Devout Christians: Extreme Allegiance – The Cost of Partisanship in Faith and Fandom.

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( People are usually passionate and committed when supporting their side, and sometimes they go to extremes, they indulge in mind-blogging foolishness, to show their support. This display of partisanship and unqualified support sometimes become bizarre, even appalling, and pathetic, as, for example, when some people undergo plastic surgery to look like the ones they support.

Devout Christians: Extreme Allegiance - The Cost of Partisanship in Faith and Fandom.

In sport, for many fans, this is their most fervent idolatry, it has been known that some enthusiasts paint their homes in the colors of their favorite teams, some supporters color and cut their hair to match their idols, and even try to talk and walk in ways to imitate their favorite athletes. Some hapless kids even have to go through life with the most inappropriate monikers because parents named them after their idols and teams.

There is nothing intrinsically amiss in giving support to your side, but there is something enormously sad when that support is so slavish and infantile that it blinds you to the reality that exists.

You may love your side to death, and you may support them in bad times as well as good times, but you, decent and proper, should always be fair and committed to the biblical concept: “Do unto others as you would they do unto you”.

You shout and scream your support for your side, but take offence when your opponents scream support for their side. This is not the Christian’s way.

I was reminded of this concept of fairness when a minister of religion told me he wanted to put loudspeakers on his church so that the neighbors can hear the church service. He seemed not to appreciate that if the neighbors wanted to hear his service they would attend his church.

On the same street, upwind of the church, is a bar (also known as a rum shop), that every week has karaoke sessions. I wanted to know what the minister thinks of the licensee of the bar, putting loudspeakers on his establishment so the neighbors (and the church) could hear his music. The minister was not amused.

People are like that, they choose their side, and some will give fervent support. In all of this, individuals lose sight of the thing that really matters, i.e., the size of the support is not an indication of anything worthwhile.

In truth, because we are living in a world where the taste, attitudes and mores are carnal and satanic, it follows that believers, and their way of life, will always be in the minority.

Being in the minority is no bad thing.

God has established that they are two sides, and only two sides, the Lord’s side and the world’s side. No one will ever end up in Hell, or find himself in Heaven, by mistake. It will not happen.

The Bible tells us about the two sides in words like these: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

It is alarming that many believers still think that there is a grey area in redemption, a fuzziness in which they can abide, but that is not so.

When God conceived the plan of salvation, a plan conceived before time began, with Jesus Christ at its centre, it was a plan of utmost clarity. We dishonour God when we think that God could devise a plan that would be wishy-washy and confusing.

Some believers think that God is asking too much, although they don’t say so, and if they have a little of that, which is forbidden, and a little of this, that God dislikes, well then, God would surely understand. However much some people may want to, trying to serve two masters, living at ease with one foot in each camp, is not the Christian’s way.

The truth is that living in such a compromised position is a clear denial of Jesus Christ and what he stands for.

We are forcefully reminded of this when Aaron transgressed and caused Israel to sin by making the golden calf and getting them to worship it. Moses intervened on his arrival at the camp, and highlighted the situation with these words, “Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me.” (Exodus 32:26)

It is true that in this life the separation may not come, God may not say like Moses, “Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me.”, but the separation will come, and for some it will be disastrous, as the Bible tells us here:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

A true servant of God, and in truth believers are servants of Jesus Christ, will not only know, but do God’s will. Some believers go about pleasing themselves, doing their own thing, not willing to make a sacrifice to bring honour to God. In the end they will be disappointed.

Adam Clarke’s Bible commentary on 1 Corinthians 15: 58, says it very well:

“He that works not, to bring glory to God, and good to man, is not acknowledged as a servant of Christ; and if he be not a servant, he is not a son; and if not a son, then not an heir. And he must not only work, but abound in that work; ever exceeding his former self; and this, not for a time, but always; beginning, continuing, and ending every act of life to God’s glory and the good of his fellows.”

Whatever you are undertaking, or about to undertake, your focus, practices, attitude, and commitments have to satisfy certain criteria as follows:

  1. Is it pleasing to God?
  2. Does the Bible teach it?
  3. Is it spiritually uplifting, does it help or hinder my progress in Christ?
  4. What says my conscience, am I at peace with God?

If the answers to the above four questions are yes, yes, yes and yes, then rest assured that you are on God’s side, and God’s favour, and blessings, rest on you. It is to such that will gain the crown of life, and Paul encourages like this, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Staff Writer; Henderson W.

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