A smoke screen is defined as “a ruse designed to disguise someone’s real intentions or activities.” Claiming Christianity is now the smoke screen of many people’s lives. They want to seem religious and spiritual, but in the background of their lives, they aren’t truly living for God. Being a Christian has now become the thing to “say” if you’re asked about your religious background. People will say they are a Christian and in the same breath cuss you out if you say or do something they don’t like. They will sleep around, get drunk, get high, gamble, gossip, be judgmental, hypocritical, harbor bitterness, resentment, anger, unforgiveness… and the list goes on and on. Christianity is NOT just a label…it’s a lifestyle. It’s a whole new way of living and thinking from the way the world operates. The sad part is, people who claim “I’m a Christian” instead of actually living like one are doing more damage to the Kingdom of God than they realize. If you’re going to live like the unbeliever, that’s not being a Christian. Jesus said we live “in” the world, but we’re not “of” the world. Christians are a chosen people, set apart as holy, and because of that, there must be a significant difference in the lifestyles of a Christian and the unbeliever.
The New Testament is full of scriptures about how to live a godly life. It tells you what to do and what not to do with your mouth, your mind, your body, your emotions, your feelings, your relationships, your money, your job, your circumstances, your leisure activities…everything. There is not an excuse “not to know” because all you have to do is open up your Bible and read it. How you live, act, think, and talk affects more than just you. People are watching you, especially the unbeliever, and if you’re living the opposite of what you claim to be, you run people off from the Kingdom instead of ushering them in. 1 Peter 2:12 (NLT) says, “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.” Your life has more influence than what you may think, so live wisely. We all will be accountable to God one day, and we will have to answer for our thoughts, words, and actions (see Romans 14:12). You need to make every day count, and it begins with how you live your life.
To be truthfully honest, you really shouldn’t have to say you’re a Christian because people should be able to see it in the way that you live. They should be able to look at you and tell that there is something different about you from the rest of the world. The best sermons aren’t those that are preached, but those that are lived out on a daily basis. Sadly, Christians are known for being very hypocritical and judgmental, and this shouldn’t be so. Romans 2:1 says that you shouldn’t judge other people because the same things you judge them of, you do yourself. Instead of judging other’s lives, let your life be a living testament to the power of God, and an example of righteous living, not the opposite. The unbeliever should be able to look at your life and see what’s wrong with theirs, and desire that power in their lives. There’s power in your lifestyle, so use it wisely.
Similarly, just going to church and saying you believe in God isn’t what Christianity is all about, and I believe that’s where a lot of the misconceptions come from. A famous preacher once said, going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, just as sitting in a garage doesn’t make you a car. Likewise, James 1:22 says to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. What does this all mean, you ask? It means you must LIVE the Word and its teachings! If you think that just claiming “I go to church” is the end all be all, you are sadly mistaken. Going just to go means you’re doing it out of religious “obligation” and not from the heart. You want to “appear” holy, but your lifestyle says otherwise. God judges the heart and your motives, and He wants a right heart attitude towards praising, worshipping, and living for Him. If you think that you’re doing God a favor by doing these things, especially if you have wrong motives, think again! God isn’t fooled by phoniness and He has some harsh words for those who think they can get away with it:
The Lord said, “These people claim to worship me, but their words are meaningless, and their hearts are somewhere else. Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized. So I will startle them with one unexpected blow after another. Those who are wise will turn out to be fools, and all their cleverness will be useless.”
Isaiah 29:13-14 GNT
It says further in Titus 1:16 (CEV) “Such people claim to know God, but their actions prove that they really don’t. They are disgusting. They won’t obey God, and they are too worthless to do anything good.” Both scriptures show how the smoke screen is used in people’s lives. People say one thing to “appear” a certain way, but the appearance is only being used to disguise what’s going on behind closed doors. You can’t fool God, and regardless of what you may think, you can’t fool people either.
Changing the way you live will only benefit you because you’ll receive the blessing of the Lord. The blessing will not only be in one area, but all areas of your life. Not only will you be blessed, you will win people to the Kingdom, hence doing what Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19-20. God doesn’t want useless lip service and fake worship, He wants true worshipers that will worship Him in Spirit and in truth (see John 4:23-24). Living a fake and sinful life isn’t worth all the glamor that you think it is. It may give you temporary pleasure now, but the consequences for disobeying God are much worse, for Hebrews 10:31 (NLT) says, “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” You will find that when you do things God’s way and you obey Him, His rewards are so much better than your temporary pleasure. And the best part is that His rewards aren’t temporary…they’re everlasting. Make a decision today to live completely for God…in all areas of your life. Just remember that God sees through the smoke screens that we hide behind, and everything that is done in the dark will eventually come to the light.