Wednesday, April 27, 2011


By Pastor Bruce Oyen

       A chameleon is a creature with very fascinating characteristics. For example, its eyes can move in opposite directions from one another. Like some other creatures, they stick out their tongues to catch insects to eat. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.The ones with which I am familiar, since we lived in the U. S. Virgin Islands where they live, are a smaller variety, being maybe 1 1/2 times the length of an average-sized adult's middle finger. The chameleons on the Virgin Islands also have unique tails. What makes them unique is the fact that, if a predator grabs the end of their tail, the grabbed part will come off, allowing the creature to run off to safety. Another interesting fact about some chameleons is that they can change colors. There is more than one reason for doing so. One reason might be to attract another chameleon for mating purposes. It might also help them be better predators, not being easily seen by insects they want to eat.  Another reason some chameleons have the ability to change colors is for self defense, or self- preservation. They can change colors to blend in with, for example, the tree they are on, and not be so easily seen by predators. No doubt, one chameleon wished it had not been seen by our cat, who seemed to have swallowed it whole.
     When we lived on St. Croix, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, we lived in a bright yellow house with brown window and door trim. Sometimes chameleons would walk across the side of the house and turn yellow. Then, when on the window trim, they would turn brown. It was interesting to see them be partly yellow and partly brown. This would happen when they moved from one surface color to the other. It took a little time for the color change to be complete, and that is when they would be two colors. Yes, God gave some creatures the ability to blend in with their surroundings in order to be safe from predators. That is a good thing.  
     Unfortunately, though, we Christians can make the serious mistake of being like chameleons by blending in, morally, with our surroundings for self-preservation. Not many of us Christians living in the United States are subject to physical abuse for our faith in Jesus Christ. But, we are sometimes subject to social abuse. Meaning, we might be made fun of for our faith. Or, we might be avoided by family, "friends," and work-mates for the same reason. So, to avoid being mistreated in these ways, we act like Christians when around Christians, and we act like non-Christians when around them.
     Therefore, though we might not like "dirty" jokes, we laugh at them to blend in. Though we don't like profanity, we don't ever object to its use by others, just to be one of the crowd. Though we might object to immoral TV programs, we watch them with our non-Christian friends. Though we believe true science supports the Biblical account of the miraculous origin if the universe as it is stated in Genesis, chapters 1 and 2, we keep our opinions to ourselves when non-Christians say things to discredit what we believe.
      But sooner or later it will catch up with us, as it did with one man. He was a member of a Bible-believing church. He knew that Christians are supposed to live for the Lord in daily life. But, he lived two lives, acting one way around his Christian friends, and another way around his non-Christian friends. One day, his pastor asked him to go door-to-door with him to invite people to attend their church and to speak with them about accepting Christ as their Savior. He agreed, but here is what happened: they knocked on a door, and it was answered by a man with whom the chameleon-like Christian worked. The pastor told the man why they had knocked on his door. The man then told him he worked with the other man, and that he certainly did not live like a dedicated Christian at work. So, he told the two church men he was not interested in what they had to say, and ended the conversation right then.
     What we need are more Christians with backbone. We need more Christians who are willing to stand out out in a crowd. We need more Christians who are not as concerned about pleasing others as they are about pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ. We need more Christians who take to heart what we read in Romans 12:2, which says, "and be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds." We need more Christians who take to heart what we read in 2 Corinthians 6:17, which says, "come out from among them (the people of the world) and be separate, says the Lord."  In answer to prayer, God can give us backbone to stand true to what we believe.
     The people of the world don't respect chameleon-like Christians. But they do respect, even if they mistreat them, the ones who stand up and stand out for what they believe. More importantly, it is that kind of Christian that pleases the Lord. What kind of Christians are we?

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