So far in this revisit we've seen God talk to His followers individually, to the family (specifically parents), and to the community of faith. There is one more group of people that God desires our lives to interact with. God's message isn't just individual or just for His people alone, ultimately He is looking to redeem an entire culture to Himself. How does He intend to do that?
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut. 6:8 - 9
The people of Israel used to take these verses literally. They created little boxes called phylacteries and mezuzots that held verses 4 & 5 as well as other Scriptures, for the purposes of wearing or being displayed. Is this what God desires? Empty ritual with no real heart change?
No, what God desires is that His people live such transformed lives that it is visable to anyone. A heart that is being transformed daily by the power of the Gospel will have visible signs. People should be able to tell the difference between someone who is following hard after God and someone who isn't. There should be character qualities that are visible.
So why is it hard to see authentic, biblical, gospel & cross centered christianity sometimes?
What we aren't talking about: - Simply wearing a "christian" tee-shirt or jewelry. - Having a cross or two on the walls of our homes. - Attending a church. - Just "reading" the Bible and maybe praying every once in a while.
Why? Why don't these things lead us to a deeper connection with God? They can but, as we have already seen in this study, they must be as an outflow of a heart that God has transformed.
What we are talking about: - Both our words and our actions point to the glory and grace of God (not ourselves). - What we do isn't motivated by personal gain or fulfillment, but is focused on bringing God glory. - As we interact with those around us, they see that something is different, and want it for themselves.
This all sounds good, but why don't we see it that way? Two reasons, fear and unbelief. In our culture today, fear dominates. Fear of being labeled "different" or "intolerant" or "over religious/zealous". Fear also manifests itself in the believer as the constant "tug of war" between my sinfulness and the righteousness of Christ within me.
Unbelief creeps in when we buy into any one of the devil's lies that tell us we don't have all the answers. We don't live like we believe that God doesn't supply all we need, including words needed "in the moment".
Ultimately, God desires what He is doing in our hearts to overflow in every aspect of life; our work, our free time, all the time. God doesn't want to be (and can't be) put in a box. Don't live such a shallow christian experience that God only comes out of the box on Sunday. That's not true Christianity. That's not being visible.
So, lesson #4 from this Deuteronomy revisit is: Your faith needs to be visible to the world around you if you are going to have the impact that God desires and demands.