Thought of the Day October 26, 2017 Internal vs external Christian living

By 9:17 AM

What does the Spirit say to the Church of Sardis? Read Rev 3:1-4.

What is the problem that is identified? External show of the Christian life but internal lack of real Christian living. It was the complaint of the prophets against Israel, the complaint of Jesus against the Pharisees, the complaint of the Spirit against many in the Church today. Recall the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mathew as he applied to the Pharisees the words from the prophet Isaiah: "This people pays me lip service but their heart is far from me. They do me empty reverence making dogmas out of human precepts" (Mt 15:-9).

Three things are said to be necessary to counteract this attitude:

a) Be watchful. Through the gifts of the Spirit, especially knowledge, wisdom and understanding, we are to continually discern what is in accord with the truth of the Gospel as revealed, taught and interpreted by the Magisterium and what is not in accord with this teaching. It is easy for us to be lured into believing something because it is popularly accepted by the majority. Faith in Jesus and his teachings and life-style calls for radical living.

b) Strengthen any weak areas of our faith-life or spiritual life. Learn what the Church teaches and profess that teaching without hesitation. We may have personal questions and find it hard to understand rationally, but the need to be faithful and committed must not give room to any semblance of wavering. Again the attitude of Peter becomes important in these situations. Without understanding the words of Jesus concerning the gift of Eucharist Peter in faith professed: "Lord, to whom shall we go. You have the words of everlasting life. We have come to believe that you are God's holy one" (Jn 6:68-69). Not only are we to know and profess the full truth, but we are to put that truth into practice in our daily lives. Heeding the words in the Letter of James, "Humbly welcome the word that has taken root in you, with its power to save you. Act on this word. If all you do is listen to it, you are deceiving yourselves" (James 1:21-22).

If our spiritual life is weak, we may need to become more disciplined in regards to our prayer time, in fasting and abstinence from more than just food and drink, in study of the Word, in conscious eradicating of deeper areas of sin and imperfection in our lives.

c) Repent of any shortcomings in any of the areas we find ourselves failing to be watchful of and strengthened in. While there is still time, we need to take advantage of the grace God gives us to come to the fullness of life in the Spirit. Though our baptismal garment has become soiled over the years because of sin and indifference, complacency and the presence of false gods in our life, we can wash them once more in the Blood of the Lamb so that they may become white again.

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