Out of the Gray, Part 6

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 20, 2017 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

[This is a multi-part blog post series. Please be sure to read the previous weeks, starting here.]

I enjoy theater, especially being in theater. I enjoy playing different characters and using different accents. When I was a teenager working in a snack bar, I even used a rather convincing British accent to convince a regular customer that I was my own twin brother. It was in good fun, and after two weeks I dropped the accent mid-sentence and let him know I was pranking him. We had a good laugh, once it finally sank in that I really was the same person the whole time - and once he got over the desire to punch my lights out for embarrassing him.

I could pull off pretending in my own context, and where the people around me were not as grounded in British culture as I was. But it was a different story when I went to London. My accent was received well initially, but then true Brits started seeing the gaps in my act. They could hear certain phrases, pronouciations, and references to culture that either seemed outdated or just totally NOT British. Playing a role on stage, or short term in a small context, is one thing, but in real life pretenders can be more easily spotted.

For the final week in this blog post series, read Jude 1:24-25. Why do you think the wicked cannot stand in front of God on the day of judgement? Is it possible to BE good, and not know God or live His way?

Jude makes it pretty clear throughout the message he wrote that there is only one way that is good, and only one key to escaping the "gray" of our culture and the world. We must be CONTENDING, not PRETENDING. We cannot bluff our way past God. And we cannot contend for something we don't actually believe and live.

When we bond ourselves to Jesus, when God is our first priority and His teaching is embedded and growing in our hearts, when we stand for what is good and right and true by God’s standards - contending for the faith - then we are able to discern what is good and evil by the power of God’s presence and Spirit leading us. If we just try to be good and ignore Jesus or pick and choose what we like about the Bible, then we will not able to discern what is good, and God will see our charade as clearly as the Brits saw through mine.

Jude offers us great encouragement for putting aside the act and fully giving ourselves to God's ways. If we trust God and rely on Him, it is He who can keep us from stumbling, and it is He who can rescue us - as well as others through us. It is He who will fill us with joy as He prepares and brings us to spend eternity with Him.

We cannot pretend to be a Christ followers by keeping rules, protecting rituals, dogmatically browbeating people, or blending up all the ideologies of the world and making them sound Christian. None of that is following God, and none of it is contending for the faith. It is just being what jude describes in verse 12: "clouds without rain, autumn trees without fruit, uprooted, and twice dead." No fruit and no root means twice dead. You have no present life, and no future life to come from you.

So, will you come out of the gray?

What do you need to do to get God’s teaching in you so you understand the Bible more and can apply His ways to everyday living? What wise counsel to you need to regain your discernment?

Where have you been hesitating to speak the truth in love? Or where have you been speaking the truth without love, and failing to contend for faith?

I encourage you to get with a small group or have some one-off time with someone who is a few steps ahead of you on the journey with Jesus. And I encourage you, challenge yourself to read and understand the Bible. There are all kinds of reading plans in apps and in the back of Bibles. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into the gray by not knowing what God has taught is the way. And don't allow yourself to be caught pretending when you stand before God. Your life, and the lives around you, are too important to let fade to "gray."

Pray this with me: Lord Jesus, free us from the gray thinking and living in our culture. Raise up those who will stand firmly rooted in your Truth and are confidently living in your power and strength daily. Raise me up to be someone who contends for the faith, revealing your Truth in everyday circumstances. Position me and empower me to rescue those you send me to rescue. Help me to trust you to be the leader of my life, my destiny, and my reward. And help me to lead others out of the "gray" by the life and journey you have prepared ahead of me. In Jesus' name - Amen!

If you want use this series with a small group, here are some follow-up questions to help you.

  • Do I align my life to God’s will, or am I adding God into my will?
  • Do I contend for the faith? If yes, when was the last time I told someone about Jesus?
  • If asked, would non-believing friends say I love them, or that I judge them? Would they say I agree with them or invite them to see things differently?
  • Are we able to discern when community is drifting from God? What should we do, according to Jude, to be equipped to handle ourselves and others to stop the drift? What are the practical habits/actions we need to do to be able to handle divisive people or situations?

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