Sunday, October 6, 2013

Religious Hiccups

Do you know what a religious hiccup is? First, as far as I know, it's a term I made up, so you may have never heard of it. I use it to refer to the little religious "spurt" people get when they encounter a crisis in their lives. You know what I'm talking about?

You get in a financial bind and can find no other way out than to ask for God's Help. You have an issue in your life that you can't "fix" on your own, so you get depressed and worried and turn to God for the remedy you couldn't find. The baby gets sick and you suddenly glimpse your helplessness and fervently turn to God, asking for its healing. God provides a way financially, fixes that bad situation, or allows the baby to mend, you stay religious for a few weeks (at the most), then allow yourself to slide back into the complacency you were in before. I see this cycle as something similar to a hiccup, with each catastrophe that reminds you of God's presence being the brief "hiccup" of religious facade you put on.

Notice that I have used the word "religious". True Christianity isn't something you put on when it's convenient, and its not something you are meant to practice seasonally. The trouble is, with each subsequent "slide", you often end up further away from living God's ideal than you even did before, making yourself more accountable and more wicked than you care to admit. In fact, these "sliders" often deceive their very selves about where they really stand with God.

The mandate we are given in Ephesians 6 is not a seasonal, use-it-when-you-need-it kind of command. It is a lifestyle that one must put on and walk in at all times, both the good and the bad:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Another term I use for this in-and-out "religious" lifestyle is playing footsies with the devil. You can't play games with the devil and then expect God to be blessing you. Besides, the devil doesn't play for anything but keeps! You can't dabble in the sins of the devil's playhouse and then expect God to be blessing you as though you have no willful sin in your life. I will repeat that one part of verse 11: "Put on the full armor of God...."

There is only one way to live right, and that is to walk in obedience. No matter how many times you spew blessings out of your mouth, if your life does not bear that kind of fruit, you are deceiving yourself. Take heed!