan Parrot is as dead as a doornail. Yes, old Einstein had such charm that even posthumously he has been able to garner up an enviable following. Topping old Einstein is another fellow by the name of Talking Pierre the Parrot a fictional character with 737,777 likes.
Oh, well, enough of this foolishness. And, I might add, enough also of the charming charlatans masquerading under the guise of Evangelicalism, mystifying their star struck following.
Saying that, however, is not saying enough, though. There must be something to fill the void; after all, most of these poor victims are sincerely searching for God. The tragedy is, however, that they have been given a mixed bag of worldly goodies attractively sacked in bag with a hole in the bottom. Patching up the holes is not the answer either. We must repackage the whole message.
Sola fidei when left to stand alone is heresy. Nowhere in Scripture are we told that we are saved by faith only. No, not one place. We are, however, told that we are not saved by faith alone, for you see, the Scripture says in plain English that “faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (James 2:17).”
So, we mustn’t “just listen to God’s word. We must do what it says. Otherwise, we are only fooling yourselves (James 1:22).” “For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight (Romans 2:13).”
Now, if this is too hard for the average Evangelical Christian to grasp, it is understandable since we have been fed the lie for so long. Now, before you throw up your hands and hit that unsubscribe link, consider this.
I am not saying that you can save yourself. You can’t. Only Jesus can and has done that; however, the only proof you have that that has taken place in not in that warm fuzzy feeling you may have about your salvation experience. Feeling are fine, and necessary. But feeling alone will not cut the mustard where your ultimate salvation is concerned—for that you need proof, not for salvation but as a tangible sign that you are indeed saved. In essence—to cut to the chase, to claim the benefits of salvation there must be some evidence. Faith has substance. What is that substance? Faith has evidence. Where is that evidence? James tells us—if you are will to hear it—is works! Good works.
A long time ago, we used to call that holiness, and we knew that without holiness none of us would see God. Hum. That’s Scripture too, isn’t it? Well, just in case, some of us have forgotten Hebrews 12:14 says precisely this. Look it up, it’s there.
Feed your soul with all of the trash on television, or to get all tied up in fraternizing with an ungodly bunch at work or elsewhere may provide a carnal diversion but it will hardly lead you any closer to God. As a matter of fact, according to the Bible it will do just the opposite. Here’s what Scripture says,
“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever (1 John 2: 15-17).”
Now, it’s for sure that we have outgrown the sterile Pentecostal demeanor of yesteryear, but let us not throw the baby out with the proverbial bathwater. Nor do I advocate that we cultivate the attitude of the old Quaker who, in a moment of deep reflection, said to his wife, “Me thinks the whole world is crazy except me and thee; and sometimes I wonder about thee."
Better to err on the side of caution, however, I fell, than to discard all outward signs of holiness, or to neglect to nurture the fruit of the Spirit within us.
With that said, please keep in mind that we are not in this journey alone. He walks beside us each step of the way.