"Be What You Are"
April 7, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
Shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of Life. Philippians 2:15-16
A worker at a New York state facility, it was learned, had stolen the chaplain’s fountain pen. This seemed strange since the worker was illiterate. Why would he need a pen? He said he took it to wear in his coat pocket so that people would think he was able to write. He pretended to be what he was not.
There is much deceptive role-playing in life, also in religion. People in church circles who at heart are not what they outwardly seem to be – or what they want others to think they are – are called hypocrites. The classic examples of sham religion were the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. Our Lord said to them, “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones” (Matthew 23:27).
Pretending to be what we are not is a temptation that comes also to us Christians. It came even to the apostle Peter, who on occasion would eat with the Gentiles. Saint Paul goes on to say that when Jewish Christians came from Jerusalem, “[Peter] began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group” (Galatians 2:12). But Saint Peter knew also the right way – the way of truth and honesty he head learned from Jesus. He writes of Jesus, “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).
Saint Paul, stressing the same truth, writes to the Philippians that they should “become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe" (Philippians 2:15).
Christians are the children of God, and as such they conduct themselves in the world. People recognize them not only for what they are, but they see also the image of Jesus stamped on them. It cannot be otherwise. Jesus, the Holy One of Israel, bore their sins. Now in heaven, He through His Word and Spirit enables those still on earth to “die to sins and live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).
PRAYER: O Lord Jesus, continue Your sanctifying work in me, enabling me to continue to be Your disciple. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)