Thursday, June 18, 2009

Don't Be a Fool

I was reading through some of my old writings and I came across the following excerpt from What the Bible Says About Goodness by Georgann Bennett. This is what she writes:
For the inspired writers of the Bible, a belief, a reasoned faith in Jehovah, was (and is) demonstrated in the goodness of one’s deeds--the righteousness of one’s life style. Many of us who would bristle up and fight were we to be accused of atheism make such blatant denials of God in the way we do business, the way we treat our children, the way we fulfill our lusts that we have become the Biblical fool (p. 99).

This is one of the the central truths that I want to communicate to people in my life. It is so crucial for people to realize that how they live conveys a message to those around them about what they truly believe. It reminds me of what Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God wrote; “How you live your life is a testimony of what you believe about God” (p. 109, the workbook). Our behavior is an indication of what we truly believe in our heart of hearts.

Stop and think about what your life is telling others about God? If you say: “Yes, I believe in God” and then go out and do things contrary to His will what are people to assume about us? Yes, there will be times when we fall to temptation and sin, but isolated incidents are totally different from a lifestyle sin. In other words it isn’t about the detours of our lives as much as it is about the direction of our lives.

The inspired writers of the Bible expect Christians to live a life of faith which points the world to God. For example, consider what the apostle Peter wrote:
Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world (1 Peter 2:12; NLT).

Peter believes that we can live in a way that brings honor and glory to God. In other words we are more that dirty rotten sinners saved by grace, we are royal priests and part of a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). When we surrender to Christ Jesus He transforms us and gives us a new heart. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that we are new creations because of the transforming power of God. The way we live is the greatest testimony we can offer for God’s existence and love.

The way we live our lives comes down to the choices that we make. “Be careful how your live…” Peter tells us. In other words think about how we will respond to people, to circumstances, and to God’s leading. Think about how you will treat your boss, your husband, your children, or your waitress. We are to be intentional in the way we live, and God’s Truth and Wisdom are to influence the choices that we make.

We are fools when we claim to love God and follow Jesus but live like the rest of the world. It means that we haven’t truly listened to God. We have heard His Word, but we haven’t applied His Truth to our lives. It is foolish to ignore the instructions from the Life Maker as we try to live life. It is foolish to possess the Truth, but not to follow the Truth. We are fools if we all we do is claim Jesus and not follow Him.

The difference between wisdom and foolishness in the eyes of God is a small one. The difference lies in one word: application. If we want to be wise we need to apply God’s Word to our lives. This requires two actions on our part. First, it requires that we commit to regular and practical Bible teaching. We cannot apply what we do not know. Second, it requires that we obey God, even when we don’t fully understand His plan. The future is unknown to us, so we don’t know the consequences to our actions, and there will be times when God calls us to do something that seems foolish and will lead us into great hardship, but we obey God and trust Him with the future. The wisest thing to do is to trust our future to the God who has determined the course of the future.

If we are not intentional in the way we live we will end up being fools. We will be fools because rather than trusting God we allow our lives to be determined by the emotions of the moment. The intentional person is able to rise above the swirling emotions of the moment and make choices that are in alignment with what they truly believe. That person is on their way to being counted as wise.

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