A Thief, A Cute Princess Ring, and Our Trivialization of Jesus

Aria has a cute, princess toy ring that she loves. It's in a little box that she carries around. She carries it more than she wears it, but that's okay. She loves it.

The bad thing for Aria is that Eli realizes that she loves it. He has this tendency to take it away from her to get a rise out of her. On Wednesday, he was trying to take it away by squeezing her arm. He must figure that if he squeezed hard enough, she will drop it. Aria started crying and yelled, "Bad Eli." Eli, while still squeezing her arm and attempting to get the ring declared, "Aria, 'bad' is a mean word." He was right; we teach them not to call anyone "bad." But his actions were much worse than than Aria's words. Eli knows what is right, but he refused to do it while still keeping the moral high ground of teaching what is right. Although that is behavior that needs correction, it is pretty typical of a five year old.

It is very unbecoming of an adult. To teach the truth while not living it is not an action that God looks favorably on.
"Practice and observe whatever they [the Scribes and Pharisees] tell you— but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger" Matt 23:3-4 (ESV).
In 2006, Al Gore, at one of his three houses, a twenty room house with eight baths, consumed twenty times the amount of energy that an average American consumes.

In a 2007 interview between ABC news and the Tennessee Center for Policy Research's President, the center stated, "If this were any other person with $30,000-a-year in utility bills, I wouldn't care. But he tells other people how to live and he's not following his own rules."

He jets around the world teaching us to take steps to curb our energy consumption and our carbon footprint. That's great. But like the Scribes and Pharisees, do as Al Gore teaches, not as he does.

Like Al Gore has done with his stance on environmentalism, we have this tendency to just want to intellectualize our faith and not allow it to change our lives. We lie to ourselves and say, "If we think the right thoughts, if we believe the right doctrine, if we have participated in the right religious rituals, then our life is right." That just is not the case. If our thoughts do not transform who we are at the core of our being, then we turn being imitators of Jesus into a sham of Bible Trivial Pursuit. It might be a fun game for some, but it will be empty of any fruit that God wants to bless those around us with.

Francis Schaeffer wrote:
“Ideas are the stock of the thought-world, and from the ideas burst forth all the external things—painting, music, building, the love and the hating of men in practice, and equally the results of loving God or rebellion against God in the external world….The preaching of the gospel is ideas, flaming ideas brought to men, as God has revealed them to us in Scripture. It is not a contentless experience internally received, but it is contentful ideas internally acted upon that make the difference. So when we state our doctrines, they must be ideas and not just phrases. We cannot use doctrines as though they were mechanical pieces to a puzzle. True doctrine is an idea revealed by God in the Bible and an idea that fits properly into the external world as it is, and as God made it, and to man as he is as God made him, and can be fed back through man’s body into his thought-world and there acted upon. The battle for man is centrally in the world of thought.”
In simpler words, "Thoughts, without corresponding actions, are worthless although they are usually necessary to produce those proper actions."

Let's not just say the right words; let's live the life God wants us to live.