What do you think… which is more important, our right to express ourselves, or our God-given mission to reach our world for Jesus Christ?
I shared this in response to some questions I received this week regarding some of the statements I made in my message on Sunday. My challenge is this, “Do we guard and filter - through our love for God and the lens of His Word - what we say, do, and share with the world around us?” Of particular challenge has been the phenomena of social media. Once upon a time, what most people did and said was typically done so amongst only a few people, be they friends or co-workers or family. Not so anymore. With a few taps of our fingers on a smart phone or tablet, we can nearly instantly share with the world a little of our world, our thoughts, and our opinions. And it doesn't just go out to our "friends", but anyone with a computer and internet can see what you're posting. Yes, pretty much anyone.
Did you know that it is becoming standard practice now for companies and employers to scour the social media pages of people they employ or are considering employing? Schools are even doing it with students. People are losing out on raises, promotions, positions, even jobs, based on what they have posted on Social Media. Did you know that churches are starting to join them? Members are not being chosen for leadership positions, and potential pastors are not being called based on what they have posted. Unfair you say? Maybe. They don't know your heart. But remember, the world seldom sees our heart; what they encounter are our words, actions, and attitudes… that visible part we portray. And what possesses people to post the things they post in the first place? Ahh… it occurred to me that Jesus said something about it isn’t what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out; for that speaks to the heart (Matt. 15:17-20)? Yes… it’s something we need to noodle on.
So let's go back to my original question; which is more important? As followers of Christ, most of us would argue that the latter is more important. But I'd also have to state (and confess myself) that all too often most, if not all of us, and more often than we'd like to admit (or even realize), default to expressing ourselves. And, hey... You do have the right; right? Hmmm... maybe we should define "right" in the context of being "followers of Christ", God's "adopted children", "bought with a price", and "ambassadors for Christ” - all of which are used to describe us in Scripture.
Is what you are saying, doing, or posting edifying to others, or might it hinder your witness, or cause another to stumble (Rom. 14:13; 1 Cor. 8:9)? Does it bring glory to our God who died for us (1 Cor. 10:31)? What would Jesus do? What would He say? What would He pass on that He just received if He were here today? What do you want people to take away from what they hear and see about you? And how does all of this square with Jesus talking about our picking up our Crosses and following Him?
BTW… Here’s some food for thought. In my discussion this week it occurred to me. In Christ’s day, the emperors in Rome made the very worst of our Presidents look like an Eagle Scout. The Roman Senate? Yeah… pretty much the same. And yet, if you carefully study the Scriptures, you will hardly find a single comment against the Government. What Jesus did speak to and condemn was hypocritical religion and those who led and practiced it. I think there’s a lesson for us there; what do you think?
On Sunday I told you I would send a link to the excerpt from Gregg Matte’s book, I Am Changes Who i am, “Thoughts on Drinking”. Whether you enjoy a drink once in a while or not, it’s worth the read. It’s not long. https://books.google.com/books?id=v9cMSNuoSEcC&pg=PA203&lpg=PA203&dq=Gregg+Matte,+thoughts+on+drinking&source=bl&ots=JLZyYhHFq&sig=WKggUecHItsIalmOs8RbG8yaYBs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NRDBVIHHNoGKNqbegLAN&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Gregg%20Matte%2C%20thoughts%20on%20drinking&f=false .
Sunday at 0-Dark-Early (4:30am), 11 of us will be headed out to Lafayette, IN for the annual Biblical Counseling Conference. I am soooo looking forward to getting a spiritual “refill”. Each conference has been a wonderful challenge and learning experience for me. Please pray for us for spiritual, emotional, and physical health and stamina. And please Pray for Tom Toone, who will be delivering the Sunday Message.
Oh… And what’s February 14th? Yes! Valentine’s Day. It might be kind of a “Hallmark Holiday”, but pity the spouse who forgets it… LOL! And looking ahead: February 22nd we will have our next Prayer Service along with Communion. It is always a good time to pray!
Love you all. Have a wonderful and safe week. And I will see you again on the 15th.