I heard a young person, we’ll call him Ethan, say that they didn’t want anything to do with God or the church. Of course it broke my heart to hear these words come from his mouth, and I prayed the person talking to him used wisdom in addressing him in his confused state. In addition to being broken hearted over hearing his words, I was also angry. Let me tell you why.
You see, Ethan grew up in church. He saw and heard a lot of foolishness from pew setters in the churches he had attended. He watched hypocrites who always talked like good Christians, but whom he knew for a fact were living in sin. Then there were those who just plain lied. They would give testimonies in such a way to make it seem like God just dropped material things on them just because they asked. Later on, however, Ethan would hear these same folks talking about how they worked and saved for the very items they testified came to them so miraculously! In addition to these atrocities let’s not forget about those professing christians who were willfully ignorant, jealous, prideful and downright mean. Let’s also not forget the preachers and teachers who pitched clichés and gimmicks with no substance to back them up, or who gave blanket instructions they could not explain – the fruit of which was not even evident in their own lives! Ethan saw all of this growing up, and at times he even suffered at the hands of such “good” church folk. This is what angers me about this.
Ethan, and plenty others like him, have been given a wrong view of God and what it means to live for Him. Bad examples in the church are leading many astray. Bad seeds in the church, the tares, are driving the innocent away from the Lord. People like the aforementioned individuals are ruining God; they are killing His reputation.
My question for all of us today is, “are you ruining God?” Everywhere we go we are persuaders either for God or for satan, since we can only live for One or the other. Whether we notice it or not we’re in the proverbial fish bowl. Because we claim Christ, we are being examined daily. So let’s look at some ways in which we can be ruining God – even if we don’t realize it.
Idolatry can involve more than worshipping statues. Our God has standards that we are required to live by. When we live as though He has no standards, as though it doesn’t matter how we live, then we aren’t worshiping The Almighty God of the Bible; we are indeed worshipping an idol god of our own making.
If we are putting things and/or people above God, there is idolatry in our lives. Examples of idolatrous living include putting television/sports before God. We don’t have time for Scripture and prayer but more than enough time for our favorite movie, television show, or sports program.
Idolatry is also evident when those who profess Christ refuse to be different from the world. We want to be like those around us; we don’t want to stand out on our jobs, around unsaved loved ones, in the community etc… We want to fit in. We fail to realize that when we fit in with the goats we will get what the goats get (Matthew 24:31-46).
These days professing believers fit in with the world to the point of picking up their paraphernalia; for example, professing christians happily wearing the signs and symbols of idol worship. If it’s hard to tell the difference between you and the world, from words and deeds to attire and hairstyles, there is idolatry in your life.
You know something; those who love darkness do not want to be mistaken for Christian, for one who loves the light. I remember an interview with one long haired guy who was tattooed up and pierced everywhere. He said the reason he looks and dresses the way he does is because he wants others to know he is NOT a Christian! It is sad that the church now copies the world so much that sinners feel the need to go to extremes to maintain their identity. That is a shame!
Believe me, the world knows what “Christian” looks, behaves, and sounds like. They may not live for God, but they definitely know when we’re not living what we proclaim. The World is watching you and me; they see straight through those who claim Christ but look and live like the wicked when they “think” no one is looking.
There are some other ways in which we can be ruining God in the eyes of unbelievers.
Are we double minded? What message about God are we sending those around us – our children, coworkers, friends and family? Ethan witnessed double mindedness all around him as a child and young adult. His parents and their fellow church-goers were supreme examples. When you tell people to trust God one minute and then say He only answers some people the next minute then you, my dear, are double minded. If I say that God is able to do all things but at the first sign of trouble start spewing negativity and not even give God a chance then I am double minded.When believers live by their emotions, thoughts, and feelings instead of the Word of God they are double minded. Click To Tweet
All too often professing believers live a life of contradiction before their kids and the world. When we do this we ruin God in the eyes of our children and the world.
Ethan is proof that double minded parents/believers begat double minded children (or worse, they fix their kids not to believe in God at all!). Ethan now struggles with the things of God. He scoffs when people tell him to talk to God about his issues; He gets angry when you tell him to trust God about this or that. Why? Because the nominal christians in his life ruined God’s reputation!!! Are we ruining God’s reputation for those in our lives? Remember there are serious repercussions for doing so (Luke 17:1-2).
The Bible teaches us to live a life of constant thanksgiving, and to be content with whatever situation we are in (Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:9). We’re not supposed to be chronic complainers, and we need to consider the message we’re sending to others when we engage in this sin. Yes, sin! It is disobedience (Phil 2:14-15; 1 Thess 5:18; Eph 5:20), it angers God (Num 11:1-4; 1 Cor 10:10), and it sends the wrong message to the world about the God we serve. Complaining feeds a heart of ungratefulness and discontent (James 4:1-3; Heb 13:5). It stokes the fires of jealousy, envy, and unforgiveness etc… It poisons the atmosphere and negatively affects those in your presence. Complaining tells those around you that your God is not enough; He is neither able to meet the needs of nor satisfy His children. Our complaining ruins God’s reputation in the eyes of those around us.
You know, I believe some professing Christians fail to understand the importance of how they carry themselves and take care of what God has provided. But the condition of our lives, homes, cars, finances speak loud and clear to those who are watching us. We aren’t supposed to be undisciplined in any area of our lives; this included keeping our person and surroundings presentable. If you are a believer and have the worse yard in the neighborhood, what does that say about you? What impression does it give others of the God you claim to serve and love so much?
This has nothing to do with how much your home costs, whether you live in city or the country, or what your salary is. Rich or poor, our lives tell the truth of whether we actually obey and appreciate the blessings of God. It tells the truth of whether we are actually living to please ourselves or God.
We must inspect our lives – our ways and actions. Would the Lord declare us worthless stewards?? Is our “Christianity” a joke to our children, coworkers, friends, neighbors…?? Do you care?
A young person once told me that they were made to be uncomfortable at a “bishop’s” house. Why? Because the [so-called] “bishop,” his family, and some of the church leadership were watching a really vulgar rated R movie as though it were a clean, wholesome Bible movie! They were enjoying literal filth and thought nothing of it. The young person was left uncomfortable and confused. The “bishop” and his fellow kristians had a valuable opportunity to be an example, a light in the life of this young person, but instead they chose to ruin God. Was God pleased? NO! I guarantee you He was not. (Romans 1:32; Mark 9:42; Matthew 18:6; Luke 17:2; Psalm 101:3) Could you be ruining God by the things you allow – by the things “you say” are alright?
God calls for us to be patient, merciful, kind-hearted pursuers of peace. We are to be people of love who place the needs of others above our own (Phil 2:3-4). Do we live like this? The world will know we belong to God by our love for one another (John 13:34-35). Who would the world say you belong to?
True believers must take care to lift Christ up and not tear Him down. Those in darkness are watching us and, due to the actions of hypocrites, they are waiting on us to fall; they expect it!! We must remember that everything we say and do matters. If we have children then what we say and do is training them for or against God. Our actions must match our words! Let’s lose the weight and sin, and be determined not to ruin God for the Ethans in our lives.
Until Next time!
I am participating in the following linkups. Check them out to discover inspiration and encouragement from other bloggers!
Have you discovered any ways in which you may have ruined God in the eyes of others?
What did you do about it?
What are some ways we can avoid ruining God’s reputation in the eyes of those who watch us/look up to us?
Does God’s reputation matter to you?
Does your reputation as a child of God truly matter to you?