The British Museum displays an ancient Greek writing tablet, the classical equivalent of a child’s copy book of a few decades ago.
The first line on the tablet is written by the master.
The second line is the scholar’s attempt to copy the first line.
Each further line is another reproduction,
but it is clear to see that the reproduction is not of the first line,
but of the previous line.
Consequently, each line shows a wider divergence from the original pattern.
We look at the first line and we see the master’s work.
We look at the second line
and see a reasonable likeness with slight flaws.
We look at the next line and see similarities with obvious flaws.
We look at the last line
and we see something very far removed from the original.
Christians, do we tend to look at the wrong pattern
and thus produce an imperfect copy?
Do we allow other people’s standards to influence us?
Do we allow the worldly concepts portrayed on TV
to influence our actions?
DO WE REPRODUCE THEIR IMPERFECTIONS?
We all know people whom we believe to be “great” Christians.
We admire them and want to live like them, having the faith they show.
However, much as we admire aspects of their lives,
they are an imperfect reproduction of the Master.
No matter how “great” they are, if we desire to be like them,
we are using the wrong standard!
We are like the little boy who exclaimed he was over five feet tall. The problem? He was using a six inch ruler! He was using a wrong standard. We have only ONE standard and when we look elsewhere, we will be deceiving ourselves while on a downhill track.
We need to
KEEP OUR EYES ON THE MASTER
We must focus on HIM
and maintain our focus on HIM ALONE
and NOT on ANY living person,
no matter how good an example we believe him/her to be.
Looking unto JESUS
1 Peter 2:21
Follow His steps
Till we all come . . . unto a perfect man,
unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
or as the Amplified puts it:
the completeness of personality which is
nothing less than
the standard height of Christ’s own perfection
Thank you so much for sharing this!
My husband pointed out just this evening that even the most godly Christian still is imperfect and that I need to stop measuring my own standing with God against the conviction of other people.
It’s a bad habit that has made it difficult to remain focused on knowing Christ personally and learning the lessons He wants to teach me as an individual.
I know what you are saying. There are many Christians who have qualities I admire extremely, and who make me feel inferior. Then I remind myself that I don’t see the whole story: that they have flaws too, and besides that, my ONLY standard is the Lord Jesus.
Now, of course I fall short when I compare myself with Him, but I KNOW He is still working in me and HE sees my future – He sees the time when He will present me faultless before the throne. O hasten that day!
So many times, individuals who were raised in the church, fall away, when they become old enough to live their lives, outside of the confines of their Parents’ homes, and they get a taste of adulthood, the college scene, and the world scene in general. Perhaps, when they were younger, they only went to church because theIr parents insisted they go. Perhaps, they never truly bought into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the plan of Salvation for their lives. Perhaps they were not really interested enough, to study the Word for themselves, but they just went along, until they were old enough, to live as they saw fit. All of this seems to lead back to the fact that they were never fixed and focused on Jesus, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Though it is not God’s will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, He has given every individual who has ever walked on the face of this earth, the privilege of making choices for their lives, whether they choose to follow Him for not! It is totally up to each individual to choose to follow Jesus. I agree with you totally, that “the big need is for children and teens (and everyone) to know WHY they believe WHAT they believe.” Angela, again as you said, Salvation is a work of God, resulting in a relationship with Him, a dependence on Him, and a complete change of life with Him as the Head, nothing more, nothing less. Once an individual decides to wholeheartedly seek the Lord, the Lord who is the way, the truth, and the life, will lead them to the foot of the cross, to the message of Salvation, that they might be saved! The answer to any question pertaining to Salvation, is found in the Word of God! Every individual must seek to know the Lord, for themselves! Salvation cannot be based on the testimony of another, who we hold in high esteem!
Thank you for sharing this message with us. God bless you.
Thanks for your addition here. I totally agree with all you added.
We see so many of our young ones drift away once they go on to higher education. I believe SOME of them had a genuine experience with the Lord and so I believe they WILL be brought back to fellowship with Him, but I despair for them and for the heavy turmoil they will encounter while trying to run their own lives.
As a Christian, committed to following my Saviour, I must admit that at times it is tooooo easy to shift focus. Thankfully, it doesn’t last long because the loss of instant communication soon sounds the alarm that something is wrong – and it must be ME because God never changes. He is always faithful and quickly draws me back to His loving arms.
My thoughts on this post were not regarding salvation, but on living the Christian life, on ethical and moral standards, on acceptable behaviour etc. Too many Christians seem to be persuaded that in order to be “loving” they need to accept wrong behaviour and sinful habits as acceptable and they point to various people (eg a couple living together unmarried) as being “wonderful” people who do no harm to anyone. While this may be true of them, if we focus on the Lord and His teaching, we see a different picture. I have heard many young people question standards by arguing that “So and So do it and they are good people”. Once again, they are looking at the wrong standard and need to focus on The Truth.
Our Lord Himself told us that ….
John 13:15 (KJV)
15) For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
If we all would look to the Lord, and His Word for our example to live by this world would be a different place in which to live. I’m afraid instead of looking to the Perfect One for our example we look to human, imperfect examples for our lives.
Thank you so much ofr this reminder about the importance of looking to Christ and using His Word to direct our lives!
If only . . . . . If only we would all follow Christ in every way instead of founding our behaviour on others’ standards or on the accepted worldly standards. We try but we so often fail – and we are without excuse.
As we encourage one another, may we be shining lights in a dark world.
I have also noticed this “progressive divergence from the source” in our Christian beliefs. One generation teaches their children what to believe, those children grow up and tell their children what to believe, and down through the years, we end up believing something contradictory to the Bible. Even in those cases where a Biblically accurate belief-set is passed down intact, they are simply learned beliefs if one does not independently arrive at those same beliefs by testing them with the Holy Spirit’s instruction. It is Biblically mandated to teach our children about God and the spiritual truths in his Holy Word, but there comes a time when every person must ask the question, “Are these beliefs my own, have I scripturally verified their validity through the Holy Spirit, or do I believe them because someone taught them to me and I can’t imagine believing anything else?” The latter is not Christianity; it is Godless religion.
Even in those cases where one does decide to Biblically verify both his personal and “taught by others” beliefs, if he claims the Holy Spirit led him to accept/re-accept them, and yet they contradict the “Holy Spirit-led” beliefs of someone else, at least one of those individuals was indeed not led by the Holy Spirit, but instead by his own understanding. The Holy Spirit is God and God is truth, in whom no contradiction exists. The Holy Spirit is not going tell me something that contradicts what he tells someone else regarding the same doctrine.
I wonder just how many of us maintain Holy Spirit-led beliefs. Most of us just accept what we are taught, incorporate that with our own understanding, and then try to build an authentic spirit-rich relationship with Jesus Christ.
Paul said in Philippians 2:12-13 [NASB], “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
Sadly very few of us do this as a way of life. We need to get back to the Bible. We need God of the Bible to teach us what to believe and stop relying on Church tradition and our personal understanding. The Holy Spirit will teach us but we must be willing to submit to his instruction, even if that means tossing out a current belief.
Hi Todd. In many decades of teaching children and teens I have found what you say to be true. In response to questions of how/when they became Christians or how they know they are a child of God, I have received such replies as “My Mum said I accepted Christ when I was 4″ or “My pastor told me I am” or “I prayed a prayer” or “I walked to the front for salvation” or similar things. Salvation cannot be based on such things. Salvation is not what *I* have done, but what Christ has done. Salvation is a work of God, resulting in a relationship with Him, a dependence on Him and a complete change of life with Him as the Head.
I believe the big need is for children and teens (and everyone) to know WHY they believe WHAT they believe. We lose large numbers once they reach high school and university and are bombarded with worldly beliefs, standards and behaviour. If they understood the foundational truths they would not be so easily rocked.
Yes, there is only one God and one Saviour and one Holy Spirit. God is unchangeable. While He leads people differently in their different ministries, He cannot give different understanding of His Word to different people. We need to utterly depend on Him.
Thanks for your additions to the subject
Well said, Angela.