Thursday, October 09, 2008

Which is Easier?

"Which is easier? To tell this man that his sins are forgiven, or to tell him to pick up his mat and walk?"—Matthew 9:1-8

Jesus was making a point. It is obviously easier to say, "You are forgiven," than it is to command a paraplegic to get up and walk. But to demonstrate his authority to do the first, he proved it by accomplishing the second. He commanded a paraplegic man to get up. And he did. He was healed by the command of Jesus. Only God can do something like that. And only God can forgive sins. Jesus was making clear what type of authority he really had. It was the same authority that God has.

But there is something interesting here. A principle, if you will. It is easier to fake who you are, than it is to prove who you. In fact, most people would rather do the easier thing for risk of being exposed as a fraud. What I mean is, it is easier for me to say that I will stick by you no matter what, than it is to actually do so when my reputation is on the line. It is easier to say that I am an honest person, than it is to remain so when it may cost me more than lying.

  • I can appear like a very loving person. I can be patient, helpful, and accommodating. But am I consistently like that with those who are nasty to me, or even with my spouse?

  • I may appear as a politically astute person. But am I really going along to get along? Simply following the party lines and sound bites of my immediate culture?

  • I may appear as a rebel, or as a maverick. But am I that way when no one is looking?

  • I can come across as gregarious and out-going. But if it requires genuine intimacy, do I retreat or do I rise to the occasion?

  • I may appear patient. But how long have I prayed for that non-Christian friend or relative?

  • I may be bold on Sunday. But I also keep my faith "private" on Monday.

This article is not designed to make you feel guilty about not living up to what you desire to be like. It's about being honest, and becoming real. If you care about God's Word, and you believe the Bible is God's Word, how is that demonstrated in 3D (real life)? This should challenge us, not make us feel guilty—unless you are guilty of something. Instead, lets use these tests to get a more accurate picture of ourselves, and what we want to become. Then we can begin to pray with intention and to go on to maturity.

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