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OBEDIENCE OR PERFORMANCE

By:  F. Kong

This couple has always been known as “The Christian Couple”

I could count at least some five or six magazines that published their testimonies.

They’re active and they’re all over the place. In fact they not only get invited to speak in gatherings, but they offer themselves to be invited to give their heart stirring testimonies to whoever would care to listen.

I had a business appointment with them one day. The moment I saw them something stirred within me. I wasn’t quite comfortable because the conversation was expectedly laced with a lot of predictable “Christian jargons.”

Now here comes the shocker. This couple is known not only for the testimonies they give, but also for the bad reputation they have in business. I would meet one business man telling bad stories of how he’s been ripped off in a sour business deal. Others also shared the same low opinion of the couple. Strange isn’t it? To stand public talking about the goodness of God and how He was able to restore their broken lives and marriage and then do business with pre-meditated malice and deception. Breaks your heart, doesn’t it?

When a person stands in front of a crowd and talks about godly stuff without the lives to show it, he is merely performing. I don’t know if they’re aware of this but they’re actually creating more harm than good.

I don’t know if people understand the difference between obedience and performance. Here’s what Max Lucado has to say about.

  • Obedience is seeking God with all your heart. Performance is having quiet time because you feel guilty if you don’t.
  • Obedience is finding ways to let the word of God dwell in you richly. Performance is quickly scanning a passage so you can check it off your Bible reading plan.
  • Obedience is inviting guests to your home for dinner. Performance is feeling anxious about whether every detail of the meal will be perfect.
  • Obedience is following God’s prompting to start a small group, Bible study or relationship. Performance is reluctance to let anyone else lead the group because they might not do it as well as you would.
  • Obedience is doing your best. Performance is wanting to be the best.
  • Obedience is saying yes to whatever God asks you. Performance is saying yes to whatever people ask you.
  • Obedience is following the prompting of God’s spirit. Performance is following a list of man-made requirements.
  • Obedience springs from fear of God. Performance springs from a fear of failure.
  •  Obedience is letting the life speak out loud without the lips moving. Performance is all lips but the life clearly doesn’t show it.
When the lips and the life match, when the talk and the walk are compatible, -integrity is achieved. Nothing destroys the work of God’s Kingdom than finding people performing God’s work but failing to live out God’s word.

May I offer an advice for people who perform and long to be in the limelight and then do unethical business practices in the dark? Stop what you’re doing and get your act together. The name of Christ suffers. And don’t you dare forget that every secret deed you do in the dark, God sees and will reveal in the open. You can do all the performance you want to do but without a life of obedience, your actions are not acceptable to God.

By the way, performance is essentially “play acting” which in Greek is the etymology of “Hypocrisy.” Oswald Chambers was right all along. He said: “The world is glad of an excuse not to listen to the gospel message, and the inconsistencies of Christians is the excuse.”

Don’t forget, the most wearisome thing to do in our lifetime is to be insincere. So don’t.

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