I LOVED THOSE SUNDAYS BEST!
It meant I got to stay in the sanctuary for the service. I loved listening to the minister preach. I loved watching all the people as they listened. I loved trying to guess what they thought about what they hearing based on their facial expressions and body language.
A lot of that has certainly greatly influenced my walk with Jesus to this day.
Some of those people were concentrating hard on the ministers words; like they were trying to understand what he was saying, but also, like they were trying to understand what it had to do with them, personally.
(I'm deliberately skipping over the whisperers, blank looks and sleepers, they aren't a good example!)
Those that were concentrating sometimes nodded affirmatively. I liked to think that meant they not just agreed with what was being said, but that they were determined to do what was being said.
Every once in a while I'd see a negative head bob. I imagined that meant they either didn't understand, didn't agree, or perhaps they recognized they were falling short in that area and were silently chastising themselves. Perhaps they determined to do better in that area in the future.
I knew those were the kind of thoughts and feelings I was experiencing.
As I grew older, I found a conundrum to be dealt with. I listened to what was being preached. I even agreed wholeheartedly in most cases.
But what was that supposed to LOOK LIKE in real life?
We were to be kind to everyone - but in real life, unkind thoughts often crammed out all other thoughts when someone was cruel or unthoughtful toward me. If someone was mean to me, should I pretend to be kind?
We should treat everyone the same and love one another. But in real life, there were those people I liked, some I loved, and others I really had no desire to spend any time with, let alone love them!
It took a lot of maturing before I began to understand the practical application of biblical teaching. I hope this short list will help you figure out what some things look like in real life.
- Love your neighbor as yourself - (Matthew 22:39) give others room to grow and change, make space for grace and forgiveness in our hearts. Don't be quick to assume we know what makes anyone else tick. How does that look in real life? Smile and be civil to everyone, no matter how they behave.
- Turn the other cheek - (Matthew 5:39) use the phrase "I'm sorry" when someone even thinks you've offended them. This doesn't mean we back down from truth. but we can be gracious. "I'm sorry you don't agree with my belief." That's it. No need to defend our belief or even discuss their opposing views. Even if they insist on attempting to argue or be rude, a soft spoken "Excuse me" and LEAVE the situation, room or vicinity.
- Be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only - (James 1:22) this one is really pretty straight forward don't you think? Those things clearly written in the Word, the bible, we should not just listen and nod our heads in agreement, we should actually perform those actions in our lives. This will actually look a little different for everyone, since God gives everyone different gifts and talents to share with the rest of the world.
- Be especially kind to the household of faith - (Galatians 6:10) don't allow small doctrinal differences to keep you from fellowship with others who love the Lord and call Him Savior. We have more in common than we differ, and that is where our strength comes from, being unified in our trust and faith in God Almighty. Whether you call baptism a full immersion or a sprinkling of water really isn't as important as calling on JESUS as Lord and Savior.
We often make living the Christian faith so much harder than it ought to be. When we submit to God, being obedient to His commands, real life is Christian behavior!
What other examples have you found help you to live out your faith in your daily life? Click on comments and share your thoughts.
God bless you!