Friday, July 3, 2015

Musings while brewing coffee: Which type of believer are you?

This morning I pondered about the different types of believers I encountered in nearly 25 years. Not that I’ve reached heights or been better in my faith compared with others; but I—and perhaps you too—notice believers don’t come out the same, as in, of the same feather. Some appear nice, initially, until unfavorable circumstances cross their paths and their true colors splatter along the walkway. Some have remained sincere believers through the years, regardless of their circumstances. Following is just a short list of terms, with which I mentally categorized believers, as I brewed coffee this morning.

The “Sincerely Anonymous.” I’ve read a few blogs of fellow believers regarding their views on false teachers, false/emergent churches, special holidays, verses from the books of Genesis to Revelation. And I thought their views are “Wow, outstandingly interesting!” But when I started touring their website to discover more about who they are, I found they’re nameless authors of what they wrote. Their blogs have no photo of them, but of creatures under the sun. No name, not even a nickname. Nothing. Their blogs are simply signed with the invisible “Sincerely, Anonymous.” Come on, brethren. Who are you? Aren’t you supposed to be brave people for the sole reason that the Lord Jesus is your confidence—and mine too? Fellow believers read your blogs, exposing the truth we hardly find in church structures these days, especially if we don’t go there anymore. And if it’s God’s truth you profess, isn’t it similarly truthful if you’d introduce yourself even briefly? By the way, if it would matter saying this, I'll say it: please don't delete your blog account. I've seen three blogs of fellow believers shut down already (whatever reason they have, I don't know). We won't please everyone, nobody can. But we're here to speak up for God's truth, not to please men.
In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. (Proverbs 14:26)
The “Dual Citizen.” This type of believers is a bit hard to comprehend: evidently a believer outside, but somewhat something else inside. Regardless if they’ve been in the faith for years or decades, some believers seem to operate with duality. Have you met any of this type?

Let me cite a few real-life examples: Believer A is a church worker, probably a busy one, because other than his work at church and in the office, he’s also a candidate for completing a PhD degree from a reputable university. Now here’s the catch: he’s hiring professionals to ghostwrite his PhD dissertation. Read that again. Hiring professionals to write one’s academic paper is a way of the world. Such practice is dishonest. If you’ve played this type of believer, then please know brethren that hiring ghostwriters to accomplish academic writing for you is a first-class, high-end form of cheating. What do you need a degree for if you can’t even pass the distinction of being honest—with or without a university degree?
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (1 Timothy 2:1-3)
Here’s another example: Believer B has been in the faith for like decades, but her ways haven’t changed. She’s still easily angered, slams the door or whatever she finds when upset, raises her voice when furious, curses when agitated. In short, she’s temperamental . . . still. But here’s another scoop: she’s friendly with friends, charitable for noble causes, goes out of her way to express concern for “other” people. At one time she donated a huge amount of money for a cause without questions asked; however, she seemed blind when it comes to providing for the basic needs of her “own” household. Are you this type of believer? Remember God’s Word says
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1 Timothy 5:8)
The “Acting Chief of Finance.” Some believers are all-out generous making donations to innumerable causes. But come tax day, they seem to portray the acting chief of finance while prodding their accountants to sort of miscalculate their income tax reports, so they pay either a small amount of tax or none at all. They’re quite inhibited when it comes to shelling out cash from their wallet, for matters they ought to consider “their” social obligation. If that’s their attitude about their finances, then would it still be surprising they left church for no other reason but to avoid tithing? (Giving 10 percent, or tithing, is obsolete, by the way—unless you still don’t know, do your homework. You may begin reading this book online, Tithing: Low-Realm, Obsolete & Defunct.)
But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. (Deuteronomy 8:18)
The “Authorized Personnel Only.” This term comes to mind as I remember believers who seem to be focused about discussing matters of the Holy Bible—nothing more. They dwell tremendously on studying God’s Word and they enthusiastically discuss their findings with fellow believers. Apparently, that’s all they want to discuss; they suddenly shift to “silent mode” when a brethren opens up to them common life issues and requests for prayer. Have you been this way to other believers? Careful. What you learn from studying God’s Word may be lacking teeth, spine, and bone when the way you respond to another person, particularly a fellow believer, is no different from the sight of unresponsive, melting blocks of ice floating on top of your cold beverage.
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: (1 Peter 3:8)
The “Nonshowbiz Lover.” I call this category as such because it reminds me of believers who may be unpopular, yet they’re grounded in the faith, sincere toward other people, and quietly confident in the Lord Jesus. They’re hardly seen in social circles, not even in church structures filled with congregants on midweeks and weekends. They’re not anonymous, but they bravely stand up for what is Biblical and stay away effortlessly from what is not. They discern the things of God and the things that are ungodly. They’re unafraid to leave churches or groups when such institutions compromise fearlessly the truth we find in God’s unchanging Word. They’re not easily swayed by trends leading the crowd; God’s Word is their ultimate guide when conducting their day-to-day concerns. These believers no longer find pleasure in listening to secular music, not even contemporary Christian music, and they perfectly know why they shouldn’t listen to such materials anymore. These believers don’t observe pagan occasions, such as Christmas, birthdays, and other times, constantly celebrated and considered “special” by the world. Their contentment and gratitude toward God's blessings that come their way daily bring them unparalleled joys in life. These believers are no church attendees; they stay in their homes on Sundays reading, studying, and listening to God’s Word, the Holy Bible.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:21, 23-24)
But what’s a believer? Believers, particularly the last type I discussed, don’t necessarily call themselves “Christian” to say they are. They don’t even have to go to a physical church to be one. But as believers, they recognize they're sinners who've repented, saved by grace, and whose faith is in Jesus Christ, who alone is their Source of strength, Enabler in accomplishing tasks too great for them, and Savior—not their works or the people surrounding them. 
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
These believers hardly read devotionals written by popular Christian authors. What believers read every day is the Holy Bible, the unchanging Word of God—first thing in the morning, last thing in the evening. If you’d ask a believer where he’d go when he dies, the usual prompt reply is, “I’ll go to heaven.” And if you’d ask him why he thought so, by faith he’d say, “Because God, in His Word, says so.”
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
If I may ask, are you a believer?

Care for a slice of butter cake with apples and almonds? I wish you and your loved ones a restful weekend!

Let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No'...