Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Faith That Makes a Difference: Top 25 Jesus Quotes: #19

It's practically become a cliche'.

Not that I've done the research, but I'm pretty sure if someone took a poll asking non-believers why they don't believe or non-church-goers why they don't "go to church," the overwhelming majority of responses would hang the blame on that sizable swarm of scapegoats called "hypocrites".

Two things about that:

     1.  If there's a hypocrite standing between you and God, guess who's closer to God?
     2.  From Rich Mullins: "I hear people say, 'Why do you want to go to church? They are all just hypocrites.' I never understood why going to church made you a hypocrite because nobody goes to church because they’re perfect. If you’ve got it all together, you don’t need to go. You can go jogging with all the other perfect people on Sunday morning."

But having said those two things, I don't mean to let believers and church-goers off the hook. Playacting at faith (the original meaning of hypocrisy) poses a real challenge for people on the outside looking in.

Which leads us to Number 19 on our countdown of the top 25 quotes about Jesus from azquotes.com. It is attributed to the Syrian saint, Ignatius of Antioch, and gives us a clue to what causes hypocrisy:
"Do not have Jesus Christ on your lips, and the world in your heart."

Another quote from Ignatius really brings it home:
"We recognize a tree by its fruit, and we ought to be able to recognize a Christian by his action.  The fruit of faith should be evident in our lives, for being a Christian is more than making sound professions of faith.  It should reveal itself in practical and visible ways.  Indeed it is better to keep quiet about our beliefs, and live them out, than to talk eloquently about what we believe, but fail to live by it."

Truth is...In the words of Brennan Manning, "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

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