Lip Service

WORDS FROM W.W. January 25, 2011

This winter I’ve purchased more lip balm than I have in the first 55 years of my life combined. I lather it on like a spring break college co-ed and Coppertone. Dry lips are irritating! So I give them a lot more attention than I ever did before. I guess you could call it “lip service.”
Interestingly enough, lip service is big business these days. Perhaps some of you can remember the days when you went to the store to buy “Chapstick”…not lip balm. No one said “I need to pick up some lip balm next time I’m at the store.” No, it was Chapstick. Yes, Chapstick was lip balm, but it more like lip balm was Chapstick.
Go to the store now and look for Chapstick and you’ll find it sharing space with umpteen other lip service products. We’ve become culturally-obsessed about our lips. We want them to look good, or at least feel good.
Scripture has multiple stories of people, who identified themselves as being believers in God, giving Him lip service, but having their actions tell a different story. If you read 2 Kings you’ll encounter it over and over again. A king would say something, but their actions would go against it.
I recently read a quote that Yoko Ono had put on a full-page ad in The New York Times on the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. She wrote “One day we will be able to say that we healed ourselves, and by healing ourselves, we healed the world.”
In a fallen world we will never have the ability to heal ourselves. There will be discoveries of how to prevent diseases or heal people of their physical sicknesses. There will be incredible solutions that will appear, but we will never be able to heal ourselves. The mark of our fallen nature will always have us coming up short of our destination. Jesus is the healer of nations. He’s the ointment for our dryness and heart aches.
Just as numerous Biblical characters gave him lip service, however, there is the subtle hints in the lives of many believers today that the Lamb of God is often given lip service while our lives communication faith in being self-healed. “A walk with God” becomes just one way of navigating ourselves through the journey of life. “Talking with God” becomes just one way of finding wisdom, or perhaps even just one way to vent.
A heart for God is at a different place than lip service for Jesus. Philippians 2:11 tells about lip service, but it also puts in another key element of commitment and recognition.
“…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…” (Philippians 2:10-11)
Calloused knees are the compliment to chapped lips. They signal surrender when our rhetoric has been exhausted.

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