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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Whole Package



Have you noticed the phenomenon? Christians don’t look like Christians any more. If you were to do a line-up, you would have a hard time picking out which people are Christ-followers.

A singing group sings a hymn. It is gorgeous music and perfect harmony. The video sweeps a beautiful natural scene, and most of the singers—all men—have shoulder-length and longer hair.

A woman blogs about the Bible and loving God—and she obviously does love God—yet she’s wearing skinnies and a shirt with boots. In the summer, you'll find her in mini dresses. She has a beaming smile and everything else about her shows that she indeed loves the Lord, but her less-than-modest dress confuses the rest of the package.

A man goes to church, dots his i’s in the right places, and crosses his t’s. He posts Bible verses on social media. Yet, he goes home and shakes his wife by the shoulders and screams at his children.

A woman sings like an angel. Her face glows, and her gestures are timed perfectly. At home, though, she hates everyone . . . even God sometimes. She is grouchy, icy, and hides behind the walls of her house. She says she loves the Lord, but she displays otherwise—unless she's in the glow of the limelight.

What’s the problem?

I think we need to get back to whole-package Christianity. It will look different for different people. I believe our style, expression, and even lifestyles will vary according to the will of God for us and our innate personalities. We’re talking about the whole person, the whole impression. Mostly, we’re talking about obeying Scripture where the Bible is clear.

I would venture that the men in that singing group haven’t read the verse, Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? (1 Corinthians 11:14) Maybe they’re not professing Christians at all. I don’t know. It just seems incongruous that a group of men would be singing so beautifully about the greatness and grandeur of God and look shameful, according to Scripture.

It’s much the same with the lovely Christian woman who dresses immodestly. With her heart and mouth, she proclaims Christ--but she calls attention to her body. She’s sending a mixed message. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works (1 Timothy 2:9-10). She has the profession of godliness and the good works; she only needs more biblical packaging.

The man who’s a saint at church and goes home and mistreats his family is disobeying two clear commands in Scripture. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered (1 Peter 3:7). When he doesn’t treat his wife with honor, even his prayers are hindered. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

The woman who sings beautifully and shines when she’s in front of people is a performer. This isn’t necessarily bad, since God made all kinds of people, and she can give Him all the praise for her talents. Her problem is that she’s not content when she’s not in the spotlight. The Bible says, But godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).

What’s a whole-package Christian?

It’s a person who follows scriptural commands in every area of his life. He’s someone who looks like and acts like a Christian. It’s someone who wants to please God from his heart.

Are you a whole-package Christian? No one pleases God all the time. There isn’t a Christian on the planet that always gets it right. And, there are some gray areas—where the Bible doesn’t exactly make it clear where to draw the line. For those, we need godly discernment and prayer. How can I please You, Lord? He’ll let you know!

To be a whole-package Christian, you need to:
  1. Know your Bible. Find out what God says a man/woman needs to be like.
  2. Be willing to change. When you see something spelled out in God’s Word, be willing to admit you have it wrong and change. In prayer, ask God to give you the strength and determine to please Him.
  3. Squelch rebellion. The Bible says, For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king (1 Samuel 15:23). Rebellion and stubbornness about the Word of God cost this king his crown. It’s equated with the occult, sin, and idolatry. Be willing to be molded by God’s hand.
  4. Change what needs changing. Actually do it! If you need to cut your hair, change your wardrobe, deal with anger, or become content, do it! If it’s another area, do it. If you truly want to please God, take the steps needed.
By the way, all through a Christian’s life, God is molding him and changing him to be more like Christ. We call that process sanctification. It’s God working in us through the Word and the Holy Spirit, and our reacting to His instruction. The Bible puts it this way: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:1-3a).

Be the whole package!

  

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