No Apologizing

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Tag Archives: Fake Christians

Are Christians Sociopaths?


Are Christians, particularly Christians in America, sociopathic?

What started as an off the cuff remark I made during a recent sermon at my Church (Legacy Church, in Kansas City, MO) has begun to legitimately haunt me (you can hear the sermon here)…

Christian… Sociopath… These are two words that on the surface seem completely incompatible.  Acts 11:26 tells us that the term “Christian” was first used of disciples in the Antioch church.  This was initially used as an insult in that people were saying they were “little Christs”.  In other words, they were just like Jesus, who because of His great love for people, voluntarily died to pay for the sins of the world. On the other hand – the dictionary defines sociopath as “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” Another says that “Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.”

How can someone who is living a life that is reminiscent of a man whose critics admit was at least a good person and moral teacher exhibit behavior or attitudes that are patently selfish and apathetic to others? However, in spite of the apparent contradiction, I think if we are truly honest with ourselves, the answer is closer to “yes” than any of us who call ourselves a Christian would like to admit… And it tears me up inside… Let me allow this clip from Atheist Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette to begin to explain what I mean:

“How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” There is the rub… Way too many “Christians” fall in a daily routine and are comfortable to coast through life without a broken heart for their friends and family who, if what we believe is really true, are destined for an eternity without God… Well… to be honest that is the essence of selfishly living life “without concern for the effects of their behavior [or lack thereof] on others”, isn’t it???

We certainly shouldn’t be comfortable with it… But sadly I think that may just be the problem… our comfort.  Because we are relatively comfortable, especially in comparison to most of the rest of the world, we just get into auto pilot and unintentionally slip into apathy.  It’s not a conscious thing, but it occurs anyway… and it’s tragic.

Penn said “There comes a point where I tackle you… and this is more important than that.” Because people’s eternities are so important, our “social conscience” should remind us that we have a “moral responsibility” to love those around us enough to take the risk of offending them or losing a friendship to in a sense “tackle” them by sharing the truth about Jesus

Let’s pray to God for forgiveness for our sociopathic tendencies and begin to live a life that actually reflects our name-sake, Jesus… and refuse to scoot through life uncaring and unaffected by the many people we know who do not yet have a relationship with Him.

It’s Okay… Don’t give up!!!


Today I want to put out a word of encouragement to all my friends and readers… I’ve seen some discouragement and that makes my heart heavy… DON’T GIVE UP!!!

God, Himself, encourages us to, “Not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6)

I’ve had some conversations with people who have tried to take the G90X challenge with me and/or who have committed to reading through the Bible in 2010, but have fallen behind in their goals… They were bold enough to try and start something that will help them grow in their walk with Jesus, but have not been able to completely follow through with their original goal…

And do you know what?  THAT’S OKAY!!! Seriously! We all fall short sometimes… There is nothing magic about ANY spiritual discipline in and of itself! Christianity is about a relationship with the God who created the universe, NOT about trying to work at doing better things or striving to be a good person!

Let me remind you of what Greg said in his original G90X post:

By the way, let’s not be legalistic with this. G90X is just an intensive spiritual workout to jumpstart our spiritual disciplines. Remember that those who choose to do it with me are not necessarily more spiritual than those who don’t. You can do all the disciplines in the world and if you are not controlled by the Spirit and fueled through God’s power in your motives it is all wood, hay and stubble… If you are choosing not to do it (which is totally fine) I challenge you to, at the least, amp up your spiritual disciplines.

Let me come at this from a different angle… Think about a person with whom you have a solid relationship… Got it? Okay… Now, how is it that you maintain that relationship? Love, right? And that Love is expressed by T-I-M-E… but that time isn’t spent in a ritualistic ridged manner is it? Relationships are fluid and we spend time with our friends and family in different ways… The same should be for our relationship with (worship of) God!! The point is to spend time with Him!!

Struggling reading so much of the Bible at one clip? That’s okay!!! Keep at it – Get back on the proverbial horse… but don’t beat yourself up over it… But realize also, that this isn’t the only way God wants us to spend time with Him… He wants us to prayHe wants us to sing to Him… He wants us to talk about Him to others… He wants us to spend time with other believers (at church AND other places)…

Do you get it? GOD wants to have a relationship with you!!!  But He wants a REAL relationship not something manufactured or fake. If you struggle with some aspect of spending time with God be sure that you are supplementing it with other ways… but don’t grow weary of trying to make the weaker aspects of your walk better… If you don’t get a hold of a friend on the phone, what do you do? You call back, right? If that doesn’t work you txt or you swing by their house or maybe you try to get a hold of one of their friends/family to tell them you’re looking for them. God is trying to get a hold of you… He’s not hard to reach…

Go spend some time with Him today in a variety of ways!!  You won’t regret it.

I’ll Ask for Forgiveness…. Later.


Tell me if you’ve ever heard something like this: “I know what I’m doing isn’t right… okay, well maybe it’s even wrong… maybe… but I REALLY want to do this… it feels right… Well, at least I think it’s what’s going to make me happiest now. Yeah, it’s probably not what God wants, but it’s okay, cuz I’ll just ask Him to forgive me for it… later…”

Maybe we’ve even heard ourselves saying something like that… If not aloud, perhaps we’ve tried to justify sinful actions in our minds this way… Friends, let me say as lovingly as I can… this is a VERY dangerous game to play…

Consider what God says in Deuteronomy 29:

Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God… make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.

 When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way.” This will bring disaster… The LORD will single him out… for disaster.

Granted, this passage is written to Israel and in relation to the covenant they had with God… But the principle is clear… God HATES it when we identify with Him in name only and then go ahead and do our own thing… Isn’t that exactly what we’re doing when (like above) we try to justify stupidity? How many people do you know that claim to be Christian, yet don’t live it out in their lives at all? If and when they are confronted with their sin they blow it off as “mistakes” or dismiss it as “personality flaws” or “shortcomings”… and they will ask for forgiveness… later?

To bring this in a NT light, let’s look quickly at the end of Romans 5 and the beginning of Romans 6.

But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?… Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God…

Also consider Hebrews 10

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Notice at the end it says the LORD will judge His people… Can you be saved and sin willfully, yes… but then consider the next sentence… It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. And, as a child of God, who loves Him, you will not want to persist in that sin… Robert and I have both written in recent posts about freedom in Christ, and how that freedom should not be used for evil.

It has been said that there is no such thing as a person who has accepted Jesus but has no change in their life… Does that mean that you will be perfect from the moment of salvation? Of course not! However, if there is little to no evidence of a change in your life, there is much to fear and that person should take head to 2 Corinthians 13:5 which says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Does this mean that you have to “clean up” your life before you come to Christ? Absolutely not… Salvation comes through faith alone in Christ alone… Ephesians 4:8-9 affirms, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Since we are transformed into a new creation upon salvation then we ought to look and act differently than we did before… If we don’t we are massively immature as Christians or we are not Christians at all. Will there be ups and downs in the Christian life? SURE! Sometimes the downs might be huge… but we should be growing more and more as time progresses…

Philippians 2:13-14 says, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Basically, what this means that we have to rely upon God for the changes that He wants to take place in our lives, but we are to work with Him in that process…

So, I guess what this post boils down to is an appeal for everyone claiming the name of Christ (i.e. calling themselves Christian) to be, well, christlike (though the power of the Holy Spirit). Let’s stop living for ourselves and start living for Him… no more lame excuses for stupidity (like above) that presume upon the grace of God…

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!


I’ve been reflecting on graduation and everything that surrounds it.  Partially because I’m a youth minister and a lot of my students are graduating… partially because I just graduated with an MAR from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

Anyway, when I get all reflective and nostalgic about graduation, my ADHD mind almost immediately travels to thinking about Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” If you’ve been around any graduations recently, I’m fairly certain you’ve seen, heard or read something about this book… For those of you who aren’t familiar here’s the basic premise:

Someone poetically encourages a young person (presumably their child) who is just about to go out and take on the world… They tell them that they will be great and awesome and do amazing wonderful and spectacularly successful things… except when they don’t, cuz sometimes they won’t… and sometimes they will have to wait for things… and sometimes there will be hard decisions… on and on… It’s a really cute way to say, “Hey, life happens… but I love you and I support you, am here for you and I want you to be successful – Go forth and do your best… I’m with you every step of the way!”

When you think about it, that’s a lot like God… In fact, He said a lot of these same things in His word…

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. ~ Matthew 19:26

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. ~ Psalm 27:14

We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. ~ Psalm 33:20

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. ~ John 15:18-19

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. ~ Hebrews 13:5

…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~ John 10:10b

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. ~ Matthew 28:18-20

So, here’s what my crazy mind takes from Dr. Seuss and these (and other) passages from the Bible…

  1. Whatever we decide to do as an occupation, our life’s calling is to be missional… That is, we are called to share Jesus’ love and work for the Kingdom regardless of how we pay the bills.
  2. Sometimes we are going to fail…
  3. Sometimes our plans and prayers require waiting – but God’s solution is always worth the wait!
  4. Life happens… but no matter what God loves you and will be there.
  5. If you are His child, He will support you and ALWAYS have your back and help you max out your considerable potential!

So, let me encourage you to go forth… take on the world… do your best… God is with you!!! Just remember:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:17

A Thankful Prayer for Mothers (or Anyone Else!)


Mother’s day is a notoriously hard to preach on… I get both the blessing and the challenge of preaching today. As I tried to decide what to speak about I got more and more nervous… You have to decide whether to preach to moms or to children… Then there’s the complications:

  • Not everyone is a Mom, who wants to be
  • Not everyone has/had a great relationship with their mom.
  • Not every mom and child can be together on this day

What God led me to was to speak on Paul’s prayer for the Colossians (Col. 1:3-14).

What I found in this passage was a cycle of thankfulness and prayer that would benefit us all! But first, we’ve got to back up and point out a foundational premise… God wants us to be joyful, prayerful and, most of all, thankful – Regardless of our circumstances! (cf. 1 Thess. 5:16-18).

Paul showed us that our thankfulness will lead us to think of, and more importantly, pray for other people (cf. Romans 1:8-10; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; Philippians 1:3-11; 1 Thess. 1:2-3; 2 Thess. 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 1:3-7; Philemon 1:4-7; Colossians 1:3-14) – hint, hint… if she’s living, this can and should involve your mom, regardless of the type of relationship you have! Fleshing out thankfulness through prayer starts the cycle that will pay dividends for your whole life.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints…

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for youCol. 1:3-4, 9

It may be hard to be thankful for certain people – maybe they’ve hurt you… but the fact is that EVERYONE God has placed in your life has helped you to become the person you are. Being thankful for what God has done in and through both you and them will free us to ask God to work in their lives (especially if you are already thankful for them).

There is a good pattern in this passage (Col. 1:9-14) of what we should pray for other people often. We should ask God to help them:

  • Live a life HONORING of Him
  • PLEASE Him in every way
  • Bear FRUIT in every good work
  • Continue to GROW (in the knowledge of God)
  • Be STRENTHENED with all power to produce endurance and patience.

Next, we should ask God to fill them with Joy so that they will, then, be led to become more and more thankful for what God has done in and through them, which should, of course, start the cycle all over again.

If you look at the end of the passage there is a long list of what God has done for Christians, for which we should be infinitely thankful.  What this says to me is that our thankfulness isn’t tied to our friends and relatives – we CAN be thankful for them – but our attitude of thankfulness is not dependent upon the quality of our relationships with them! This is because it’s not about who they are or what they’ve done – it’s about what God’s done!

If we start this cycle of thankful prayer, for not only our mom or kids, but for most of the Christians in our lives we will be richly blessed… Because thankful prayer leads us to encourage and be encouraged by each others’ Faith and Love (cf. Col. 1:3-4)!

Let me encourage you to start the cycle today – and let the people you are praying for know about it!!! It will make a world of difference in your heart, your attitude and will add immeasurably to your joy!

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Failure is not an option – it happens!


One of the things I’ve tried to put into place in my life is accountability. This is a painful thing often, because it requires people telling me that I’m not doing things perfectly (I really want to think I’m close to perfect – but the sad truth of the matter is I’m not even close). Things have been going fairly good in our church – there’s a lot of positive that’s happening in the church as a whole and in the youth as well, but when stuff goes well I rejoice with one hand and brace for impact with the other.

You see, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about integrity… Satan’s attacks… persecution… fighting for the Kingdom of God and other things.

I am consistently wary of how my failings may affect my family, my ministry and other people.  A few years back (okay a lot of years back) DC Talk wrote a song that captures my personal feelings on this matter. The 2nd verse and chorus are particularly appropriate:

Father please forgive me for I cannot compose
The fear that lives within me or the rate at which it grows
If struggle has a purpose on the narrow road you’ve carved
Why do I dread my trespasses will leave a deadly scar

Do they see the fear in my eyes?
Are they so revealing?
This time I cannot disguise
All the doubt I’m feeling

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

 

Here are a few things I know:

  • When someone starts making an impact for the Kingdom of God – Satan takes notice and goes after them with everything he’s got (cf. Job; Luke 22:31-32; esp. Luke 4:1-13 ).

 Hey, this is a great strategy! Take out/discredit the leadership and the followers will be easy pickings. To do this he will use lies, deception, evil people, bad circumstances… but like Robert pointed out in a previous blog Satan often focuses most on our particular weaknesses and natural dispositions to specific sins… Usually for Christian leaders the temptations that lead to epic fails are in one or more of these 3 areas (cf. 1 John 2:16): Pride (fame, influence, accolades); Money (Stealing, hording or materialism); Sexual Immorality.

 In fact, this is exactly what “Christian” means. That term started off as a derogatory term basically meaning “little Christs”… This is such a complement when we are being like Him, but the sword is double edged… it cuts both ways… when we carry His name what we do says something to people about Him – it’s not fair to Him, but it is the harsh reality of the matter.

  •  If we get things flipped around to where life is about our fame and glory we are in for a world of hurt because we will be fighting God (cf. Prov. 3:34) and Satan.

 There is no doubt that we will be persecuted – scripture is clear about that. However, we are only blessed when we are persecuted for doing right… Otherwise we’re just getting what we deserve.

  • We are all going to sin! The point is to get accountability in our lives and be daily in God’s word and controlled by the Spirit as much as possible in order to minimize the impact and depth and breadth of our inevitable failures! (cf. Ephesians 5:15-21; Galatians 5:15-26)
  • Forgiveness is available to any who seek it – but this requires humility to repent and confess when we have failed! (cf. 1 John 1:9, James 5:16)

1 Peter 5:1-11 really speaks to all of this. Let me encourage you to read it and meditate upon it, especially if you are in any sort of Christian leadership and most especially if that leadership is in any way in the public eye. Jesus took quite enough of a beating for us 2000 years ago… He certainly does not need another black eye.

One of the guys that regularly hold me accountable sent me a good reminder yesterday from Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest): “Unguarded strength is double weakness because that is where the retired sphere of the leasts saps. The Bible characters fell on their strong points, never on their weak ones.” Now that’s some old English speak that basically says, be careful about what you are strong in because it can become an area of pride and pride comes before a fall.

My friend’s take on this was:

If our strength is UNITY… be careful.

If our strength is COMMUNITY… be careful.

If our strength is TRUTH… be careful… Etc..

 Each of these (and numerous others) is a double edged sword.. since each can probably derail us too..  I must know who I am in light of HIM.

Another thing… It is important to note that the failings of humans do not really invalidate the truth of the Gospel (the claims of the Bible should be evaluated on their own merit) – however, Christians’ failings can damage the perception of the Gospel in the court of public opinion and make it more difficult sometimes for people to come to Christ.

Is accountability fun?!?! NO WAY – actually it quite often stinks, stings and smarts. But at the same time it keeps us from MUCH MUCH more serious damage to ourselves, our families, our friends, and the reputation of our God.

Why Apologize?!?! No Apologizing on… Apologizing!


Have you ever heard that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission? That may be true in some circumstances, but that doesn’t mean that asking for forgiveness is an easy thing to do. It can be very hard to apologize sometimes – especially when you don’t think you’re the one who’s most in the wrong!

 Surprisingly, the Bible doesn’t seem to say a whole lot about apologizing, at least not on the surface! You won’t be very successful in trying to do a word search for apologize in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean that the concept is missing in God’s word… Let’s look at a couple of places where the Bible addresses this from a different angle.

 Jesus spoke about asking for forgiveness in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:21-26 Jesus talks about what we are to do when someone is angry with us… He says to “reconcile” with them right away. Notice in the passage that Jesus didn’t say who was at fault… He just started off saying that it was bad to be angry at someone and call them a fool… Then He said that if you remember that someone may be angry at you, go make it right! In context this tells us that we need to do what it takes to make things right with this person (including asking for forgiveness) not for our sake, but really for their sake!

 I can imagine some of you scratching your heads on that. Let me explain. Jesus said that it was dangerous for Christians to hold on to anger at someone.  He then told us to go reconcile with people who are angry at us. So, what He’s saying is to love others enough to do what you need to do in order to help remove that bad blood between you.

 One way to diffuse a situation is to admit your portion of the wrong and ask for forgiveness… Not just say “I’m sorry if I offended you”, but instead say, “I was wrong when I _______________. Will you please forgive me?” 

I know that it seems like splitting hairs, but saying “I’m sorry” usually doesn’t move the heart of the one we’ve offended, but taking responsibility by saying “I was wrong” often does.

I am convinced that this is at least partially what James 5:16 is telling us to do when it says, “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Taking responsibility for where we were wrong in a situation (even when the other person may have been MORE in the wrong) brings healing to a relationship… This is for the betterment of everyone involved.

What else is difficult about apologizing? It requires a HUGE amount of humility. What do we naturally want to do when someone is angry with us? Defend ourselves, of course. Especially if and when we think the other person is more in the wrong than we are… Really though, in the greater scheme of things, that doesn’t matter – The fact of the matter is that it always takes two or more people to make an argument and almost always the fault for the argument is at least partially shared. You may not have the greatest majority of the blame, but was there anything you did that contributed to the argument? Probably… So ask for forgiveness for your part without pointing out the obvious (the other person’s part) – take responsibility for taking the first step toward healing in the relationship. I think this is what God was getting at when He inspired Peter to write:

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-12, ESV)

God’s saying that if we want to have a good life here on earth we need to do our best to live in harmony with others. We are to bless others – one way to do that is to diffuse their anger. But that’s not our natural reaction… Normally, when someone is upset with us we want to defend ourselves and fight back. But I Peter is saying that is absolutely the wrong course of action! Defending ourselves and our pride is counterproductive to what ought to be our primary concern: the greater good of all involved (including ourselves) – and that only comes through restoration! Consider the following related verses:

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11, ESV)

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21, ESV)

Scripture may not speak specifically and directly about apologizing or how to apologize, but it does have a great deal to say about humility and forgiveness. Perhaps this is because forgiving is even harder!  Regardless, I think that the passages above speak to all of this.

Because there is so much to say about forgiveness, we will deal with it more extensively in another post – too much to cover here without short changing apologies. What does need to be said about forgiveness here is: “when someone asks for forgiveness, give it – period.”

What else needs to be said about forgiveness is that as difficult as it is to give, it is super hard for true forgiveness to happen without something initiating the process – 99.99999% of the time that something is a sincere apology.

So, let me challenge you today… give asking for forgiveness a shot, it may save a relationship or two.

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The Final Poser Test


He has told you men what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: Only to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, HCSB)

Probably the greatest characteristic of posers is their pride and arrogance. It is the driving force behind all the rest of their flaws… It is very difficult for a poser to change their stripes and thereby transform into a champion because their pride usually won’t let them. For a poser to get better at their particular interest they have to become teachable and change their actions. They have to humble themselves to allow someone to teach them the “little” disciplined tricks of the trade and then they have to follow through with diligent practice of those little things. Remember, God has told us “to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Notice here that this says “Walk Humbly”? This implies that humility isn’t a onetime thing, but a consistent pattern of living – but what is the consistent pattern of humility?

Humility is a matter of reliance – James 4:6 An authentic champion, on the other hand, will realize that they do not have the market cornered on knowledge of the sport or activity. As a result, they rely upon the experience and knowledge of a coach, instructor or teacher to help them refine their craft. God Himself has offered to be our instructor… and has even already given us what we need to know. Remember, our passage starts off by saying “He has told you men what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you…” James 4:6 tells us that He gives us the grace to be what He wants if we will be humble and rely on Him (and His grace).

Humility is a matter of submission – James 4:7 James goes on in that same chapter to explain that we should “Submit yourself, then, to God…” A poser might pretend to listen to a teacher, but the proof of their reliance upon someone is whether or not they obey what is taught. Are you reading, listening to, learning from and obeying God’s Word? Do you rely upon following God’s instructions as the best way to live life? Or do you think you know best how to live your life?

Being insistent on your own way is the biggest tell-tale sign that you’re a poser! In fact, you will never be able to be authentic in the first 2 requirements of God (to do right and love right) if your pride gets in the way. After serving during the rule of a wicked king, Ahaz, Micah had the privilege of seeing Judah’s king Hezekiah humble himself and follow after God! I have a feeling though, I am not the only one to consistently attend church while being a poser. Many of you may be the same way, even now. Just like it was for me and Micah’s audience, it is probably easy for you to KNOW what’s right and wrong, because you’ve heard it all your life – Instead, it’s hard to actually do what’s right with the right motives.

I hate to admit this to anyone but I have been a poser in my life – both as a “skater” and as a Christian. Much like God did here in Micah, I was directly confronted with my poser-ness. I went to speak to my youth pastor, Marty, between my sophomore and junior year in high-school and told him I was doubting my salvation because of bad attitudes and actions that had begun to creep into my life… You see, Marty could see what I was blind to. I FAILED the Poser test:

1. I wanted to maintain a “Christian” image to get complements and freedom, but I wasn’t being honest with Him or with myself. I secretly was evil when I could get away with it…

2. I had no clue how to love people with unselfish motives and

3. There was NO WAY I was going to humble myself, break-down, repent and live obediently – my pride wouldn’t let me (how would that look to everyone?!?!)!! Just like God did in Micah, Marty told me, “Kevin, you know what is true… and you know what you need to do… You just need to humble yourself and commit to doing it.” One of the greatest regrets in my life is that I didn’t listen to him at that time – I stayed the course, pridefully playing the church game.

It took 4 more years for me to quit being a spiritual poser. How much impact could I have had for God’s Kingdom had I just stepped out and refused to continue being a poser? I thought I knew best and needed to maintain a proper image so I wouldn’t be exposed as the faker I really was. However, my image wasn’t as pristine as I had thought… Maintaining my stubbornness hurt my witness, it hurt my relationships and it started me down a path that set me back in life. The Good news is that there was hope for me and there was hope for Judah – and that hope played out in both stories. The first step for me was to humble myself before God by admitting that I had been a poser. I then needed to commit to submitting to what God’s Word told me to do – To honestly do right and love right. That’s what happened in Micah’s day too!

Maybe you have a hard time being consistently truthful with yourself and others. If this is true of you – you’re probably a poser! And even though you may think that you’re popular, accepted and liked because of your poser ways – you probably are not – Remember, no one likes a poser. But there is hope for you like there was hope for Judah and me. God wants us to be authentic in our relationships with Him and with others! But He also will help us in doing so if we will humbly follow Him!

If you think you may be a poser, then take the first step of humbling yourself so that you can walk with God in humble obedience to what He has already told you to do (in His word). He doesn’t care for your fake worship – no matter how emotional you look, how much “service” you do in His name, how often you go to church or youth activities or how well you sing. These things don’t matter at all if you’re heart is not right with Him. Humbly love Him… That is, continually trust Him that He knows what’s best and do what He asks. Doing that will help you to love Him more, do what’s right, be more honest and love and treat others better.

Will you do whatever it takes to become an authentic champion for Christ or will your poser pride hold you back? God has told you what is true, what is right, what is good and what He requires from you – Now it’s up to you to do it in His power and by His grace.

The Poser Test – Part 3


He has told you men what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: Only to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, HCSB)

Last time we spoke about the first part of the LORD’s demands in this verse – Do What’s Right. Now we trun our attention to the second demand: Show authentic love – Be faithful, kind and merciful

One of the reasons people don’t like posers is because of how they treat other people. If someone fails they brutally and relentlessly make fun of them in order to deflect negative attention away from themselves (to mask their own deficiencies). They are consistently mean, selfish, demeaning and rude. When they are nice to people it is only for what they could get out of them – accolades, a following, etc.

 Micah 6:8 tells us that God requires us “to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” The Hebrew word that is translated here as “love faithfulness” is actually a very complex word with several layers of meaning, all of which capture how an authentic Christian will be with other people, and it is in stark contrast with the attitudes of posers. It has been translated as:

  • Love Faithfulness (HCSB)
  • Love Mercy (NIV and others)
  • Love being kind to others (NCV)
  • Love kindness (NASB)
  • Be compassionate and loyal in your love (Message)

 You should be able to see that this word carries with it the connotation of faithful love, kindness and mercy – Do you see how this is so different from the attitude of a poser?

 We’ve already seen examples during the Olympics of how an authentic champion is kind and merciful when someone fails, because they are not insecure (like a poser) – they will encourage others when they fail, because they remember their own failures and progress. They will look out for the best interest of the team (if it’s a team sport) or will be mindful of what is best for their sport.

Jesus summarizes this attitude in Matthew 22:39, when He said that equally important to loving God is to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Of course, we want people to be kind, loving and merciful to us, especially when we fail. We want people to love and support us, to treat us fairly (or better) and to be faithful to us.

 Do you treat people with a faithful and kind love that is full of mercy? Do you do this out of true love for them or only because you want what they can provide you? How would other people characterize your relationships with others – How would God?

Authentic Christians not only consistently do what’s right, and love and treat others right – they also rely on and obey God, which is our third part of the poser test. 

The Poser Test – Part 2 (Do What’s Right)


He has told you men what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: Only to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, HCSB)

In our last post we gave you the background of our main passage to show how this was a wake-up call from God… There are three things God demands in this passage… 3 poser tests. Today we are looking at the first demand: Act Justly (Do What’s Right).

Posers are notorious for exaggerating their abilities and for taking shortcuts to gain and maintain an appearance of excellence… but this is all style over substance… they want this because they want the benefits that come with actually being good at what they’re posing as without really putting in the work necessary to excel.

Later on in Micah 6 God points out that these posers were cutting corners, lying and mistreating people to get ahead:

11 Shall I acquit a man with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights? 12 Her rich men are violent; her people are liars and their tongues speak deceitfully. 

God wants us to refuse to be dishonest, to work hard and do what’s right at all times… It has been said that Champions do the little things the right way at all times, regardless of who is watching – This is why you won’t find many if any posers on your TV during the Olympics this year… they have been disciplined to act right and do the little things that make them among the best in their field. They do it for their country and for the “love of the game.”

Authentic Spiritual Champions are similar: Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 that the most important thing for an authentic God-follower was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” They are motivated to do right because of our love for God.

But for posers, it’s all about them… they will do anything to maintain their image – the illusion that they are great – because they want praise and attention and privileges… the sad thing is that they are normally only fooling themselves.

There are no short cuts to spiritual excellence and you cannot fool God. You may be able to fake out other people for a while, but usually not for long.

Does your spiritual life reflect a commitment to authentically doing what is right at all times (regardless of whether you get attention or recognition for doing it)? Or do you just play church so people – especially your parents – will think you’re a “good Christian kid” and therefore give you lots of complements/affirmation and possibly more freedom and trust (so you can ultimately do what you want)?

Authentic Christians not only consistently do what’s right, because of love for God, but they also treat others right. This is the second part of the poser test…which we will explore next time.

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