Among the many things Bug got for Christmas, one was her very first board game. It's cute, and both my hubby and I have been suckered into playing it a lot lately because Boo can't and would probably just eat the pieces. We have tried to tell Bug before that "it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game", and "just try your best", and "don't be mad at them if they win; do you want them to be mad at you if you win?". Apparently, all of this has fallen on deaf ears. She had fun while we were playing, but both times I won. The first time she didn't take it too bad, the second time she lost her "attitude coin" for today and I made her get ready for bed early. Now she says that she understands the rules of how we play and share, that she knows about being a good sport, but what do her actions show?
That may be a bit much, after all, she IS only 5 and still learning; but I want you to think about us as adults. We claim to be Christians. We claim to know right from wrong. But how do other see us? To others from the outside looking in, what do our actions show?
James 2:18-19 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder. (NIV)
Apparently we people do not change much over the centuries. "Good" people that did not believe in Christ had the same argument in Biblical times as they do today: "I am a good person and do good things, so I will go to heaven. I'm better than that such-n-such preacher on TV that claims to be all righteous but is just a hypocrite. Just look at my deeds versus his!"
There are 2 major points in these verses:
1. Deeds alone will not get you into heaven
2. If you really have faith, you will want to do good deeds out of the abundance of love and gratitude in your own heart, and that will show others the evidence of your faith.
So what about the people that claim to be Christians that backslide? Well, we all continue to sin, whether we like it or not. But the trend of our lives should be farther and farther away from sin the longer we walk with Jesus. If the trend of our lives gets farther away from him instead of closer, then we should examine whether or not we really have a relationship with him. Like the old joke of the elderly couple riding to town in the pickup truck - the wife claims there is so much distance between them as she sits by the passenger door-- her husband tells her that he is not the one who moved. People, if we used to have a wonderful relationship with God and we feel we don't now, he is not the one who moved away, we did, and we are the ones who need to move back.
A little side note here, the verse also says something about people who believe there is a God, even people who believe that Jesus came and he was the son of God. The demons and Satan know that too, but does it save them? No! Why not? Head knowledge never equals heart knowledge in God's kingdom. You can know everything possible, memorize the Bible from front to back, yet if you have not asked God to come into your heart, asked Jesus to take your place for the punishment of your sins, well then folks, you are no more a Christian than you are a car just by knowing all about the mechanics of one.
As for my Bug, she is only 5, and we still have more time to work on her character development. In a way this game was a good thing, it brought it to our attention, and maybe we can have some time to work on this before school starts. She is already good at winning, you should see her "happy dance"!