Our opinions and our decisions don’t come out of thin air.
What you think about a recent death in your city resulting from an altercation between a police officer and a suspect or about the Super Bowl halftime show or about a new policy at your workplace will come from somewhere. And every big decision you make about romance or employment or friendship comes from somewhere.
If you are a follower of the Lord Jesus, I am exhorting you to let His Word and His reign be the governing factors in your decision making. Let your love of Jesus and your belief that His way is best be the undercurrent of your choices and your convictions. I have known many people over the years who claimed to know Christ but whose lives showed virtually no consideration of His teaching, His Bible, or His Gospel. How they spent their free time and how they spoke with their friends and what they spent their money on and who they pursued romance with were not in the slightest influenced by the Word and heart of Jesus Christ.
This is just a quick reminder that your thoughts and impulses and worldview, and mine, are always being shaped by something. What we think is constantly being formed by something. So take a quick minute and examine: What is it? What is currently the chief influence over how you look at the world and yourself? Pixar? Your favorite TV show? Your friends? A college class? Your favorite television or radio talk show pundit? Or is it the God of Jesus Christ, through His Word, His Spirit, and His people?
Imagine a friend who played golf and said that every single thing he did on the golf course was governed by Tiger Woods and his fantastic instructional golf book (I have no idea if there even is such a book; if there is, I’d make it to about page 10 before passing out from boredom). This buddy of yours told you that his golf game was a Tiger-like one, and that he had learned how to drive and put and even carry his clubs from the master. Then suppose you found out one day that this friend of yours had never even read the Tiger Woods book. It just sat on the bookshelf next to his computer. And he had never watched a golf tournament in which Tiger Woods competed. Turned out your buddy owned a set of clubs, had gone to a driving range once or twice, and had taken the Tiger Woods putter to the putt-putt course in town. He wore the Nike brand Tiger Woods golf apparel all the time and he knew facts about Tiger Woods’ life, but it turned out your friend spent no time actually learning from (albeit indirectly) the man he claimed.
You would be a little perplexed, wouldn’t you? Why would this guy claim to be a follower of someone whose instruction he wasn’t actually taking into consideration and whose skills he never actually bothered to learn or imitate?
It’s just an analogy. Jesus is not merely our teacher; He is the risen Messiah who offers to bring our dead souls to life by grace through faith. But the heart of the analogy is one I stand by, and it’s this: It is both foolish and false to claim Jesus Christ and not have the slightest interest in reading Him or obeying Him.
Or, as the Apostle John put it in 1 John: “If we say, ‘We have fellowship with Him,’ yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Our worldview, opinions, and our convictions are always being shaped by something or someone. If we claim to be Christians, let it be the One whose Name we bear.