Thursday, January 1, 2015

Don't Waste This New Year

     An article was recently published on News Week entitled, "The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin." The writer describes Christians in a nutshell:

   "Their lack of knowledge about the Bible is well established. A Pew Research poll in 2010 found that evangelicals ranked only a smidgen higher than atheists in familiarity with the New Testament and Jesus’s teachings."

     The writer continues to argue that American Christians lay claim to their faith, but do not read the book that it is based off of. And, frankly, he has a point. It's sad actually, how Christians today scream their beliefs at alcoholics and homosexuals, but do not know the scripture that backs up their argument. And, sadly, I've participated in it.

     In the book of Acts, Luke writes about the believers in the city of Berea. He explains, "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17: 11). As twenty-first century Christians, we accept that what our pastor, minister, or priest says is always true. Of course, we should put enough trust in him to do so, but hearing a message on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday evenings is not enough. We must examine the scriptures daily, growing in our knowledge of God and our faith. By doing this, we can use the Word to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.

      In Revelation 3:15-16, Jesus speaks to the Church in Laodicea saying, "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." This message is much like what Jesus says in Matthew 12:30: "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."

     My message to Christians, myself included, is this: don't waste this new year! Do not lead stereo-typical Christian lives. Be zealous for Christ! Dig into His word and find out what it really says. Find out why you believe what you believe. The God of the universe is speaking to you through the Bible; don't take it for granted. News Week describes Christians saying, "[They], unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words."

     One thing God has taught me in my reading through the New Testament is this: Christianity is not just going to church every Sunday and talking about Jesus, or even just reading your Bible. It's not a part of your life or a personality you put on when you feel like it. It is your whole life. You wouldn't have this life if it weren't for Jesus. I can assure you that when you stand before Jesus, he won't ask what your final GPA was or how many people you told about the gospel, or even how many times you read the Bible through. He will know by looking at you whether or not you accepted Him. Brothers and sisters, saying a prayer and moving on with life doesn't reflect the mindset a born-again Christian should have. You should be so in awe of God that you live every day like it's your last, giving Him glory from morning until night, not reprimanding alcoholics and homosexuals, but speaking the truth with love in your hearts.

     Again, this a wake-up call for myself as well. I have lived a lukewarm life, lacking zealousness and thankfulness, and for that, I apologize, not only to God, but to you, also. I thank God for this opportunity, to be able to share my ups and downs with friends and fellow believers. Thank you for reading. I pray this message will point to Christ and not to myself, that I can be encouraging to fellow believers, and that fellow believers can encourage me in my faith.

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