All of us have encountered Christians who just had a way of hitting all the wrong notes, bless them, and making everything worse. And you wish there was a guide that they could use to simply “know how to be”. Likewise, I think many of us want to go out in the world, but we want to avoid coming off like those other Christians. So the rest of us also need to “know how to be”.
Thus, I present to you, Know How To Be: Volume 1 (I invite you to make suggestions for items to place in future volumes)
1. Speak when it’s welcome. When there’s trouble and pain, heal the pain, and assist with the trouble. Then when the time comes to speak up, you will have earned that right. If nobody asked for your opinion, that probably means something.
2. Avoid prejudice against any one type of sin. There are no degrees of sin, and there is no sin that puts you in a category where Christians get to look down on you or treat you different. Non-christians know this to be the case, so when they see you single out one group for exclusion, they see you as judgmental people who violate the tenants of your own faith, and totally exclude you from being an influence on them. In a missions context, we call that “total failure”. Don’t be that guy.
3. Avoiding one type of sin doesn’t give you a special status. So you never had intercourse with anyone. Good. Well done. You’ll be glad you waited for your wedding day. But can you call that “purity”? Nope. Not even close. The biblical definition of purity is “like God in perfection”. That doesn’t apply to you, or me, cupcake. Use the right words, know how to be.
4. Don’t use fear to manipulate. People are afraid, and that seems like a really convenient point of manipulation that you can use to get them to do all kinds of things: read the Bible, go to church, put money in the plate, you name it. But fear is a tool the enemy uses, one you’re meant to de-fang and rob of it’s power. Courage is the Godly virtue you’re meant to be calling people to.
5. Don’t use shame to manipulate. Shame is for people who aren’t forgiven and who have been rejected. That’s not us. We need to be exhorted in the opposite direction, to become more zealous and motivated to throw off the shackles of those sin areas of our lives and move forward.
6. Don’t use guilt to manipulate. Guilt drives me further from God, it makes me feel as though I can’t approach Him. This creates the distance that keeps me sinning. If you try to make me feel more guilty about my sin, you’re basically throwing gasoline on a fire.
7. Don’t question my commitment. I’m committed to the Lord, okay? If you want me to be more committed, help me eliminate the things holding me back. Otherwise, quit beating a dead horse, and know how to be.
8. No more gimmicks. We all love the skits, and games, and fancy production values, but in the end, we all need to hear a good word that will set us free. Give us that, and we don’t care how low-tech it comes across.
9. Don’t preach things that are actually meant for you. You know that fired up sermon on porn? We know that’s because you fell off and watched some porn last night. You know that bitter little Bible Study on betrayal, we know that’s because someone let you down. You know that talk you’re writing on politics? Don’t. Ministry isn’t about you, it’s about us.
10. This sermon is for us. We’re all happy for you that you know a lot about the book of Amos, and we all appreciate that you want to share that with us, but we’re not here for you to talk about the things that excite you, we’re here because we’re trying to walk this Christian walk, and it isn’t going so well. We need you to start talking about Biblical stuff that relates to our broken lives, and helps us find spiritual healing.
…Let’s face it, most of us have done at least one of these things on this list, so let’s all come together and make a commitment to pray, to stay in the Word, and know how to be.
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