About Tim Burt

Friday, March 01, 2019

Christians: Forgiven But Still Under Construction

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

When I was boy, the Ladybug was the one bug I would always love to pick up. They were not something we saw often. To me they were almost like finding a four-leaf clover—they were such a novelty. I’d always pick them up and let them crawl on me. I didn't like bugs but Ladybugs weren't like bugs. They were like cute little pets.

Then came along its look-a-like. I thought they were Ladybugs at first. I’d pick them up the same way. Then one day someone said to me, See all those spots on the wings and notice the larger white spots on the head? That’s not a Ladybug. That’s an Asian Lady Beetle. Ladybugs don't hang in groups and they are beneficial! They feed on plant pests. But Asian Lady Beetles are a pest and a nuisance bug that cluster in groups and feed on plants. And they stink if you crush them. I didn't pick up a Ladybug for the next ten years. I brushed off every one that landed on me—Ladybug or Asian Lady Beetle. Instead of learning to tell the difference between the two, I’ve treated both like a pest. What I have realized through this, is that my lack of knowledge of being able to distinguish between them, robbed me of the Lady Bug experience I would have shared with my grandchildren. I treated both bugs like they were a nuisance, when one was actually a joy! Not any more! Ignorance is not bliss!

The world does that with Christians. The media focuses on any Christian that has every been a poor example, whether it be someone ministering on television, or someone who calls themselves a Christian but has done something wrong or crazy. The world and the media try to paint pictures of all Christians being weird, crazy, or hypocrites. Forget the fact that people in the world get drunk or high, curse consistently, watch or participate in illicit sex, and will lie, cheat, and manipulate to get what they want. As a matter of fact, I've just described the average prime time television show. For many, those behaviors are their norm, and they could care less what others think! How can they be so hypocritical? They don’t profess to be Christians so they feel no obligation to restrain themselves from these behaviors. They just want professing Christians to be perfect, and if we make a mistake or blow it along the way, they blast that person as the devil incarnate and mock Christianity—just because of a few. Most Christians are good people. Most Pastors are good Pastors. Most television evangelists are Godly men that are not out for money. They take donations so they can reach more people with Christ’s love, and minister to the needs of the desperate like Samaritan's Purse headed up by Franklin Graham.  It's what Renee and I do through Tim and Renee Burt Ministries. We don't take a penny of the donations. They are all used for reaching the lost, helping missionaries, and helping the desperate in third world countries.

Being a Christian is a decision to give your life over to Jesus, be sorrowful for your sin, and to accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior. From that moment, it’s a life-long process of personal character transformation. People in the world don’t understand that. They just think, You say you are a Christian so how can you be doing that? You’re a hypocrite! They don't get that we are imperfect people that God is doing an ongoing work in.

Christians can become a victim of the Lady Bug/Asian Lady Beetle syndrome. They are all lumped together as being too difficult to distinguish good from bad. And so, the world tries to make us all look bad. They don’t understand the difference and so they blacklist us and write us all off. That has been a strategy of the devil from the beginning.

When you believe something strongly—when something becomes a true conviction and an anchor of your heart—it will guide your life. That's the Jesus life! That is why you better have your beliefs anchored in true knowledge and fact. You better not get swayed by the world’s perspective and criticism of Christianity or you’ll begin to be embarrassed that you are a Christian by the attacks of the world. They'll try to persuade you to they're right and get you to abandon your faith. It happens to college students daily when they begin to get attacked for being a Christian and don't know their faith well enough to articulate and defend it! When you become embarrassed to be a Christian, you'll pull back from your faith until you are backslidden and become an indistinguishable Christian—maybe even abandoning your faith altogether. The devil can't steal your faith, but he can deceive you through offense into forsaking it!

When someone ignorantly attacks Christianity, because of some Christian who's had an affair or messed up, be bold and set them straight—gently but with strength and moral fiber. Don’t you become offended. Be a person that is thankful of your Savior Jesus. Be a person that is thankful and bold to live morally and upright according to God’s Word. Remember, “The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.” ( Proverbs 28:1) Be the bold! Enlighten others lovingly, helping them to understand that Christians aren't perfect—just forgiven and under construction by the Holy Spirit working in them—for life! Know that most are like Lady Bugs even though there are some Asian Lady Beetles out there! And then do your best to model what Christianity should look like so they can't criticize you!

Philippians 2:15 (NLT) "... Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people." 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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