Are You Playing with the Good Ol' Boys?

Yes, that's me chatting with John Travolta.

And my husband shared a moment with Billy Graham. Actually, it was less than a moment. Seconds, really.

And to be quite honest, these guys weren't very friendly. Cold was more the word. Wax cold.

Okay, they're not real. They are only wax statues in New York City's Madame Tussuad's Wax Museum. But when you're in there, the statues are creepily realistic. For a moment, you're almost certain you saw one move. Didn't that nostril flare? Didn't that eye bat?

You can look as closely as you like, but they won't move because they are not alive. They have all the external indications of a functioning human being, but they're as lifeless as any other hunk of wax.

There are a lot of professing Christians walking around like wax sculptures. Jesus scolded a few of them in Revelation 3. The group of believers at Sardis sounds like Church of the Walking Dead. Ever been to one of their services? You sit on your designated pew, envisioning the entire building as a giant casket, already six feet under.

God isn't any more excited about them than they are about Him.

Their treasured programs have been in place since the 1800's, and by golly they're not about to change a thing.

"This is how we've always done it!" they bellow, as if that should forever silence any inquisitive minds. Their Sunday School passes out dust-covered papers from the '50's to the few children who've been forced into attendance by their parents.

Deacon Jones growls out an offertory prayer filled with "Thee's" and "Thou's" to a God He's met only briefly around the collection plate. The rest of the week, he'd rather God didn't show up at all.

They know how to run a church. They like the unchanging schedule of pot-luck dinners and relish the latest gossip about any newcomers who dare darken their doors. This is THEIR church and everybody knows it.

God knows it too. He's not welcome there any more than the single mother or the multi-pierced biker. And He's not pleased about it.

"You have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead!" Jesus shouts to them. "Wake up, or I will come to you as suddenly as a thief in the night and make you give an account of yourselves."

Revelation 3 sounds a warning to those of us who've perfected the art of playing church. Going through the motions does not fool God. He knows whether or not your name is forever written in his Book of Life and it has nothing to do with how much you give, how often you are at the church, or whether you lead the services. The only names written in his Book are the ones he calls Overcomers.

There were a few Overcomers in Sardis. They truly loved Him, and He points them out as an example to the rest. He promises that they will walk with Him, wearing His robes of white, and that He will announce their names before His Father and the angels.

To Deacon Jones and the Good Ol' Boys, He offers a stern rebuke. "Repent, before it's too late."

So where are you in this? Are you in the band with the Good Ol' Boys or are you an Overcomer?

Who are the overcomers? I John 5:4 says that "everyone who is born of God overcomes the world." The overcomers are the true believers, the ones who have opened their hearts to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and become new creatures in Christ.

Is your name sealed forever in Heaven with Christ or have you spent a lifetime trying to get it right on your own terms?

Does your life have all the outward manifestations of holiness, but your heart is cold and dead?

Read Jesus' warning to your buddies at Sardis. It's not too late. That's why the warning is written in Scripture. It's for you. He wants your heart. All of you. Warm and pliable, mistakes and all. He longs to tell you, "You will walk with me in white, for you are worthy."

It is His sacrifice that makes us worthy, but He gives us full credit for it.

Tell Deacon Jones 'goodbye' and ask God to make you an Overcomer. Change can be painful, but the retirement benefits alone are worth any sacrifice.


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