Friday, December 8, 2017
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A friend of ours is an avid hunter. In fact, so much that he's been known to skip church occasionally during duck hunting season. He's well known in the church, so the pastor notices when he's not there. With a twinkle in his eye, our friend explained recently how he's prepared to handle pastoral questions like, "Where were you on Sunday?" He said he's actually named his duck blinds where he hides to hunt those birds. One he has named "The Word." The other is named "Prayer." So when the pastor asks where he was on Sunday, he simply answers, "I was in 'The Word,'" or, "I was in 'Prayer.'" That's messed up!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Christian Camouflage."
Obviously, this is a hunter who understands the value of camouflage, as in the value of hiding behind some wonderful spiritual words. While his words are meant to be more whimsical than deceptive, they illustrate a deeper and more dangerous issue that is rampant among us church folks. We know how to use all the right Christian words and have just the right Christian look. We put it on every time we walk in the church door, but often it's camouflage that's covering up some issues in our life that aren't Christian at all.
Jesus put it this way in Mark 7:6, our word for today from the Word of God: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." You can say all the good, God-honoring things and still underneath have a heart that is far from Him. A life that has, beneath all that spiritual camouflage, some attitudes or actions that have no place in a child of God, someone who's been rescued at the price of the blood of God's Son.
We forget that God doesn't look at the "outward appearance" but "at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7) the Bible says. In other words, the only One who really matters is not fooled by our Christian words, our Christian rationalizations or our Christian activity. Your whole relationship with Him, His blessing on your life, is all about the condition of your heart.
Could it be that you've been hiding some serious un-repented sin under the camouflage of those beautiful spiritual words? You can be talking about prayer and Bible study in the morning and swimming in the cesspool of Internet pornography at night. Your mouth can be talking about glorifying God, but your heart can be full of pride and selfish ambition. Your Christian words can mask all kinds of hidden bitterness, lust and deception, or a compartmentalized life that's all about Jesus in the God-compartment, but all about you at work, at school, or at home.
You can even try to put Christian words on things that are anything but Christian. You can call it conviction, God calls it stubbornness; you call it compassion, God calls it compromise; you call it love, God calls it immorality or adultery. Isn't it time you looked in the mirror and maybe saw the hypocrite behind the beautiful words? There's freedom, there's forgiveness and there's integrity waiting for you at the cross of Jesus Christ, where you need to bring all the sin that's been hiding behind all that spirituality.
One of the greatest dangers of being in a Christian environment is that you can know the words and never know the Lord. You can have a religion that's all about Jesus and never have Jesus. Jesus said there will be people like that on Judgment Day to whom He will say, "I never knew you."
Could it be you've got Christianity but you don't have Christ? You've mistaken agreeing with Jesus for being committed to Jesus, and that mistake will cost you heaven. But today Jesus brought us together so you can experience what it is to know Him for real. Make this the day you say, "Lord, all this time I've missed You. But I want You in my heart, not just in my head. I'm Yours."
Listen, our website is set up as a place where you can go and actually make sure you belong to Him. Would you go there? It's ANewStory.com. It isn't the rhetoric of Jesus that matters; it's the reality of Jesus. So come to Him today as you really are. There's so much you've been missing. You can have it today.