Read Jeremiah 5
Focus on verse 2
A chameleon is an amazing creature. Their skin is such that it changes color to blend in with the color of their surroundings. If they are perched on a green leaf – they turn green. If they are clinging to a brown stick their skin turns the exact shade of brown of the stick. If one was to place one on a red and white checked tablecloth, I expect you might see red and white checks on their skin. Where ever they go – they blend in – perfectly camouflaged to the environment around them.
One of the accusations that I hear most often in regard to Christianity in North America is that many of the people who claim the label “Christian” live duplicitous lives. They have one personality when they are in church, or when they are with church people, and another persona that surfaces when they are at work or at the gym among people who do not claim to follow Christ. This inconsistency does not go unnoticed, particularly by the people who have the opportunity to see them in both settings. While there are many sincere Christians who occasionally fail to walk in obedience, the people I have in mind here are the ones who intentionally become moral chameleons, slyly adapting themselves to whatever moral climate they find themselves in. When they are in the church crowd they talk all holy and put on their righteous, religious exterior, yet when they are with their bar crowd friends, they cuss and carry on in ways that would make a sailor blush.
In today’s reading the Lord rebukes His people for such duplicity. Jeremiah writes, “Though they say, ‘As the Lord lives,’ yet they swear falsely.” (v. 2) The message of the rest of the chapter describes how the Lord intends to bring His judgment upon the people who carry on like this. In the New Testament, the Apostle James rebukes those within the church who act this way as well. “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:10)
Consistency in living out our faith is not an easy task. Some might even say that it is impossible, and my personal experience with attempting to do so would cause me to agree. The scriptures are also very clear in pointing out that we all sin; we all fall short in some capacity, and this tendency does not seem to be magically removed when we pray a prayer of allegiance to Jesus. What does occur when we choose to submit our lives to Christ is that His grace is applied to our sin. It is only as we throw ourselves upon the grace and mercy that is available through Christ that He sets us free from the sin that holds us captive. The scripture is also quite clear about using God’s grace as a license to sin.
It would seem that the truth of the matter is that we most of us seem to have a moral chameleon skin of sorts, which tends to take on the morality of whatever or whomever we get closest to. Walking with Jesus involves a daily choice of taking Jesus with me into everything I do and keeping myself as close to Him as possible so that my chameleon morality is consistently looking similar to His. It is the only way to consistently live in victory because apart from Christ I have no power to overcome my natural desires. With Him – on the other hand – nothing is impossible.