Summary: In times past the theologians, preachers and teachers have, and to some extent still, teach and preach the behavioral modification of the Christian and how they should live. Though this is not totally wrong, there is a problem with it in its practice. Wha
It’s a heart thing
In times past the theologians, preachers and teachers have, and to some extent still, teach and preach the behavioral modification of the Christian and how they should live. Though this is not totally wrong, there is a problem with it in its practice. What needs to be taught is that what is needed is a heart that is right with Christ, the life style will be what God wants. God does not demand us to do any thing, He allows us to chouse what we will do and lets us receive our just deserts for our choices . God has a way of life for us and would love for us to enjoy it, but it is still our chousing to do it or not.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
Sometime ago Sydney Harris, the syndicated columnist, wrote a "fascinating piece about Anita Bryant that I would like to read to you this morning. As you know, Anita Bryant was a self-appointed crusader against gay rights a few years ago. Then she went through a divorce, and acquired a drug habit, and was hospitalized for a long time. And today, she’s not the same person she was back then.
This is what Sydney Harris wrote: He said, "Now that her world has come unstuck, and she is beginning to re-glue it, I feel free to point out that she is a better person than when she was so busy being a ’good person.’ Sometimes we have to fall from grace to know what grace really is... She sounds like a person who has lived and loved and suffered now, and not a radiantly smiling face on a candy box encased in velvet and wreathed with roses and totally insulated from the realities of life. A bad marriage almost wrecked her, but it also saved her, because she grew rather than shrank and expanded her range of sympathies rather than shrivel into self-pity.
The Lord, we are told, works in mysterious ways, and I believe it. Sometimes being dragged into the depths is the only way we glimpse a vision of the heights, being desperate and not being able to be consoled and defeated is the only way we redeem ourselves from pride and self-satisfaction. In pain, Miss Bryant is starting to be a Christian now, which she only thought she was before."
And then these words: "The visible church may have lost a militant member, but the invisible church has gained a new soul. The moral majority may be frowning, but the Eternal Majority must be rejoicing that she has put down the frosty glass of orange juice and picked up the warm chalice of charity." (Norman Neaves, "Come as You Are", February 16, 1986).
It’s a heart thing!!!
We must let go of every thing we were taught about methodology!
We must embrace everything we were taught about truth!
People don’t need behavioral modification they need a heart transplant.
They need to get a heart for God, Given to God, used by God, then their behavior will change.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. (Vs 22)
Sometimes we are great at telling people what to do and how to do it when it comes to Christianity. We even sometimes tell people freely what we want and what we don’t want.
But the problem becomes we can forget what God wants from us and them.
When we love someone with our whole heart it causes us to change to become what they want, what makes them happy. They do not demand us to change but allow us to change for the better. Love puts others first, last and foremost in our minds, lives and actions.
(The Message 1st John 4:16-19) reads
We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God. God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.