widemargin2

The real deal

I must be the luckiest person alive! Some person in Africa that I don’t even know, has emailed to tell me that he’s going to give me buckets of money if I just let him have my personal and bank details. How good is that!?! Don’t worry, I’ve spotted the con. But they are getting more sophisticated, and sometimes I’ve really had to read carefully to check it isn’t something genuine. The best clue generally, is that if it looks too good to be true, then it almost certainly is (too good to be true).

A bit like the false prophets Jesus talked about in Matthew 7:15-23.

They were the ones who were trying to lead people down an easy-looking path: a very attractive form of religion with a comfortable life style and not too many challenges. The problem with easy religion is that it doesn’t develop your character. It doesn’t challenge and change you into the best ‘you’ you can be. So, if you want to know if what someone is preaching is true, take a look at their life. If you can see the fruit of the Spirit all over them – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control – then they are the genuine article. Rub them up the wrong way and see what comes out. That’s the test.

Scary thought. What happens in me when I’m rubbed up the wrong way? When I’m kept waiting, or treated rudely, or unfairly – how’s my self-control then?

When we hear the message of salvation preached, be sure it is no easy sell. The wonderful news is that it costs absolutely nothing to become a Christian – Jesus paid the price for all our wrongdoing once and for all on the cross. That is absolutely true. But, it costs you everything to BE a Christian. God expects a life surrendered to him – that is what Jesus paid the price for. The contractual obligation, actually. Anything less is not honouring our side of the bargain.

Jesus never promised an easy life – just read his parting words in John 15 and 16. “In this world you will have trouble…” But he did promise to be with us, and to empower us to bear good fruit even in difficult times, through his Spirit.

If your Christian life is easy, are you sure you’re on the right path? Short-changing God is not the way to go.

Matthew 7:15-23

Matthew 7:15-23

 

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