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The Lie of Fluff

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    They were beautiful... soft... matched our decor... and they were huge! I’m talking about the new towels my wife brought home recently. While they were a “good buy,” anyone that has bought towels lately knows that doesn’t mean they were cheap!

    We’d been living for 23 years on our wedding shower towels. Unfortunately, we were getting down to the ragged end of those, forcing us to search for new ones. So Donna bought the pretty, big, fluffy towels that matched our bathroom.

    One problem: those fluffy towels aren’t very good. The fluff in the towels is not there because of extra cotton in the weave. No, quite the opposite. These towels have more synthetic fibers than cotton. They feel great, all soft and fluffy, and they hold their color well, but they don’t dry you off because they absorb very little water. Their fluff is a lie.

    While I’ll get over that frustration, I have a much harder time with those of us who claim to be Christians. So much of what we get revved-up about today is pretty much fluff. Not because it’s bad, just because that’s all there is to our faith. Let me give you a couple of examples.

    I’m firmly committed to worship renewal. I want us to use the best songs, both old and new. We need good content from both heartfelt contemporary music, and the greatest songs of the past that have stood the test of time. Having worship excite, apprehend, touch us deeply, convict us powerfully, and lead us to praise is essential. Unfortunately, we turn it to fluff if we don’t follow through with a life that is consistent with the worship we offer. In fact, God wants us to know that all of our life is worship, and it all matters to him (cf. Romans 12:1-2). If all that our church worship does is give us a juiced up charge and a patch of chill bumps, then it really isn’t much more than fluff. The prophets said it repeatedly, Jesus re-emphasized it powerfully, and we must hear it today — worship must involve both our Sunday lips and our daily lives!

Their fluff is a lie.
    Then there is this seminar deal. Some people build their whole life around attending this seminar, or that one, or finding a better one, or a more current one. They end up spending so much time going to seminars they never have time for a local church commitment, and find little or no time for missions or ministry because they’re so busy going, attending, and hearing about the latest fad or hot church topic. Now don’t get me wrong. I love seminars. I even speak at a few of them each year. They can be a great blessing. But, if all we do is attend seminars and never make a life-change, then it’s just more fluff.

    I could go on and on about this kind of diversion from the hard work of spiritual character formation, but the point would be the same. We are drawn to those things that give us the quick emotional fix or the illusion of proficiency, rather than investing in changes that ultimately life-changing. Light and trendy fluff is easier to pull off than the tough transformation won by the Spirit’s work as we offer ourselves to God through consistent obedience. But, God has spoken about these matters! (see closer look below)

    So what’s the point? Very simply it’s this: We must be very careful that we don’t settle for fluff. Instead, we need to open our hearts to the will of God and begin to put it to work in our daily lives. Yes, it’s a little tougher proposition and requires daily submission to the Lord, but it’s worth it.

    Oh by the way... when I get out of the shower now, I reach for the old, faded, scratchy cotton towel. It doesn’t look nearly as pretty. It isn’t nearly as soft as the “fluff towels.” Its colors are rapidly fading. But guess what! It takes care of that nagging problem a towel is designed for; it dries me off, something that the fluff towel will never be able to handle.

    For a closer look, check out the following and make a practical commitment to move beyond the fluff!

    We must heed the warning of Jude about those who abuse the riches of God’s grace by turning it into an excuse for a sinful lifestyle with a Sunday morning spirituality (cf. Jude 4).

    We need a good dose of James nitty gritty definitions of true religion (James1:26-27) and showing our faith by our actions (James 2:8-26).

    We could use some exposure to John’s reminder that our lifestyle of love must be shown in not just in word and speech, but also in “deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).

    Of course, the Old Testament prophets made the same point again and again. But our ultimately authority is Jesus. Remember what Jesus says?

  • We can know a person by the fruit show in his/her life (Matthew 7).

  • A person who obeys God’s will love him and his Father in heaven (John 14).

  • A wise person is one who hears the word of God and puts it into practice (Matthew 7).

  • A person is a part of Jesus’ family if they put the Father’s into practice (Mark 3.

  • Many who claim to have done great things in Jesus’ name will be excluded from his Kingdom because they didn’t obey him (Matthew 7).

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About the Author...
Phil Ware is minister of the Word at Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin, Texas. For the past 4 years, he has also been co-editor of HEARTLIGHT Magazine. For more details, click here.

Title: "The Lie of Fluff"
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: September 4, 2000



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