Monthly Archives: April 2014
Hypocrite! Bigot! Zealot! Today in the States, such words are used to describe those of the three major monotheistic religions of the world with a major emphasis being on those who claim themselves as Christian/Catholic. But are these terms valid? Do they hold any weight? Today, most Americans claim Christianity as their religion, but are they even Christian? For many it is merely the religion they were born into and yet walked away from since adolescence. For others, it is merely a thing you check off on a personal Facebook profile after race and political view. However, there are those who more than claim it but also practice it, yet even then they differ in their actions. So who are the real Christians and who are the fake ones? Who are the hypocrites, bigots, zealots and so on?
St. Paul in his letter to the Romans establishes first and foremost that those who seek to be followers of Christ are those who confess openly and believe within that He is Lord (i.e. Yahwheh), acknowledge that they are sinners in dependence upon His merciful salvation,and seek to follow Christ in thought, word, and deed. So this is the first distinguisher between a real versus a fake Christian. Though it is easy to run one’s mouth confessing things, it is another thing to believe what you are saying and live it out. It is the one who actually believes and lives it that makes them a Christian. Many today say they want to “thank their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” in their speeches yet do not follow Christ and continue in their sinful lifestyle. These people deceive not only Christians but also non Christians by their words and consequently their actions bring a taint on the name Christ and Christian. Sure, they talk the talk but do not walk the walk. For example look at those who used the name of Christ to promote violence, death, self gain, and manipulation and judge their fruit according to the scriptures. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23
In one of His most popular messages, Christ calls His followers to beware the “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” These are people who claim to be His followers, yet are really not and are ultimately out to destroy the Church. In another teaching He warned His followers that many would seek to deceive them using His name. Christ continues in His message to offer the solution to this dilemma of struggling with discerning the character and realness of one’s faith by “watching their fruit and judging accordingly.” In addition to establishing and defining what makes someone a Christian according to the New Testament, scripture also provides further guidance on discerning the realness and quality of one’s faith.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” These words of Christ resound such simple truth that what we focus on reveals what is in our heart. Even the great philosopher and thinker Solomon once said, “For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.” For the one who confesses Christ their fruit begins with what they treasure. Do they focus on the external treasures of money, title, and popularity? Or do they focus on the internal treasures of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness? For the true follower the internal is greater than the external, but by no means does that mean if you can make money do not. It simply means it is not your master.
Alas, if this was the only separation between Christianity and fake, or rather Facebook Christianity, then the former could easily be misconstrued for various other religious beliefs; thus, the differences go further. The main issue comes down to holiness and love, which are both two major themes throughout the Bible and the Christian life. To the Christian, holiness is pursuing the ways of Christ. “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” These words from the Scripture ultimately mean to pursue a higher standard of living, a life free from sin. This does not mean Christians are perfect or claim to be perfect! It merely means they are called to pursue holiness, pursue being the key word. The calling to love is more than being kind; it is preferring others over oneself, helping, fighting for another, guiding others, etc. The one who loves God, others and themself overflows with the fruit of Christ. 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
For most Christians the line between walking in love and holiness is hard to reach, and many tend to lean one way or the other. This leads to what many see as “Bible Thumpers” or “Zealots” because they focus so much on holiness that they forget about the calling of love and step into religious legalism. This group focuses strictly, for the most part, on performance void of love and their hearts are not connected with the love and mercy of Christ. This is very easy to do. For others they begin to steer so much on love that their lifestyle is void of holiness. In otherwords, they may in “love” not address their friend’s sin with an anger issue; but in reality theuy are doing them a disservice by not calling them higher. In reality this tends to breed people who allow others to sin because they are afraid to offend them because they want to show love. Both sides can look and perhaps even become hypocritical when not balanced, but alas only God can read the heart. This is the fine line all Christians must find.
Finally when it comes to real Christians versus fake ones we must see both as a whole. It is very easy for one to claim being a Christian and yet live a lifestyle of sexual immorality or other “sins.” The difference between the real and the fake is that for the latter they tend to not really care about stopping. However, for the former they do care and they are seeking ways to stop through programs, accountability, or other means. Yet even with some Christians they may not be aware of their shortcomings. For others, it may not be the right timing to address their pornography addiction, for instance, because perhaps they might be focusing on their alcohol addiction or something like that.
With today’s media putting a major focus on fake Christians and the shortcomings of the real ones, it is very easy for one to see them as one in the same. However, there is still a major difference which comes down to knowing what the Bible defines as a real Christian and if the person produces the fruit of a real Christian. This is why it is not the role of those outside of the Church to judge whether they are or not, but the Church’s, which sadly does not always happen. In the end it is those who claim to be Christians but do not acknowledge their dependence upon Christ and follow Him by pursuing a lifestyle of love and holiness are your wolves and those who do are your real Christians. Nevertheless, not only is there a difference between real and fake Christians, there is also a difference between those Christians who have “good fruit” and those whom are misguided and have “tainted fruit” **He may wonder what you mean by “tainted fruit “for all are not Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Let the babies come on in! Some have suggested lately that the U.S. should limit or at least highly encourage citizens to only have two children per family unit. What is this? Communist China? The idea that a nation would limit two children per family is completely absurd. A nation cannot grow in this manner. Literally it cannot grow! For any nation to grow in population even but a little there must be three or more children per family, anything less will stagnate the population or even decrease it. But more citizens would not be the only reason in and of itself, for with the increase of children would come many benefits to any nation.
For instance, when the birth rate rises, jobs will rise-specifically in the fields of medical, agricultural farming, and education. When the birth rate increases, the needs for medicine and food will always increase with the new populace. On top of that, more children means more teachers, which will create more jobs. It also puts a higher demand on education reform. Sure, this is not a lot of jobs, but those who have the children will also become better workers. Why? Because with bigger families comes a greater need for parents to be more involved with their children on a day to day basis. And when parents have a greater connection with their families they tend to always have a stronger sense of incentive to provide for them, which will lead to harder workers. Though this is not always the case, it is still truth. Those who have a stronger relationship with their families almost always work harder because they are working for someone, especially when for multiple children.
In addition with the increase in jobs and better workers comes a much larger population, which ultimately means a bigger military when they come of age. Nations like China can merely use their population size as a simple military deterrent because who wants to mess with a nation whose population exceeds a billion? Along with population growth comes a larger active military which is always a great military deterrent, just look at North Korea’s million man army. Thus with the increase in population comes an increase in military strength, if needed.
However, military is not everything, for with the increased population comes an increased number of tax payers which is always quite beneficial to any nation suffering from severe debt. As the rise of these new taxpayers comes, so does the next wave of inventors, pioneers, artists, and thinkers to help strengthen society, especially if properly raised and educated.
Lastly, children from bigger families tend to more easily learn very helpful life skills and character traits like competition, sharing, serving and other characteristics that an only child may not get as easily. These life skills and character traits has the potential to go on to better improve the state of society as a whole, given that the children learn these traits.
So should the U.S. discourage families from having more than two children per unit? May it never be! It would be complete folly as downsizing will not work, for if society as a whole is greatly strengthened with more children then we should encourage it. If anything should be discouraged it should be children outside of marriage and abortion if and when possible. For how can a nation or a society truly benefit long term from killing off its citizens because they do not want them? How can we fully raise good citizens in broken homes when the statistics show that the children will have a much harder time succeeding?