Thursday, May 10, 2007

If you've got it, flaunt it!

I feel as if I've been on an involuntarily imposed blog break. Life here as we near the end of school is so hectic that I find myself incapable of any single coherent thought, and should one happen my way, I then feel incapable of transcribing it in a remotely coherent manner. However, that does not stop me from the attempt, at least today, as you can no doubt tell.

Last night as I was relaxing--okay, dozing--on the sofa, I watched with (some wavering degree of) interest as Anderson Cooper interviewed a self proclaimed atheist who has written a book blaming most if not all of society's ills on religion. He makes the startling observation that we would all be better off without religion of any sort, and that religious people just need to leave everyone else alone. A person's religion is, after all, to be a private matter.

Or, at least that the gist I got. Remember, I wasn't completely conscious the whole time.

I was reminded of a letter to the editor of our local paper dated last fall. I live in a fairly small town here in the South, smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt. God and country, the Bible and the flag, all are cultural norms here. One does not mess with either. Unless of course you are the writer of the letter I've mentioned, a gentleman who evidently deems it necessary to write the occasional inflammatory letter to our paper.

He, like the gentleman on Anderson Cooper's program, is a self proclaimed atheist, and in the letter of note, he accuses Christians of "flaunting" their religion. He declares that "Religion is a private matter best kept to one's personal life, his home and his church."

As a side note, you may well wonder how I am able to quote this man's letter many months after the fact. I actually kept a copy of the paper because my husband essentially dared me to respond with a letter of my own to the editor ; a dare I never took him up on.

Both this letter and the interview featured on tv last night offer much material for discussion. However one point in particular I'd like to make is this: Christians are not the only persons who flaunt what they believe. We all flaunt what we believe. All of us. The way we live reflects what we believe to be true. Our belief system is best measured by our actions.

Think about it. If I believe there is no God and that Christianity is nothing but "religious shackles and ridiculous superstition" (again quoting the letter from the newspaper), then I will reflect that in the way I choose to live my life, in the letters I write to the editor for example, or in my resentment and anger at Christians professing the reason for their hope.

James say it this way:
But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:18
We show our faith certainly by what we profess, but even more so by what we do. We all flaunt what we believe.

This is a sobering reality for those of us who claim Christianity. Listen closely: it is not about what you say you believe. You may claim faith in Christ, yet the way you live will offer proof of the genuineness of that claim.

We all flaunt what we believe. True faith will show itself. Genuine faith will be reflected not only in the words I say, but in the life of submission and obedience I lead. By the same token, if I live as if I am in control, relying completely on my own ability, doing what seems right to me, then I am flaunting my faith in myself, no matter what kind of religion I may claim to follow.

I told you I live in the Bible belt. As I said before, here Christianity is more or less a cultural norm. Certainly there are exceptions, but here most will profess some degree of allegiance to Christ (the writer of the aforementioned letter excluded, of course). Here Christianity is viewed as beneficial and church attendance a mark of "right living." Here many would agree at least with the facts of our faith.

The thing is, agreement or acknowledgment or allegiance, each matter little if my walk doesn't match my talk. Consider Jesus' piercing words in Matt. 7:21,
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is heaven.
Note the contrast between the "saying" and the "doing." He whose life reflects obedience and submission is the one possessing genuine faith, the one who will be saved.

What a sobering reminder to examine ourselves! Is your life marked by obedience? Or is your faith mere lipservice and your life flaunting a belief, not in Jesus, but in your own self sufficiency? Remember, true faith will show itself, not in perfection necessarily, but in submissive obedience.

What the writer of the letter to the editor of my local paper and the author featured on Anderson Cooper's show last night both fail to understand is those who truly belong to Christ, those who know His mercy and His grace, those who deserve eternal punishment yet have received eternal life, those Christians must flaunt what they believe. It is no private matter for us; it is not merely a part of our lives we can relegate to home and church. Jesus is our Life, our Way, our Truth. We will proclaim Him; in the words of Peter and John, we can't help it! (Acts 4:20)

If you've got it, friend, go flaunt it!

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful post! How very convicting to think that the way I act day in and day out shows what I really believe.

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  2. And a great big AMEN to that, friend! Great post!

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  3. What a great response! Absolutely true that we live what we believe. I find it amazing that they think only Christians "flaunt" their beliefs whe in this society every sort of belief, from religious to the bizarre to the depraved is flaunted and put out there.

    I love where you made it personal and said "Jesus is OUR way, OUR truth and OUR life.

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  4. You behave as you believe. You act as you think. You show your faith by your life.

    Will we ever sufficiently get it through our heads? Great post, Lisa. And I'll add to the dare of your husband--write an open letter to the man on your blog! I think you'd write a great response.

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  5. "We all flaunt what we believe."

    So true!

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  6. Four sons, end of school, tired on the sofa and your mind still works so well to express these good thoughts! I want to flaunt it with you my friend..

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  7. OUCH! Great post my Friend. Great post.

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  8. Amen and Hope you had a fabulous Mother's Day filled with rest!

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