“The vows of God are on me, and I may not say to play with shadows, or pluck earthly flowers, til I my work have done, and rendered up account.” – Amy Carmichael, “God’s Missionary.”
We as Christians are called to live a certain type of life, to stay away from sin, to strive for holiness (for our God is holy and we are called to be Christlike.) and to be witnesses. Whether you are called to be a missionary in another country, or if God has a plan for you near your hometown where you are comfortable, whether He calls your brother to be a pastor, or your sister to be a teacher, whether you are destined by God to do this, or that, He also calls us to be preachers. We preach not only with our tongue, but with our lives. Everything that we do should bring glory to God. We will fall short from this, of course. We can’t possibly be holy on earth, for we sin and make mistakes daily. We can’t possibly be perfect witnesses, be complete salt and light in this world, because we sin daily, but we still must strive towards holiness not to please ourselves and seem to be above those who are living in a more sinful way, but to please God and be good influences to the world.
In Amy Carmichael’s book “God’s Missionary” she tells the story of a woman from India. During a conversation with a missionary, this woman was very obviously angry with the missionaries in her country. When asked why, she said “You missionaries say one thing and do another! And who can say you missionaries lead specially holy lives? We Indian Christians observe! We observe you not only when you are at work but when you are off work, too! Is there anything remarkable about you? Are you burning hot people? We look to you to show us patterns, and you are showing us crooked patterns!” And my, this part convicted me. God spoke to me through these words and I asked myself a question…am I showing others a crooked pattern? Am I burning hot for God? This was a great reminder. The world is watching us, Christ followers. They may spit at us and mock us, but they are watching us. You may feel like you are getting nothing done, like you can’t touch these souls. These people have hardened hearts, look at the state of them! But let me remind you…you were once in their state. You were once a hardened sinner. But sometime, somewhere, a Christ follower inspired you and you were saved. Not because of that Christ follower, of course. They can inspire us but they can not save us. But whether you were inspired by reading about the disciples in the New Testament, or were inspired by a modern preacher. Whether you are like me and find inspiration in preachers from years gone by, or if you find inspiration in Christian artists. Somewhere along the line, some Christian burning hot for God inspired you. And I want you to ask yourself this question…are you inspiring others? Are you showing them a correct pattern? Or are you showing a crooked pattern?
We often take sin very lightly, especially if we feel like we’re saved so we can do anything we want. I was watching a Christmas movie a few years back – this character was bullying the other kids and being terrible..he knew he was being bad, and would be on the naughty list, but the last ten days before Christmas, he got his act together and did all of these wonderful works because he thought he could act bad for 99% of the year, then act amazingly well for the other 1% and redeem himself in order to receive gifts. Us Christians often think the same way. We think we can live for God on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s at church and then live like Hell on the weekdays and still, somehow, maintain a relationship with God so He can shower us with blessings and give us the rewards of closeness. That won’t happen.
Are we inspiring people spiritually? Are we being helpful, or are we hindrances? When we live sinfully, no matter how hard we try to appear spiritual and holy on the outside, the world will notice. And we will become stumbling blocks to others! This country is going straight to Hell, and Christians are too busy playing with shadows and evil and sin to notice it. Why are we so dead set on playing with the things that are killing us? Why do we want to be entertained by the things that should disgust us? Because we are twisted, we cherish our own flesh more than Christ’s scarred flesh and the lost souls of human beings everywhere.
Regardless of where you are being called to, God has called us all in a holy, divine way. He is God, He is holy, and He is only capable of doing things in holy ways. Our callings set us apart from everything else. As Amy said,
“For our calling, by its very nature, calls us apart from everything else; it has for its object nothing less than this: the showing of Christ, the living of Christ, among those who do not know Him. The love of our God must shine through us unhindered if we would live to Him here, and whatever makes for holiness of life, for the clearing of the glass through which the light shines, this is for us and nothing else.”
We should be God’s, and only God’s. Not wasting precious time by playing with the shadows of death. When we do these things and don’t take Christ and repentance seriously, we will be terrible inspirations for lost sinners. They won’t take God seriously unless they see a major revival in the church and see us begin to take Him as seriously as He deserves, as He commands.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. – 2 Timothy 2:4
Why are we entangling ourselves with this life? Let us focus on God so that we may please Him, who chose us to be His soldier! How humbling is this! How incredible, that God would choose us to be His soldiers, that He would call us to be His missionaries! So let us not walk in this life sinfully, let us not leave a crooked example.