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Are You a Practicing Christian? 

Is a football player still a football player if he is no longer playing football?  Is a Christian still a Christian if he (or she) no longer practices Christianity?  What other kind of Christian is there other than one who practices his or her faith?  Truthfully, there are none, but some operate under the illusion that a mental or verbal assent is all that is necessary.  The key to a successful Christian life, however, is to live your faith on a day-to-day basis, no exceptions, no loop-holes, no cutting corners, no pretense and no hypocrisy.  Although it may be simple, it is not easy.  The difficulty lies in resisting the alternatives.  When the alternative is feasting, fasting is difficult; when the alternative is pleasure, pain seems oppressive; when the alternative is playing, praying becomes wearisome.  But the bitter irony is that sacrificing doctrinal purity on the altar of ease sabotages the Christian’s ultimate goal.  If discipleship is to lead one to a full relationship with Jesus Christ, it cannot be practiced halfway. 

The term non-practicing is amusing.  It is a professional who is not engaged in the practice of that profession, or who claims to believe a certain set of doctrines but does not abide by its mores.  It’s like saying that a non-living person is somehow different from a dead person.  But, the only way authentic Christianity can live is when it is practiced just as its Founder established it.  “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” Ephesians 2:20.  Unpracticed orthodoxy is not viable.  It is an unread book gathering dust on a shelf; a high-powered car rusting away in a garage; a rich harvest unharvested and rotting in the field.  James said faith without works is dead.  “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”  (James 2:17-18).  He was not preaching salvation by works; he was qualifying faith in terms of works.  Those who trumpet their faith but have no practical, quantifiable outcome of their faith are frauds in his view.   

Practicing your faith means living life according to the laws of God.  If you have ever put yourself on a strict diet, or if you have ever committed yourself to a rigorous exercise routine, then you know what is involved.  Walking with God means that every day, a spiritual discipline demands to be practiced: prayer, reading the Bible, worshipping, or sometimes fasting.  But, this is where many people balk.  “I am saved by grace, not by works!” they fume.  “I don’t have to do all that!”  Sadly, they misconstrue faith and works.  Legitimate faith eagerly embraces spiritual discipline; it is the way to prove love.  “I speak to prove the sincerity of your love.” 2 Corinthians 8:8. 

Practicing your faith brings your mind into unison with your heart.  “And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.”  2 Corinthians 8:10-11 (NIV).  If you believe something but do not follow your own beliefs, tension and turmoil set in and you work in contradiction to yourself.  To say, “I believe it but I don’t live it” is a destructive force in your life.  If you profess Christianity, live in accordance with your convictions.  It has the power to lead you to peace with yourself, peace with the world and peace with God. 

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Reader Comments (1)

I dearly love the 'old paths', the 'ancient landmarks', the 'fences ..... '

January 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSydney Heimericks

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