I have a communication problem. You’ll notice I do one of two things, either I will keep quiet or I’ll crack a few jokes that skew the conversation. These skills, or annoyances I’m sure for some, don’t tend to be problematic unless you add the fact that I’m a blunt person. I don’t much care what others think about me given the circumstance. In the words of Popeye, “I yam what I yam!” or better translated as “I am what I am!” Over the course of my life I’ve either hidden who I was or found myself expressing my beliefs in a far more recognizable fashion. Both sides of me don’t live in absolute harmony, nor have either of my sides ever won too many friends.
Relationships That Matter
The best part of my life since I gave my life to the Lord over 10 years ago has been Christ. He has transformed the way I think and act. It wasn’t something I necessarily recognized myself, but from conversations I’ve had with friends or relatives who have known me before I truly knew Christ have shared the same point about how much “I have changed.”
Our lives with Christ cannot be lived on the fence. Being a lukewarm Christian is one way for us to be spit out. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16 NIV). The idea of being a fence sitter scares me and I hope that I never become so passive about my life in Christ that I ever get labeled that. What we don’t realize is that when we try to do the things of this world and take in all its pleasures we are ignoring Christ’s direction for our lives. When we try to do both that is when we are standing both in shallow water and on dry land. While I’m not saying that you can’t do this, I’m trying to tell you that you shouldn’t do this.
Of course the other question to ask is why we would want to live this sort of dual life. What this world offers is passing away into oblivion and dust. The spirit transformation that you have received the moment you accepted Christ into your heart is eternal and will never fade. Why would we trade one for other? It would be similar to giving up a brand new car in exchange for a broken car down one on its last leg. Are you trying to drive the broken down car in your life?
A chapter in the book that I am currently writing deals with the concept of serving God out of or under our own power. The burnout cycle is something I have seen both in my own spiritual life and the lives of others. You probably have seen ministry or church leaders take extended breaks to realign themselves with God’s direction. This is the end of the burnout cycle for each of them. They have reached the point where they need to stop because they haven’t been filled with or taken the time to fill up their spiritual tanks. If we aren’t seeking God daily and being filled with His Word then we are prone to being exhausted at the end of the day because we are trying to live this dual life without God.
Changed from the Inside
The life I led before I came to Christ was a bitter one. I would never choose to go back to that life because I know the destructive forces that I was under during those years. The depression and thoughts of suicide forced me to think that I wasn’t good enough in this world and that no one cared. That moment of transformation was when Christ said, “You are perfect and you are loved by me.” That overwhelming love that He pours out daily was more than enough to satisfy the unquenchable thirst that I was trying to fill with things or people. “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Do you believe that?
If we are walking with Him then we should believe that He will never leave us. However, when we project the same faults that others have personally done to us on Christ then we have tainted our image of Him. He is not like anyone in this world and we should not compare him in the same manner. I’ve heard the argument that most non-believers want nothing to do with God because of His servants. They see the dual lives that we are attempting to live and want nothing to do with Him, because of our hypocritical notions. They would be right we have tried to live the dual life and even they saw straight through it. We cannot do both. We cannot change the world around us unless we have let the change He has given us affect our whole lives, not just the life we live inside the church or around other believers.