Links Daily Devotional

Links Players president Jeffrey Cranford and COO Jeff Hopper talk about the dangers of being a nominal Christian.

Who Is a Christian?, Part 10: Out with It

“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33, NASB)

I have yet to find a secret golfer.

People live secret lives of many kinds, often covering their sins or addictions for years without being discovered. Others, because of criminal episodes in their lives, must live in witness protection programs after they come clean.

But I just don’t see this among golfers. Those who play openly talk about playing. Golfers are not ashamed or embarrassed or fearful. They invite others to join them and trade stories with friends who already have. Golf may be an individual sport, but in many ways it is the most social of games, affording much opportunity for conversation both on the course and off.

In the midst of a discussion like this, we might then ask where Christians fall? Do those who follow Christ talk about it, or do they keep it to themselves?

Private faith may be culturally encouraged in the Western world, but it is not the faith of Scripture. When Jesus spoke to his disciples of following him—of being his disciple—one of the matters he took up with them was openness. Your faith in Jesus, your following of him—these were not things to be denied. In fact, they were things to be talked about with others. “You are witnesses [of the things you have seen from me],” he told them (Luke 24:48). And we know that witnesses are often called to testify.

When one’s faith is not so much a faith but only a religious practice, privacy may be the bent of the adherent. Afraid of offending others, or not wanting to talk about controversial subjects in “polite company,” some keep their thoughts about God, Christ, and the acts of one’s faith to themselves. Here, those who should be witnesses protect themselves by never bearing witness at all.

It is true that discretion is important. We want to demonstrate respect to others, but with the purpose for that respect being that they would see Jesus in us. It is equally true, however, that circumstances will dictate that we are compelled to speak, even when we are not asked—just as a golfer who loves the game does!

In your meditations before the Lord, take up this matter of the public nature of your own faith. Is it time to speak where you haven’t before? What will you say? In what spirit will you say it? All of these are measures of the “heat of your faith,” of a commitment surpassing casual commitment or spiritual lukewarmth.

Jeff Hopper
January 6, 2014
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