Living two lives?
A few years ago I invited my Mum, Sister & Brother to join me at church one Sunday when I was due to lead the service. They are not Christians, so it was a surprise when they accepted the invitation. I’d not long been leading services and they wanted to ‘come and see me perform’ (their words). I can still vividly remember my Mum’s comment to me over coffee at the end of the service. She said, ‘you were just like you are in real life’. What a bizarre thing to say.
What was she expecting? I think she had imagined that I’d have a different persona when leading a service, that I would be playing a part like an actor on a stage. Apart from me the only Christians my family encounter are probably on TV, where they are either portrayed as a bumbling vicar, or an absolute nutter.
‘You steal and murder; you lie in court and are unfaithful in marriage. You worship idols and offer incense to Baal, when these gods have never done anything for you. And then you come into my temple and worship me! Do you think I will protect you so that you can go on sinning? You are thieves, and you have made my temple your hideout. But I’ve seen everything you have done.’ – Jeremiah 7:9-11 – CEV
Jeremiah was told by God to stand at the door of the temple and warn them against living hypocritical lives. OK, they were going to the temple to worship the all powerful God, but they were also unfaithful in the marriages, stealing & murdering. They were living two lives – one inside the temple and one outside. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God reminded them ‘but I’ve seen everything you have done’.
It can very so easy for us to live two separate lives – maybe not to quite the same extremes as those examples. We can behave one way at church on Sunday morning or at Ignite on Sunday evening, but behave in a completely different way from Monday to Saturday. If we’d be ashamed to behave that way at Church, why are we not ashamed to behave that way during the week?
– do the people you spend most of your week with know that you go to church?
– if so, do you ever behave in a way which would make them think you’re a hypocrite?
– during the week do you live in a way which God would approve of, or do you live like everyone else?
Lord Jesus, help me this week to be more like you.
Help me keep a check on my language & my attitude to others.
Before I behave in a way which would let you down, give me a prod – tweak my conscience and challenge me.