Wednesday, August 8, 2012
1 John 5:2-4 says, "This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith."
This is love for God, to keep his commands.
I'm always surprised by people who profess to love God but have a "Live and Let Live" outlook on life. There are two reasons that I can't get on board with this attitude, despite it's popularity in today's church culture.
1. If I truly believe the Bible, then I believe Jesus is the only way to eternal life and salvation. Therefore, I must act and speak into the unbeliever's life if I wish for them to attain and gain that same saving power.
Last week, I was listening to talk radio and the host mentioned that he was a Christian but that he didn't care if you were a Buddhist, Atheist, etc. I understand that his point was that we are all deserving of the same rights as Americans, that all people are to be treated the same. But, my problem is with the words he chose. I specifically remember that he said, "I don't care."
If he's a Christian, he should care. If he believes in the very real eternal existence in Hell, he should care. You should care. I should care. And we should all be willing to lose face in this life, if it means bringing someone with us to the next.
I want to take as many people to Heaven with me as I can. And I shudder to think what God might say if He asks why I didn't reach out to more people and my only answer is, "I didn't want to hurt their feelings or risk looking closed-minded."
There is a second reason why I disagree with adopting a "Live and Let Live" philosophy.
2. If I love God, I love his laws. And therefore, any law-breaking behavior is disdainful and heart breaking. It's true that I can't expect unbelievers to have any interest in the laws that God has given His followers. (After all, how can I expect them to follow the Ten Commandments to the letter, when I have the help of the Holy Spirit and still fail daily?) But that doesn't mean that I have to sit back and, under the guise of 'loving my neighbor,' let God's design for the world be further tarnished.
Loving God but not his laws is akin to being married and flaunting disrespect for your vows. It's like the man who is having an affair and still professing to love his wife. Sure, it can happen, but rarely without severe consequences or complete ruination of the relationship. There's only so long that we can disobey commandments or espouse "interpretations" of them that allow more wiggle room, before our relationship with God is weakened.
And just like we might lose respect for the philandering husband, so should the world lose respect for us when we declare love for God but choose to ignore his laws.
I read recently that an open mind very often means a closed Bible. And I agree. We shouldn't be scared of the world or worry how it will perceive us. Indeed, 1 John 5:4 above says that we will overcome the world in victory!
***If you've never seen the Atheist, magician Penn Jillette's commentary on witnessing (he uses the big word, 'proselytize') I recommend it to you now. Even if you've seen it before, it's worth a few minutes to watch it again. Click HERE.