It would be nice if all self-professing Christians acted Christ-like. I mean, could you imagine? It would almost be like a slice of heaven here on earth. The sad reality is that every tree has some dry branches, and it’s the dry branches that stand out, that catch the eye, and that ruin the esthetic of the fruitful parts.
God will deal with the dry branches in due time. Eventually, they are gathered up and thrown in the fire, and only the fruit-bearing branches remain. The trick is for the rest of the tree not to be so fixated on what the other branches are doing that they too are stunted in bearing fruit. I’m sure it’s come up a time or two depending on how long you’ve been a believer, but some people just can’t help themselves and gleefully point out what others within the body of doing as though they are some stalker keeping track of what they have in their fridge, and if they ate one helping or two of the maple sweet potato casserole.
As with all things, nuance is important. There is a difference between keeping track of how many times someone chews a bite of food before they swallow and pointing out certain things that could put the entire tree and the fruitfulness thereof in jeopardy. If you notice something that threatens fruit production for the entire tree, some malady or disease that can spread and dry up other branches, then by all means, say something.
If, however, you go on a tirade because someone wore jeans rather than slacks at church, or they have a wedding band, or wore earrings, or grew a beard, or, heaven forbid, they read their Bible text off an iPad, then an actual Bible, maybe the problem isn’t them after all.
I like the feel of a Bible in my hand. I always have. That’s a personal preference, though, and it doesn’t make me any more righteous than the guy flicking at his iPad. Sure I make fun of it, but not because I think less of the individual for doing it, just because it deserves a wee bit of mockery. Not for nothing, but my Bible never ran out of batteries mid-sermon; it never locked up on me, nor did it ever inform me that there was no Wi-Fi in the building.
Every time a Bible gets too tattered from use when it starts falling apart, and I have to get a new one, it’s like losing a friend. It takes me a good month to transfer post-its, sticky notes, napkins, slips of paper, and bookmarks into my new Bible, then another month to go through all the notes I scribbled on the edges of the pages.
I’m even particular about the publishing house I buy my Bibles from, and I have bought the same Bible since I was thirteen. I know the feel of it, the heft of it, the thickness of the pages, the grain of the leather, everything that could be known of it because it is an extension of me.
No, I’m not trying to sound pretentious. I’m not one of those guys who can only write his musings by hand, on parchment paper, with a fountain pen or a quill while a maiden plays the harp in the corner. But, when it comes to my Bible, I like what I like, and that’s that.
If it’s an issue of Biblical truth, by all means, defend it to your dying breath. Stand for it, fight for it, defend it, protect it, proclaim it, live it, and teach it. If it’s an issue of preference, with no Biblical support for you not approving of something other than that you don’t personally like it, then maybe pull back on the Ichabod throttle just a smidge.
God never promised everyone would agree with your viewpoint all the time. He never promised you wouldn’t be disappointed or disillusioned. He just promised you’d never be disappointed or disillusioned by Him!
There are three Nazirites in the Bible. John the Baptist, Samuel, and Samson. If any of them shaved their heads or drank alcohol, they would have broken their vow, and it would have been counted as a sin against them. Is it because, in and of itself, being clean-shaven or consuming wine is sinful? No, it is because they made a vow before God and consecrated themselves in such a manner.
If God impresses upon you to abstain from something, then do as He commands. By the same token, it was something He impressed upon you and not upon everyone else!
If the Lord told you to only eat locusts and wild honey, that was for you. John the Baptist didn’t go around preaching that everyone should eat as he ate but that they should repent and bear fruit worthy of repentance.
When the message veers from the cross, from repentance and sanctification, and the focal point is something other than Christ and a relationship with Him, then the message is flawed. What is written is written. What men have added on is another thing altogether.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.
Posted on 6 January 2023 | 11:02 am
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