Truth is Truth

"You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me." - Psalm 40:11 This is a sometimes monthly column concerning the truth of Christ Jesus and the issues that face our world as published in various newspapers and journals by Pastor Dave Seaford. You can return to the home page of the church by going to:

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Location: Redway, California, United States

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Did you beat the odds?

I don’t know what it is today, but May 18th use to be the day that the average person worked through each year just to earn enough to pay their taxes. This year I read an article that said that the average person would only keep their New Years resolution till the 16th of January. This was based on actual 2005 statistic data collected in a very large sampling throughout the United States. So, did you beat the odds?

It is ironic that we will work 5 times longer to break even financially than we will work to be better people. That is assuming that the purpose of your New Years resolution was to in some way be a better person. Given that I am a student of both human nature and how that nature both engages the Christian faith AND how those of us that are Christian engage those around us (Christian and non-Christian), it is interesting to me that most of us seem to approach the things of the Faith the same way. That is to say, on a 16 day trial basis. When we don’t perceive that it is working for us (i.e. that we are not free of every worry) and we are too embarrassed to admit it, we just go on pretending that it is all great, that our faith is in tact and that we can be Christian without being “too Christian.” After all, those “too Christian” freaks are just a little bit obnoxious. We come up with sayings that make us feel better like: “those guys are too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.” And somehow that is encouraging to us in our pretend Christian world. It is as if we have convinced ourselves that we can be A Christian without being Christian. That is akin to believing that you can be A human without being human. Or that you can be A male without being male. No, we can ACT male without being male and we can dress up a dog and make him look human without him being human. But a female is still a female and the dog is still a dog.

The chronic condition of the church today (at least in America where persecution is still relatively light) is that there are some pretenders that are struggling in their own power to keep there heads above the liturgy acceptance level on Sunday morning and that work hard at hiding out the rest of the week. While not quite wolves in sheep’s clothing, they may be approaching a lesser deception of being A goat in sheep’s attire.

I always felt funny, (ok I’ll admit it, “really stupid”) dressing up in a tuxedo. No matter how good it fit, it really did not fit me. It was stiff, awkward, clumsy, and I was frankly always just sure that I was going to mess it up. I fear that many people sitting in the pews of our churches are approaching their faith like I do a tuxedo. They put it on, on Sunday morning, carefully remove it just after the service and store it away safely in a zippered “clean bag” till the next Sunday they choose to go to church. Church is a special event for them rather than a natural extension of a genuine Christian life.

The reason most people fail at keeping there New Year’s resolutions is that they approach it like an event that once completed will solve that particular perceived problem from that day forward. The truth is that nothing in life works that way. If you loose 15 pounds, it does not assure that you will forever keep the weight off. If you quit smoking, it does not keep the stress of everyday life from pushing you back toward your favorite smoke, no matter what the commercials say to the contrary. And, the habit of church (as an event in your week) does not make you a Christian nor provide sufficient power within itself to keep you on the path of the Christian life.

The Christian, who calls Jesus Lord, is the person who lives like a Christian because of who he is in Christ, not because he is working toward that goal in his own power. His life is a by product of who he is, not a contrived method of who he is TRYING to be. As a result the Christian becomes more and more like Christ throughout his life and that is a mater of his new nature which he purposes to nurture (2 Cor. 5:17).

The end result is that you don’t become a Christian either by proclamation nor resolution. It is the free gift of God, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8 – 9). That free gift must be received, and because we live in a fallen world, must be nurtured. This is one of the great purposes of Church. We can there worship Him for that free gift and at the same time nurture that new nature by the washing of the water by the word (Eph. 5:26). That is to say that we can mature in the Lord by the study and submission to His word.

No, my diet resolution did not go very well. I am just now getting the refrigerator cleared out of all the cakes and candies that so many of you brought me for Christmas. My desire for coconut cake has not changed, but maybe now that the temptation is gone I can loose enough to get back in that cummerbund! Anyway, aren’t you glad that Christianity was never designed of God to be like that? When we are genuinely changed what was once tasty sin, become repulsive and ugly.

For more information on the reality of Christian living go to: There you will find information on the upcoming “improving communication in your marriage” conference. That will be a wonderful first step in nurturing that relationship that God has given you and learning what it is to have a powerful, exciting and godly marriage. It is a lot more effective and fun than trying to fix it yourself, AND, when done God’s way, much longer lasting than the 16 day resolution.