“Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”
(Romans 12:3 NLT)
Is it possible to become so God conscious that we become discordant with God, moving into a realm of hyper-faith of sorts? I think so – we can do that. Of course, as followers of Jesus, no one will argue the necessity of staying in touch with the Holy Spirit, of being responsive to his leadership and guidance. Nor will we downplay the sovereignty of God over our life and affairs. We readily acknowledge being the created and not the creator.
However, we can become extreme in our thinking when crossing every biblical “T” and dotting every spiritual “I” is neglectful of our responsibilities as parents, as husbands and wives, as Christians. For example, Jesus spoke harshly of the religious leaders in Matthew 23 because of their hypocrisy.
They excelled at looking pious, at keeping the fine points of the law, but missed the spirit of the law. They knew what to do, how and when to do it, but missed the underlying truths the law conveyed. Put in modern terms, they knew how to look and act Christ-like; but failed to grasp the heart of Christlikeness – the attributes that accompany a mature faith; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23a).
To be Christ-like, believer, is to exemplify Christlikeness. It’s not about crossing T’s and dotting I’s. It’s about the life you live and the things you do when no one is looking. It’s about being a family man who loves his wife passionately and nurtures his children with enthusiasm. It’s about caring for others, seeing needs and meeting them as you can. It’s about giving a cup of cold water to the thirsty; hugs to the hurting, a phone call to the sick and sharing an umbrella on a rainy day with someone you’d just soon not be seen with.
Yes, yes, yes; reading your Bibles and going to church on Sundays are vital things you want to keep high on your “to-do” list, and personal time with God is invaluable in your spiritual growth. But, there’s more to doing what Jesus would have done than just that. In God’s economy, like rocks beat scissors – mercy trumps sacrifice. In our effort to walk the walk (as the oldtimers would say), are we straining out gnats and swallowing camels?
A pastor friend once shared the story of a member of his small flock who had missed church a number of times due to a heavy work schedule. Visiting with him over coffee one evening, the member told the pastor of having promised his wife and children a day at the lake when he had time away from the job. He was concerned, though, that the one day he got would be on a Sunday, and he did not want to fail God, but neither did he want to continue to disappoint his family. What to do – what to do? The pastor didn’t have to pray about it or take a time to think it over; there wasn’t a moments hesitation in his offering the use of his boat.
Let’s not get so godly that we miss God.