The on again off again camera
Published 2:38 pm Thursday, March 17, 2022
BY TONY HOSS
Several years ago, my wife and I purchased a new camera-recorder. The device was a famous and respected brand in that day and was reported to be one of the best on the market. For the first year the camera worked beautifully. Approximately 13 months after the purchase (one month after the warranty was expired), the camera began to shut down on its own. Eventually the camera ceased to power on. We kept that camera hoping to have it repaired; only to discover that it was the power supply and that the company was no longer in business and acquiring a new power supply would be nearly impossible and if one was found it would be more expensive than purchasing a new camera. That camera became a dust collector in our closet; it sat there for years until we decided that it was no longer of any value, and we discarded it as trash.
As I consider the camera, it is evident that many Christians have the same problem. That is, they turn on for a short period of time and then off again. From time to time in their lives something or someone will push their button and they will be on again for a short period of time and then they are off again. This is noticed in the lives of those who obey the gospel and are on fire doing the work of God, then they return to their former pattern of living, they return to the world from which they came. There are similarities that can teach us valuable lessons as Christians.
It is nearly impossible to use a camera that only stays on for a few minutes at best. The same is true for the on again off again Christian. For non-Christians who desire to learn from the lives of such Christians, there are great difficulties. Those who are not Christians but are contemplating such, will pattern their lives based on what they see the on again off again Christian doing. The problem is, the on again off again Christian exhibits characteristics that are not consistent with the Word of God. Those watching and considering Christianity will often see an impure lifestyle that is filled with marriage problems, impure speech, and a multitude of sinfulness; in essence they see on again off again Christians living the life of a hypocrite. Paul teaches us that the just live by faith (Heb. 10:38). That faith comes from the Word of God (Romans 10:17). The faithful child of God must live a life that first praises God and second leads others to God (1 Peter 2:1-2, Luke 8:21, Phil. 1:11).
There was no doubt that the camera needed repair and unless something could be done it was of little or no value.The same is true concerning the on again off again Christian. For the on again off again Christian there is hope; that hope is in repentance. One example of this is found in Acts 8, when Simon was told to repent of his sin. John discusses the process of forgiveness of sins in the lives of Christians in (1 John 1:7-10). For the Christian it is a matter of attitude towards God and His commandments. We should remember that God desires that all men come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4). The truth is, God is willing to forgive any Christian that truly turns to God in repentance and walks daily in the light.
As I consider again that old camera, I realize that because of its condition it became utterly useless. In similar fashion the on again off again Christian is useless to Jesus; whether it be in their personal lives or in worship to God. We could liken the on again off again Christian (those refusing to repent) to the Laodiceans mentioned in Revelation 3:16. Because of their lukewarmness, Jesus said He would spew them out of His mouth. There is a vivid description and bitter warning for the on again off again Christian found in (2 Peter 2:20-22).
Several years after the defective camera was placed in that closet, my wife and I decided that it was not worthy of saving because it had gotten to the point of no repair. This aptly describes the life of on again and off again Christians. These are those that have or will eventually harden their hearts against God (Hebrews 3:8, 15; 4:7). When we are turned on by the Word of God, He expects us to remain on and functioning until His Son returns. To do otherwise is to disappoint God.