Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Affiliation Examination

For many students, the worst time of the year is exam week. Everyone is giddy because they know that vacation is about to start, but instead of being able to just enjoy the last couple of days of class, students everywhere are busy getting ready to take tests that determine whether or not they've used their time wisely in class. Their future counts on these exams; if they do well enough then they could get into a better college or their GPA may rise and their resumes will shine brighter, but if they fail, they will have to take the class all over again and the money they spent on their education will be of waste.

Sadly, there are many who claim to be Christians but they fail the “Affiliation Examination”. These “Christians” fail because others assume they are in no way affiliated with Christ—they are confused by others as heathens. They say they love God, or that they are Christians, yet their lives don't show it. They ask the world what is right or wrong instead of finding the truth in the Bible. If they do decide to go to the Bible for answers, they ignore passages that convict them and distort the Word of God by reading verses out of context. They want to hear “God loves you” and “Heaven is a wonderful place” but they don't want to read/believe the passages that tell them that they need to reform their ways. They go to church on Sunday but they don't strive to apply what they've learned Monday-Saturday. Their faith in Christ is not genuine and Christ is not among them. In Romans 8:9, Paul tells us that if we are Christians then we will allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and not our sinful nature:
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.)
Just like the Jews who relied on God's law but didn't obey it caused non-believers to blaspheme the name of God (Romans 2:24), so do those who claim to be “Christians” yet do that which is of this world. Those who have truly accepted Christ into their lives have the Holy Spirit in them who guides them and helps them determine what is right and wrong (John 14:26; John 16:8).

Have you been spending your time wisely by applying God's Word to your life so that your lifestyle will mimic that of Christ's? Or have you ignored God completely and turned to this world for satisfaction and guidance? Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is really genuine. Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is among you, it means you have failed the test.” Because we all stumble, we must constantly examine our lives and faith. Strive for excellence and dive deep into God's Word. Strengthen your relationship with Christ by learning His ways and work hard at mirroring the lifestyle He led. Let there be no mistake as to who you are affiliated with.

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