By Matt Allen
I must confess I am quickly turning into a political junkie — as far as the upcoming Presidential election is concerned. In fact, I haven’t been this excited about an election in a long time. From installing a screen saver featuring my favorite candidate on my computer, to watching some of the political shows on television, I regularly keep up with the campaign.
On July 25 the announcement came out that Republican Presidential nominee, George W. Bush, had chosen former Wyoming Congressman Dick Cheney as his Vice-Presidential pick. Immediately Bush’s critics began saying almost in unison that the choice of Cheney added “gravitas” to the Republican presidential ticket. Rush Limbaugh, the noted radio talk-show host, said on July 27 that in describing the Bush ticket the word “gravitas” has been used over 200 times during July (most of that within a week).
What exactly does “gravitas” mean? If you’re like me, perhaps you have hardly, if ever, heard the word “gravitas” used before. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary lists the following information concerning the word in question.
Main Entry: grav·i·tas
Pronunciation: ‘gra-vi-täs, tas
Definition: high seriousness (as in a person’s bearing or in the treatment of a subject)
There are some who need to add a little “gravitas” to their Christianity. After all, that is what this article is about. That Christians need to approach their walk with Christ seriously is a theme throughout the New Testament. Keeping our soul is serious business!
Failure to keep the soul right before the Lord will have eternal ramifications. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26). In what ways do we need to approach Christianity more seriously?
We need to add “gravitas” to our attitude toward sin and sinful behavior. In our lives and in the church sin needs to be dealt with seriously. There is constant temptation to make light of sin. At times, all are guilty of attempting to rationalize or excuse sin. Sin can have eternal consequences resulting in everlasting separation from God (Matt. 25:41, 46; Rom. 6:23).
Sin must be looked at seriously because of the high price that was paid to cleanse us from it. In Ephesians 1:7 Paul wrote: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Christ was offered on the cross on our behalf out of God’s love for man (John 3:16). Jesus had to pay the price for our sins. He was the only one that could (Heb. 7:25-27; 9:26). When we are tempted to think that our sins are not that bad, we must remember it was our sins that put Christ on the cross!
We need to add “gravitas” to our attitude in local church work. We must approach the work within the local congregation seriously! All brethren within each congregation must have a mind to work (Neh. 4:6) so much will be accomplished. Often, with the noblest of intentions, goals are set at the beginning of each year only to find the work half-completed at the end of the year. How many personal work programs stall out during the year? What about the plans to visit/encourage the spiritually weak, physically sick, and those in need? How many good intentions of getting together with brethren in the congregation fall short of actually happening? Many of us could do much better.
Christians must learn to abound in the work of the church. Jesus said that we must work while we have opportunity (John 9:4)! Paul said, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). Often failure to follow through in our plans boils down to nothing more than a lack of seriousness (gravitas) toward the work of the Lord!
By depending on others to do our work for us, we become guilty of taking a less than serious approach to the work in the local church! Too often most of the work is left up to the elders, the preacher, or a select few within the congregation. Much more good will be accomplished if everyone will resolve that when something needs to be done, they themselves will do it! “If it is to be, it is up to me” comes to mind! Sincere and noble intentions mean absolutely nothing if there is no work to follow through. Remember the words of Paul. Christians have been created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10).
Christians must add “gravitas” to their commitment to Christian growth. Perhaps the clearest example of children of God being indifferent to their need for spiritual growth is the Hebrew brethren (Heb. 5:11-6:3). Many of them had been Christians for years but failed to add to their faith.
This was leading to a spirit of unbelief (3:12-13). They were instructed to lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares . . . and to run with endurance the race set before (them) (Heb. 12:1).
There is much to distract the modern Christian from spiritual growth. Have you ever known times to be “busier” than our own? Servants of the Lord constantly face a demanding and increased workload — ranging from a career, family matters, and hobbies to projects “around the house.” All of this can make one approach Christianity in a less than serious matter. We have been instructed to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:18). Paul encouraged Christians to meditate on good and wholesome things (Phil. 4:8-9).
There is a definite need to add “gravitas” to our spiritual life. Let us realize the gravity of the situation! Souls (yours and mine) are at stake! Remember the words of the Hebrew writer: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
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