Pastor Brian Gilroy,
High Prairie Church of the Nazarene
“Am I really any different?”
A painful question we often overlook. We spend more time attempting to convince ourselves and others that we are different, in fact, much different than those we compare ourselves to.
In business, I am much better than the employee or employer that I have replaced. In politics, I am much better than the politician that I have replaced – at whatever level of government whether it is local, provincial, or federal. In sports clubs, I am a much better coach, or captain or committee member than the one I replaced. Even in the church, we often compare ourselves to others.
Sometimes we begin the boasting when our credibility is attacked as when our actions are compared to those who have previously held the position that we hold now.
Sometimes we begin boasting when we believe we are not receiving the accolades we deserve for the dedication that demonstrate.
Sometimes we begin boasting when we believe decisions affecting our ability to participate on a team have been overlooked.
And sometimes we begin boasting when we feel threatened by a person who just might be a little better at our job than we are.
The range of reasons for our actions are as varied and old as time itself. Jockeying for position or popularity or recognition at the expense of others to protect our self image often leads to damaging the self esteem of others.
Human nature is to love oneself instead of loving your neighbour. Loving yourself instead of loving God. Becoming the centre of the universe of which, all others must orbit around.
But God tells us that there is another way. A better way. His way. Not our way.
The problem lies in the fact that the world will tell you to look in the mirror and look for success. Simply because the world believes that success is power, prestige and popularity.
God challenges you to look deeper than the surface. He investigates your heart and soul. Although some people try to obscure His view through alcohol, drugs, or other worldly distractions; God sees right through the wall that you put up.
“Am I really any different?” On a government Webinar recently, those on the Webinar were challenged to stop the rhetoric or the promises and actually act upon the changes in society that we claim must happen.
I want to present you with three simple challenges based upon three simple words.
Credibility – Do the words that I speak truly reflect who I really am? If I say that I have been saved by grace; forgiven by God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary; am a new person living in obedient to the Holy Spirit. If I say all this, does it reflect in my business practice; the way I treat others at work; the way I treat my family and friends or is it just something I say or post on Facebook?
Visibility – Can people see the change in me? This is more than just WWJD [What would Jesus dO?] – Is your faith integrated in everything you do? The Bible says in Galatians 5:19-21 NIV: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Does this describe your daily life and routine to the world? Is this the visible witness that you share with others? Are you seen as a “Rhetoric with Actions” kind of person?
Availability – This last point is for Christians – those who have made a conscious decision to allow God to lead their life. Who have confessed their sins and inability to live a life pleasing to God and have accepted God’s mercy and are now listening to the Holy Spirit? Are you making yourself available for God to use you for His glory and not your own?
Are you willing, if God asks you, to live a life void of the praise of men? I believe that God calls us each day to examine ourselves and truly admit what we are really like.
I believe God is calling you to stop looking for faults in other people and look deep within your own life. To ignore the splinter in your brother’s eye and focus on taking the plank out of your own eye.
“Am I really any different?” Only an honest soul searching can answer that question.
Are you willing to risk finding out the answer? God’s standards are far higher than our standards and a lot less bias.
God wants you to live a life that reflects: Credibility, Visibility and Availability.
What kind of life will you choose?