Living different makes all the difference to those around us.  No, really.  It is one thing to profess Christ with our mouths, and it is another thing entirely to proclaim Him with our lives.  If you were mute, would your life speak Christ to everyone around you?  Does it?  Do people meet you and think something along the lines of “A Christian life can actually be lived”?  In my life, the people who have had the most impact are the ones who have lived out their faith through the sum of the actions as well as their words.  It was that way in recovery, and it is more than that way in following Jesus Christ.  No one likes a hypocrite.

In the past, my biggest complaints against Christians and Christianity were in fact my experiences with people who called themselves Christians.  I saw them as a bunch of people who spoke out of the side of their necks.  With their lips they professed the name of Jesus, and then told me I was going to hell for smoking a joint.  These same people were chugging a beer while saying it – so what they said had little impact.  But that was a long time ago (back in the 80’s).  The more recent experiences unfortunately tend to take place in various church settings.  God hates sin for good reason, and many houses of worship have fallen to sin.  I realize we all sin, and to think we do not is to call our Lord a liar.  But there is a pretty big difference between trespass and straight up chucking the commandments aside and diving head first into an affair with someone.  Both separate us from God, but one is active in pushing God out, the other is more of a passive departure of Gods spirit.

We who call ourselves Christian have made an outward statement that we are married to Christ.  After all, are we not the bride of Christ?  The church is called both bride and body.  If we use biblical marriage as the model, we have been created to become the perfect helper for Jesus Christ.  How is your faithfulness doing?  I have met many who profess Christ but cheat on Him all the time with other non-existent gods.  I have listened to scores of people who say they love Jesus, but are really married to their careers, their kid’s sports teams, their retirement account, their beer, their love of wine, their golf games, their vacation days in Disneyland, that weekly trip to the casino, and countless other flings.  It’s hard to talk about what nobody wants to talk about, because I live in a culture that wants me to make nice and say God wants us to have nice stuff, and he lets us go and do things, and isn’t a cosmic killjoy, and wants us to be happy… etc.  Yep. Some of that is true.

All too many times I have heard “moderation”. Is it moderate to say something like “Love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul, mind and strength”?  Do you love your spouse with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?  Do you cheat on your spouse?  Do you go out and have affairs on a regular basis because she or he forgives?  Do you tell your myriad of lovers that it’s OK because your spouse forgives?  Why do I have the same dirty feeling when I meet people who live a dirty-dirty life and claim to love my God?  They are the first to say “Don’t judge me bro” and the most likely to be living in the sin-repent cycle so common among surface Christians.  Someone told them that if they said a prayer once, the were good to go, and they never matured.  I feel for them.  I pray God will be merciful with them.  But it doesn’t change who He is and unfortunately, it also doesn’t change them.

God is all about change.  How many times do we have to read it?  Have we been listening to His word?  GOD CHANGES US.  He changes hearts, He changes minds. He makes a way. He changes the desires of our hearts and then gives us the desires of our hearts. He gave us the example of Israel, how he transformed them.  He showed us what change meant when he came to earth – and transformed all those who would be changed and took several normal, if not blue collar members of society, and turned them into special messengers who quite literally changed the world.  In His presence, Moses glowed…even his skin was changed.  In His presence, the flesh dies.  We are made new and right.  Jesus takes our filthy rags (our actions and good deeds) and exchanges them for Himself – He clothes us in His righteousness.  We are changed in Him, by Him and through Him.  Without Him, there is no change.  Without him is only death, the sentence we were born into.

Jesus is both the Bread of Life and the Living Water.  Maybe it’s time to go on a bread and water diet.  It is time to eat His flesh and drink His blood.  It is time to start living in a way that leaves people wondering “Just who is this God?”.  Our love to overflowing should be evident to all.  Please, all you who call themselves my brothers and sisters, before you tell me how God is providing all these material blessings in you life and vacations and whatever.  Please remind yourselves of the fact that you are now priests.  As priests, you have no inheritance in the land for The Lord is your inheritance.  He is your inheritance forever.  He is your reason and reward.  He is the one you are to love with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  If you live that way, none will have an excuse.  If you continue to serve yourselves, you are no different that any other lip-flapper, pimping their wares in the marketplace.  Please stop selling snake oil and start pouring out the oil of joy – the world wants to see it, but in the meantime, they will mock and ridicule your half-built and then stopped new creation: for spirit discerns spirit.  The priests were allowed to partake in the very best of the land – but they were all about God’s business all the time.  If you tell me with a straight face that that’s you (all about God’s business all the time) – well then, please ignore this message.

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  We will seek Him daily and if we are walking in another way, we will repent.  We will change our minds and begin taking action in that moment.  We will correct our course and walk towards our King, Lord and savior.  What a journey.  From the lives we had to the new life in Him.  Repentance is not saying sorry – it is changing mind and actions.  May we all repent and seek the Lord and live the way he intended so we may fulfill the ministry He has for each one of us.