The first time I went snowboarding was also only the second time I had ever seen snow. I was truly excited. The invitation to go was easy to accept and sourcing some equipment proved easy enough. The atmosphere among friends was electric. Even the lessons in the basic technique seemed straightforward enough; I’d dabbled in skateboarding in a former life.
But once I was on the ski lift I realized how deceptively high the looming mountain was and how relentlessly steep the daunting slope appeared. There is no way down except …down. Snow is colder and wetter and harder than I had imagined it being. This fun now seemed dangerous. I was committed, and so I slid off the lift and made an uncontrolled beeline toward a bevvy of girls who had no idea that this clumsy South African wrecking ball was about to ruin their day.
The moral of that unfortunate life lesson: you might embrace the image of being a skier, you might look the part—kitted out in all the right gear—you might even master the lingo, but you are not a skier until you actually ski!
Many people talk the talk of being a Christian, but they don’t walk the walk.
They visit Christ, but they don’t follow him. They can hold a conversation in fluent Christianese, their church attendance record is impeccable, they eagerly share prayer requests and even sometimes get teary when they sing. But after visiting hours are over, they slink easily back to their natural abode and return to behaving, talking, and thinking like unbelievers.
As we start this new year, let each of us examine ourselves in the light of Colossians 2:6.
Colossians 2:6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.
To bow before Christ as your Lord is the first step in a saving relationship with him.
To “receive” Jesus means to trust in him for your salvation, not just believe the facts about him. Receiving Christ is done by believing the message of salvation proclaimed by his messengers.
John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
But does this now mean I can live any way I want, now that I have Christ in me? No. Paul follows his injunction to receive him with: so walk in him.
When you receive Jesus you receive him as your Savior, but also as your Lord. Lordship means that Jesus is not just a first-aid kit when you need help, he is your very life support, without which you are as spiritually dead as a doornail.
Jesus is not just your Savior, he is your Lord, your Master. You are his property. You are either a child of Satan or a child of God.
This is not popular vocabulary these days, but the Bible is not updated to suit our cultural sensibilities. God owns you and you have no rights except those he grants you.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Jesus bought you with his blood. Were some Christians cheaper than others? Were some souls on special? No!
And yet some live as if the price they were bought with wasn’t a major sacrifice. Do you know what the Bible says about Christians who live in the flesh and think they are saved?
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
If you insist on clinging to the anchor of sin around your neck, you can’t be assured that you are safe from drowning.
1 John 3:9-10 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
It doesn’t matter what you call yourself or how often you come to church. It doesn’t matter what ski jacket you put on and how often you visit the slopes. If you refuse to ski, you are not a skier. And if you refuse to follow Jesus, you are not a Christian!
Stop talking the talk and start walking the walk!