No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: poser Christians

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.

Why Pray?!?!

So, yet again my internet at home was down yesterday… so the G90X is a day late again! Sorry… I’ve hopefully got that shored up (ATT said I needed a new modem, so I got one and installed it late last night)…

As promised, I wanted to talk about the prayer aspect of the G90X… But to do that, I’ve got to start with a confession. I didn’t get in the full 90 minutes last week… The first 2 weeks I did in spades, but last week, I let business creep in and rob me of my prayer time… Boy, could I tell the difference!

The best way I can explain how prayer works and changes me is by a personal analogy. I’ve got some VERY good friends who do not live in the same town as I do, but with whom I keep in close contact… I Facebook, or email or text them often (usually one or all of these multiple times a day)… These guys are two of my very best friends and they keep me sharp, on my toes… hold me accountable… listen to my joys, concerns and hurts and they encourage me – I value their friendship and their time VERY, VERY much! In fact, if I don’t get my daily “fix” (i.e. fellowship with these friends) my day is not quite as good as it would be otherwise… Oh, it can still be a great day, but regardless of how good it is, it is somewhat diminished by my not communicating with these important men.

It works the same with my Heavenly Father. The days I communicate intimately with Him (more than just a “drive by” or “rub-a-dub-dub thanks for the grub… Yea, God!” type prayer) are the days that I’m most encouraged, empowered, focused on what’s important and submitted to Him… These are the days I’m closest to Him and these are the days I’m most selfless and filled with compassion for other people! Like above, these days can still be horrible days (believe me!), but days are just somehow better when I’ve had my “Jesus fix”…  THAT’s what I missed out on a little bit last week – I didn’t have as much fellowship as I should have or would have liked. My week was good, but how much better would it have been had I communed more with the God who not only created the universe, but who also loves me with a burning and passionate love?

If you don’t understand what I’m talking about because you’ve never experienced it let me encourage you to seriously consider John 3:16-18 and 1 John 4:9-10… Here’s what they have to say:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

If you HAVE experienced what I’m talking about let me encourage you to Love Him more and more and more… and express that love through time spent with Him through prayer… after all 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “Pray continually” – Our days would be so much better if we would!

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.

The Poser Test – Part 1

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)

When I was a teenager, I was into a wide variety of interests and sub-cultures – I phased in and out of some and I tried to maintain a presence/image in some of them simultaneously… I was a nerd, a choir geek, I was into sports, gaming, speech and debate… oh, yeah – Church… lots of stuff. But one of the groups I was part of for a while was I was a “skater” (skate-boarder). Now, every culture has their own words that originate with them, but often bleed into popular use. The skating culture developed a term that was quickly hijacked by other groups (and I think it is still in some use today) – The term?… Poser.

Basically, a poser is a person who dresses and talks and somewhat acts like a skater, but lacked the skill, fearlessness, drive and dedication of an authentic skater… Like I said, this came to be used by other groups, particularly by other sports… There were poser football players, baseball players, soccer placers, debaters… Pretty much there were posers in every group – you may know them now as “fakers”.

No one wanted to be labeled a poser, because no one liked posers – No One! Posers were more about image than excellence; they were unteachable, unhelpful, arrogant, mean and rude. They would cut you down every chance they got just to make themselves look and feel better. You didn’t want to have anything to do with posers… posers were bad news. The good thing about posers is that everyone can usually spot them from a mile away – everyone, that is, except themselves… Most are so full of themselves that they don’t see that they are posers – and it usually takes a big wake-up call to help them see the light.

In the passage we are looking at today this is exactly what God is doing through the prophet Micah – giving a straightforward and harsh wakeup call to a bunch of spiritual posers. Here’s what He says: “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 looking at this wakeup call, I want us to see that God wants us to be authentic in our relationships with Him and other people. I want us to compare His demands in the wakeup call to our own lives – Let’s use these demands as a sort of “poser test” to discover if we are being posers ourselves. If we are posers, then we need to start taking steps to change that!

Some Background: Our passage today is from the Old Testament book of Micah. Micah ministered during a very difficult time… Judah and Israel had gone through a time of relative peace and prosperity, but those “good times” were beginning to erode. People were quick to take advantage of one another (cf. Micah 2:1-2). In addition to this, many of their political and “spiritual” leaders were corrupt… (cf. Micah 3:1-2, 9-11) In spite of the fact that people were mistreating each other, people were going around and saying that everything was okay because they had the temple – and properly executed the rituals God had set up in the Law…

However, it’s evident from their need to defend the status quo in this last phrase that their prosperity and security had begun to evaporate. The problem was they didn’t really love God and they didn’t really love others. God was just some voodoo like security and people were only to be used to gain something – and they would use any means necessary to get what they wanted. In essence, they only loved themselves.

The whole nation was full of spiritual posers! This frustrated God so much that he called them out in a courtroom/prosecution case style! The people responded in typical poser fashion – Denial and excuses… they basically said “What would you have us to do?” “We’re doing our best!”

Then God speaks through the prophet and fires back, “get real”, he said: 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)

Does this sound familiar to our situation now? This was a country that had been prosperous but was now going through political and economic uncertainty. People were spiritually apathetic – Worship of God was only a cultural/traditional thing as people were more concerned for their own advancement and wellbeing.

God makes it abundantly clear here and elsewhere (e.g. Psalm 51:16-17, Jeremiah 7:22-26 and Matthew 23:23) He doesn’t care about ritual worship and how well you do it if your heart and your life don’t reflect it… He’s basically saying: “Get real… You know what I want you to do… do it and quit being a poser. Here are the 3 things that will let me know if you’re for real.”

In the next 3 post we will look at each one of these tests/proofs individually to see how our lines up with our own lives.

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