What do you Believe?
We have begun our Sunday night, ladies' Bible study, and last week we looked at the word "doctrine." It is interesting to me that we, as a body of believers, do not understand exactly what the word doctrine means.
Don't get me wrong, I have heard people at church and in college talk about doctrine and how we should have a sound doctrine, but that was as far it went in my understanding. So looking at Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth's definition and explanation helped me see the importance of having a sound doctrine in Christ.
You see, doctrine simply means a belief system. It is the ground in which we stand on through every circumstance of life. Everyone and every thing operates on a doctrine. The shows we watch on tv, curriculum used in schools, even families. However, if we are not grounded in the Bible and walking with the Lord, our doctrine will be not be sound and will be skewed. In studying what Paul says to Pastor Titus, we see that even through times of despair we are to teach others about God and His Word. We are not sit back in fear, yet to stand in truth.
One of the quotes from our study is, "Sound doctrine is radically transformational. Lived out it changes everything about us."
Christians are supposed to be different from the world, a study that is cited in our book "Adorned" shows that older teens and young adults were asked if they had a personal friend or acquaintance who was a Christian. Of the roughly 85% who said yes, only 15% indicated they saw any differences between their Christian and non-Christian friends. We are not to be like the world, and that starts with the belief that is directing our life. If you find that you are partaking in activities or behavior that are not becoming of Christ, but something all of your non-Christian friends enjoy, it's ok to go to the scripture to make sure you are living as you should.
If we are not grounded in the Word and faithful to our walk with Christ it is easy, even for someone who thinks they are a "good Christian", to fall prey to false doctrine and being deceived. Whether through a popular preacher/teacher who tickles ears, a best selling book that isn't fully aligned with scripture, or even what culture dictates as ok. Nancy Demoss says, "this is one reason we so often see professing Christians falling prey to off-base teaching and justifying unbiblical and immoral choices- because they have fallen away from sound doctrine and its life implications." So, Christian, if you have fallen away come back! Christ has not moved and is waiting for you to come back to Him and fellowship once more.
In our study this past week we also looked at ways Christians should differ from the world. It is not a complete list, but it is definitely a beginning. Here a few of the ways Paul says Christians should differ from the world: (pages 43-44 in "Adorned"):
1. Consistency of belief and behavior: (Titus 1:16) Unbelievers may "profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works" whereas true believers' lives are expected to be consistent with what they claim to believe. Are you consistent? Do your friends, family, and co-workers see the same you that you claim to be on Sunday?
2. Purity: Paul describes unbelievers as being "defiled" and lawless (1:15, 2:14), acting like "evil beasts" (1:12) By contrast, the doctrine of God's holiness calls us to be "above reproach" in every area of our lives. Are you pure in all areas of your life?
3. Self-Control: Unbelievers are slaves to various passions and pleasures such as drunkenness and laziness. But believers in Christ are empowered by Him to be self-controlled. (1:7, 12) How do you spend your time?
4. Composure: Unbelievers are sometimes quick-tempered and violent. But believers are to be kind and not argumentative, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. (3:2) How do you deal with people who wrong you, who believe differently that you, or who hurt you? You do not have to condone wrong behaviors, but we can be kind when helping or dealing with someone else.
5. Relationships: Paul describes unbelievers' attitude towards others as being full of malice and envy, whereas believers' relationships should reflect the loving kindness of God our Savior. How are your relationships?
6. Truthfulness: Paul describes unbelievers as scheming liars and deceivers, he referred to believers, however, as having a knowledge of the truth and a devotion to God, who never lies. (1:2) Do you tell the truth? Are you truly devoted to God?
When looking at this short list, it seems to be easy until we truthfully look at how we handle situations and circumstances. In today's culture, living for Christ is so important, but I'm not going to lie, it can also be hard. How can we make it easier to make sure we are living as a Christian? Stay grounded in the word, conduct our lives with sound doctrine (even if it's against what the world says is the norm.) Remember you may be the only example of Christ that people see... will that make someone long to have what you have or will they instead decide you aren't different than they are without Christ?
I'll leave you with this final quote from 19th century German philosopher Heinrich Heine, "Show me your redeemed life and I might be inclined to believe in your Redeemer."
News From Our Ladies!
2. Congratulations to James and Jane Hurn, they are expecting a baby this fall! They will find out the gender this month!
*If you have anything you'd like to share in this section, let Christy know!*