My poor children! As they were growing up, they had to listen to me speak so many times. One of those times was at a major youth convention in Laramie, Wyoming. My 12-year-old son and I were sitting together on the airplane flight back from the convention. Suddenly he said, “You know, I really liked the meetings, Dad, and I liked your speaking.” Then he went on to explain, “There was something different this time, Dad. I listened this time.” Great, I think. Well, I asked him what he’d learned, and what he told me was not anything, of course, that I had said at the convention. It was original from him! He said, “Well, Dad, I learned that Christianity is a lot like suntan lotion.” Sure! Of course! I said, “How?” He said, “Well, if you just put one big blob of lotion on your arm or your face, it won’t help much. It doesn’t do much good unless you rub it in!”
I’m Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about “Why You’re Restless.”
A 12-year-old boy pretty well nailed it. If you look at many of us who name the name of Christ these days, you’ll see people who pretty much believe all the right things and do all the right things. You see, but when it comes to our everyday lives we actually are pretty powerless and inconsistent. And many of us have this gnawing restlessness inside that says, “This can’t be all there is to this Jesus-thing.” Well, it isn’t!
To use my son’s analogy from years ago, we have the right “lotion.” In fact, we have a big blob of Bible knowledge on the outside. But, remember, “It doesn’t do you much good unless you rub it in,” which leads us to this sobering word for today from the Word of God in James 1:22. It describes Christians who are “deceiving themselves” it says. Self-deceived believers – kidding themselves. Well, how does that happen?
“Do not merely listen to the word,” the Bible says, “and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” The passage then goes on to compare a person who reads the Bible and remains unchanged as being like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and walks away without working on his appearance. God says here, “It’s not what you know spiritually that matters, it’s what you do as a result of what you know.” Unfortunately, too many of us are satisfied with just believing it. We think we’re in good shape with God because we agree with all the right things, but it’s passive agreement. If you tell me that staying out in the sun unprotected can give me skin cancer, well just agreeing with you won’t do me much good. I’d still get skin cancer if I don’t do something; if I don’t change as a result of the truth that I agree with.
Now, you can tell if you’re just putting on the Jesus-life instead of rubbing it in. You can tell by how much you worry about your problems instead of trusting God with them, by how little you love people who don’t love you or who are different from “your kind,” by all that junk you allow in your heart, by how lame your prayers are, by how selfish you are, how proud you are, how seldom you ever tell anyone about Jesus.
When you rub in what the Bible says about these issues, you start changing the way you are! When you just put a blob of Bible on your skin, you think you’re OK but you keep on living the same old way – the un-Jesus way. When you open your mind to the words of God, open up your life, too! All this Bible you’re learning and believing is supposed to be growing a Jesus-heart in you and a life that looks more and more like His. Every day, open yourself up to God’s Holy Spirit to take the words He inspired and to rub them into your life.