Fake Jail Faith
Whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. John 3:21
A buddy and I go to the jail every Sunday morning to meet with those interested in a Bible study/recovery meeting. There, in the misery of jail, away from the influence of drugs, we see broken men turn to God. In jail, their faith seems very real. Often however, when they get out, they return to the same old life. Their faith seems to be a lie as they abandon God at the jail door. They said all the right things while incarcerated, but their actions on the outside stand as evidence against their supposed faith.
It’s easy to use today’s passage to judge them. If your faith is real, your actions will reveal it. If you follow God, you will find recovery and the new life. If, however, you follow yourself, you’ll return to the disaster. Was your faith simply a fake jail faith?
Today’s passage certainly does say that a person’s behavior will expose the veracity of his faith. If a person lives in the dark, his behavior will reveal it. If, however, that person flees the darkness and lives in the light, this also will be obvious.
The temptation for me, is to point the verse at others. The challenge of Jesus’ words though, is meant for me first. What does my behavior today say about me? If anyone is watching, would they see that I’m living in the light? Are my actions evidence of a life pointed at God or at Scott?
In the painful consequences of my own addiction, I was desperate to follow God. I promised I would do whatever it took to abandon my self-destructive behaviors to live the new life. Nearly six years later though, with my professional and family life returned to normal, am I as devoted to the new life? Or, have I subtly returned to following me? Do I have a fake jail faith that I pull out only when I’m in need?
Our daily behavior will reveal what we truly believe. If we claim faith, but follow ourselves, the lie will be obvious for all to see. If we truly live in the light, that too, will be apparent to those around us. Do our actions today reveal that we follow God or ourselves?