Baseball, Hotdogs, and Apple Pie
Somewhere the idea has hatched out that the average American likes baseball, hotdogs and apple pie. I would suppose that is generally true. Personally, I don't care much for baseball and I have a rather moderate taste for hotdogs (with everything on them), but my liking for apple pie would surely make up for my weakness on the other two. The only thing better than a good wedge of apple pie is another one, with about 3 scoops of ice cream on top!
It's not really so strange that we as Americans can be identified by our taste and actions. The same can be said of most nations and peoples of the world.
Those strange folks in the City of Antioch, about A.D. 42, were called Christians because their appetites and actions were Christlike. (Acts 11:26) They were recognized and branded by their very lives. The followers of Christ have always been a peculiar sort of folks (Titus 2:14), made so by the fact that they were redeemed from iniquity, purified unto Christ, and have become zealous of good works.
WHY THE FUSS?
The age old argument about the behaviour of those who are called by the Name of Christ is soon settled by a sincere search of God's Word. New creatures (2 Cor. 5:17) are most certainly different from the old. God's people have no fellowship nor communion with the works (behaviour) of darkness, (2 Cor. 6:14)
There is recorded in Judges, chapter 12, the story of a battle when Jephthah, judge of Israel, chastened the Ephraimites. Jephthah used a password (Shibboleth) which the Ephraimites could not properly pronounce. They always said 'Sibboleth'. When a man was challenged by the guards and claimed to be a friend, he was required to say, 'Shibboleth'. If he pronounced it 'Sibboleth', he was slain as an enemy. He was identified by his speech.
When Peter claimed to know nothing of Christ, a man immediately identified him by his language (Matt. 26:73), and Peter was forced to act as a vile unbeliever to hide his identity.
PERSONAL PRACTICE IS PROOF
Should you run across some fellow who dislikes baseball, has no appetite for hotdogs, and just can't stomach apple pie, you'd likely say, "Man, you'd better register as an alien!" He just wouldn't fit the pattern.
So we see how the Ephramite was condemned by his speech and Peter was identified by the way he talked. Now, how about you and I who claim the blessed Name of Christ? Can we be identified by our practical lives (the way we actually live)? Does our talk betray us as servants of Christ? How about our dress? Or lack of dress? Social life? Hair style? Interests? (It's strange how many folks who were too tired to make prayer meeting Wednesday night spend most of Thursday night sitting on a rough bleacher screaming encouragement to a basketball team).
Sometimes it may take drastic measures to produce the disciplined life that Christ requires of His people. A personal shakedown, or putting away of things that hinder, and a definite decision and determination to do what is necessary to be a success is personal discpline.
If you can't turn off the TV early enough on Saturday night to get rested and ready for Sunday services, then throw the TV out -- or whatever else it is that hinders. 1 Cor. 9:24-27 will help as a starter, and there are many other scriptures to urge and encourage.
Don't be afraid to be different, and to be identified as the servant of Christ.
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