Journal Entry // August 26, 2022
It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. (ESV)Galatians 6:12
We are all tempted at various points in our life to “make a good showing” with how we present ourselves to everyone around us. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that we will default to this heart attitude if we are not intentionally seeking to daily examine ourselves by the word of Christ through the Spirit that dwells within us. The error we so easily slip into is that we would much rather be accepted than ridiculed. We would much rather be praised than persecuted. We would much rather be seen as modern and enlightened than holy and full of the Spirit. We would never say it that way and we would surely present it as a form of holiness, but nevertheless, we find that it is easier to swim along with the current of modernity than to swim in the current of righteousness. We want to be well thought of and have our name lifted up in the different spheres of influence in our lives and we sacrifice the one thing that can bring us satisfaction and joy. Only Christ knows us and values us. Only Christ loves us and rescues us. Only Christ can bring true acceptance and joy in this life. Is he not worth the struggle against the deception and lies of this world?
It seems so harmless at times to hide from myself all that the word of God clearly teaches on a subject. It is just a matter of simply not speaking the truth at an opportune time. This is easily done all day long as I interact with various people in the world. Times when an opportunity comes for me to share the truth about a challenging topic and I stay silent. It’s not always necessarily bad to stay silent. There are good reasons and future opportunities based on these particular times of silence. The silence I mean is the one where it is clear that a well-spoken word of wisdom about the truth of God would shine the light of the gospel into a dark place. Why do I hold back at these moments? Typically it is out of fear. A wrongly placed fear of how I will appear to the world and the fear of retribution and persecution. It’s true that the persecution I face is usually not the physical violence of persecution. Rather the persecution I face is in a loss of influence, financial opportunities, and shaming. I choose to stay silent at times because I fear the tools and weapons of this world more than I trust and believe in Christ.
There can be a second side to this “good showing” in that I can err in the other direction and not be silent for the wrong reasons. This would be to impress and receive praise from the circle of friends and influence that I do have in my community. In order to do this, I can hyperfocus on the sins of others and begin to bring the same worldly weapons upon them that I myself am afraid to face. I will slander and degrade someone with my words by focusing so intently on their sin, that I give no space and opportunity for the gospel to change their life. In truth, I only see their sin at times and I lose sight of the person. This person is an image bearer of God and I want to share the gospel with them. Sinners are going to sin… I should want for them the very thing I want for my own life. I want the gospel of Christ to change me. So instead of bringing judgment and condemnation, I want to come with the grace and mercy and patience of Christ. As he has already done for me, I want to see done in the life of the person I am engaging.