Almost anyone with practiced speech, can sound wise and spiritually mature–as if they are close to Jesus.
It’s easy to listen to what people say, Tweet, Instagram, and think, Wow, that person must spend a lot of time with God, they are really spiritual! And it’s easy to wrongly assume this about people because words come so easily.
(I tweet. I’m on Instagram. I talk, maybe too much sometimes! I’m not saying don’t do this. I am saying don’t make wrong assumptions about people based on their words.
If we are close to Jesus, spending time in God’s presence, and time in the Word, it’s our lives that are changed. Our life speaks more than our words ever will.
If we are walking close to Jesus:
1. We will not be a person who lies, or is evasive about things. God Himself is Truth, and loves Truth. He hates lies.
2. We will not be fake and disingenuous. God is Real and Authentic. God loves transparency.
3. We will not deceptively hide things. God brings everything out into the open. Again, God loves transparency.
4. We will not be proud, arrogant, self-righteous, or wrongly self-assertive. True repentance before God, brings a dependent humility on Him. Godly confidence is never arrogant or rude.
5. We will not be harsh with people. Grace brings a softness to our lives. Even in tough pastoral or leadership moments, grace makes room for reconciliation and restoration. We are wise to have boundaries that allow room for people to repent, change, and grow.
6. We will not be legalistic, or religiously pietistic. Nothing we can do on our own is good enough. And any outward performance, showy displays, or striving to look like God’s man or woman, fails. Only by His grace and love can we come close to Him. And that same grace and love empowers us to live the life He has called us to live.
7. We cannot remain self-centered, self-absorbed, self-seeking, self-pitying, self-promoting, self-gratifying. It is completely possible for a christian to be the center of their life; many are. Our selfish ways seek to put us, and keep us, at the center. But before King Jesus, every knee must bow. If we are spending time with Jesus, we gladly bow, very low; prostrate on our faces; repenting and humbled. Humiliated even, by our own selfish desires (thank God for His forgiveness, and love). If a person is truly walking close with Jesus, Jesus is the center. Jesus is on the throne. It’s His rightful place. Our selfish ways vanish. At the feet of Jesus, they cannot stand.
8. We don’t seek to be served or look important. Jesus, stepping out of heaven, gave up His full rights to be served and receive worship. He stooped down into the dirt, washed His disciples dirty feet, saying, we should willingly do the same. He took on our sin and shame and humiliating scorn; all, to serve us. Walking close to Jesus, our focus becomes what Jesus is focused on: the needs of other people; the needs of all humanity.
9. We are not looking for popularity, or to impress people. It’s not a contest. We are looking to impress Jesus into the hearts of people. Winning as many as we can to Him. We are looking to build peoples lives into God’s Kingdom. Setting hearts on fire for Him, that they too, would turn and reach others. We willingly spend the best of our selves making disciples.