|Volume 19 Number 7 July 2017||
Donald R. Fox
Within me is a strong desire to be a Christian gentleman. I try to be conscious of my actions. I want to conduct myself in such a way that I will not do anything that is crude, impolite or inappropriate. Our English dictionaries are consistent as to the meaning of the word gentleman. “A man whose conduct conforms to a high standard of propriety or correct behavior” (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary).
I do not want to paint something with a broad brush; however, it seems to me that gentlemen are becoming a rare breed. For the ladies who are reading this, our dictionaries state that a lady is “a well-mannered and considerate woman with high standards of proper behavior.” The definition is exactly the same as a gentleman; the only difference is the change of gender and specifics applying to a man.
I can remember when men generally were gentlemen and women were ladies. It does not take a genius to figure out why the large change in our society has occurred. For example, let’s look at our entertainers and those who shape our younger folks’ thinking and behavior. In this era, movies, television shows and music are, for the most part, very vulgar and are comprised of a sadistic makeup. They present a very negative view of any “high standard of propriety or correct behavior.” I am thankful that the Word of God, the Bible, forms within true believers the desire for correctness in all paths of our being. “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments” (Psalm 119:104-106).
Notice that it is through the precepts, teachings of God, that we “get understanding.” Therefore, we understand what is right and what is wrong. We know what proper conduct and correct behavior is. The child of God hates “every false way.” To determine falsehoods is easy when we use a true standard. The Word of God will shine as “a lamp” and give guidance toward a high standard of propriety and faithfulness to our Creator. I want to be a Christian gentleman to the fullest extent. Therefore, “I will keep” my God’s “righteous judgments.”
None of us can claim perfection. We are but mere mortals. When I flounder, I remain thankful that I am a Christian.
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:6-10)
When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you do? Shower? Eat breakfast? Brush your teeth? Most people have a routine that they follow each day, except for the occasional holiday and weekend. Now, for some people their routine is healthy and productive. They have found the best way to motivate themselves each day and use their routine to achieve maximum productivity. Yet, for others, their routine is harmful, lazy and produces only enough energy to just get by. When we look at these two different approaches to life, we probably all recognize changes we need to make in our physical lives. I know I do, but do we recognize the changes we need to make in our spiritual lives?
In Matthew 23, the Scribes and the Pharisees were living their lives just how they wanted. They were telling people to live one way while they were living another way. They were making themselves look good on the outside while on the inside they were full of corruption. They were upholding parts of the Law while they were forgetting other parts all together. In Matthew 23:27-28, Jesus continued His examination of their lives and said they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Obviously, their lives were not pleasing to the Lord.
What about our spiritual lives? Do we live like the scribes and Pharisees? Are we full of hypocrisy and lawlessness? Many Christians today are caught in the harmful trap of not really living for Jesus. To so many, a successful day as a Christian just means not knowingly doing anything wrong. We get in the routine of getting up each day, not committing any sins people will call us out on and going to bed feeling pretty satisfied each night. We go to Bible study and worship each week, sit on our normal pew, sing, pray and take of the Lord’s Supper. We feel that in the end we are doing all right. However, what about actually living for Jesus?
I believe we all can recognize the areas in our spiritual lives that need to change, but we have to want to change for our Lord. Christ must be the focal point of our lives, and as His holy people, we should work each day to do His will.