My Granddaughter is just starting and completing her teenage years; at least, that is the attitude and action that she displays. During her “right of passage” she displays all the characteristics of a person under construction, while at the same time exhibiting a “green card” mentality which permits her a trial role in womanhood.
I have found a growing number of new Believers who work from the outer man to the inner man. In other words, they adopt the outward displays of a Christian, with the hope that the inner man will grow accustomed to his life changing display. They go to church, pray, read their Bible, change their vocabulary, dress modestly, abstain from worldly vices, and generally display what is expected of a new Christian. These things are all staples of the Believers walk. The problem is we have put the cart before the horse. It is more than mimicking the outward displays of other Christians. It is the changing of the heart. It is not copying the life style of other Believers. It is becoming the person God wants you to become. It is not the mixing of two natures. It is the birthing of the very nature of God. It is not fitting into a new way of living. It is a new and living way. It is not a revising of one’s thoughts and actions. It is having the mind of Christ and following His actions. It is not a temporal excitement. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory that leads into His presence. It is not mind over matter. It is spirit that really matters.
One of the causes of lukewarmness and inconsistency in Believers is works that have overshadowed faith. Some believe if they follow the typical Christian pattern they are “saved” and have a place in eternity with God. Salvation is not through observances and displays, but through the heart. Going to church does not makes a person a Christian any more than standing in a garage make you a car. Playing a role does not make you a Christian. A changed heart through the blood of Jesus Christ makes us a new creature. A changed heart renews our mind which leads to a transformed person. Holiness dwarfs prosperity. Peace overshadows anxiety. Truth transcends reason.
How many people have had an altar experience that was a result of an emotional coaxing instead of a broken heart responding to the Holy Spirit’s invitation? Jesus’ teaching of the Sower is a classical illustration of how some people respond to God’s Word. Satan will stand between the Word and the hearer. He will bring confusion to the hearer which limits his understanding. He will cause persecution and tribulation to keep the individual from solidifying the Truth. He will allow money to choke out the Truth. These are illustrations of “emotional hearers” that make up so many churches today. Jesus then illustrated what constitutes the true Believer. It is the person who receives the Word, understands the Word and bears fruit. The Word goes to the heart and then is displayed through actions that spread to others. (Matthew 13:18-23)
My Granddaughter will learn soon enough that the way to adulthood is not through conforming to peer pressures and “tribal” membership, but submitting to the Potter that will mold her into the adult He desires. (Jeremiah 8:6) True Believers are made from the heart outward, not the head downward.