Excel Still More
It seems I am getting into the habit of writing disclaimers at the beginning of posts, but I feel it is necessary in order for my words to be clear and not misunderstood. I write this post to my own shame, as I am in no way guiltless in this subject before God and therefore feel entirely incapable of writing this without being hypocritical. It is not my purpose to be vitriolic or judgmental in any of these words. But I feel the issue is important enough and serious enough that it needs to be written about. Great things are being done by the Lord here in Placerita Canyon and at TMC, but we ought to excel still more.
Brothers, sisters, please consider this question carefully and honestly: Does the world see anything different in us as Christians who claim to love Jesus Christ and care of nothing but the glory of God? We talk much of being a light in the community, of serving the community, of loving the community God has placed us in so they may come and bow before the cross of Christ and proclaim Him Lord and Master. But they see in us something to be desired, or do they see the hypocrisy of those who preach great things but really are no different? I fear the answer is not what we earnestly yearn it to be.
I was talking with a friend of mine about the cafeteria. After I said something mildly disparaging about the food, she had the courage to relay to me something a new chef said to her, “I’m not sure how much longer I can take it working here. The people are so ungrateful, so rude. They steal food and take it back to their dorms, complain constantly, swipe their card and get two dinners–one for them, one for a friend. They claim to be different as Christians, but they aren’t. It was easier pleasing the customers at the five star hotel I worked at.” This man is not a Christian, and this is his flat-out, honest impression of us. Brothers, sisters, our actions can aid Satan in keeping men’s souls blind to the truth and damned to hell. This man sees us in our unguarded moments, our casual conversations when we are not keeping up the facade we display during Community Day or Outreach Week.
This chef sees us for who we really are underneath our theology. Unbelievers have the greatest grasp of how well we apply the theology and honestly act out what we claim to believe because the unbeliever cares nothing of the theology we spout, only how it is manifested in our lives. Are we lights in the darkness? Those in darkness can see light. It blinds them. But the chef says by his words, “I see no light. They’re darker than I am.” We claim to be submissive to the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love. I’ve heard said, “This new chef is terrible.” The fruit of the Spirit is joy. I’ve heard, “I was having a good day until I got to lunch.” The fruit of the Spirit is patience. I’ve heard, “Why can’t they ever serve anything good.” The fruit of the Spirit is kindness. I’ve said, “That food looks radioactive.” The fruit of the Spirit is self-control. I’ve seen people take a bunch of bananas, or entire loaves of bread, or a whole meal for a friend. There is a comment board for food suggestions, let us use it in gentleness and love rather than complain to the point where we’re about to drive away a chef because he can’t stand to be around us–not because of our joy in the Lord but because of our elementary-school attitudes.
It may be said I am blowing this out of proportion, but people’s souls are at stake. How we act is a direct reflection of how much we love the Lord (1 John 2:3-6). He who loves the Lord will follow His commandments. There is no aspect of life which lies beyond the scope of these four verses. For the majority of Christians, there are no huge, glaring sins haunting us. Most Christians are not going clubbing, getting drunk, addicted to drugs, sleeping with their girlfriend/boyfriend, or engaged in extramarital affairs. But the mortification of sin does not end at these things. We think because we are not the “porn-addicted video game aficionados” indicative of typical society that we are holy before the Lord.
And so we, TMC students, are content in our complaining. We are content in our consistent breaking of our oath before the Lord via our signature on the contract to honor and uphold the dress code . We are content defy the authority God has placed above us as we drive 50 miles an hour down Placerita Canyon Road because we won’t get caught. These are small issues to us, but not to God. Ponder upon Luke 23:33-49 and see the cost of sin. For most of us, Christ didn’t die to cover the sins of adultery, drunkenness, or drug addictions. He died in payment for our ungrateful complaining, our contempt for our oaths, our disregard of authority.