Back in 1988 an episode of Saturday Night Live opened with a scene from “Pumping Up with Hans and Franz.”
With their typical arrogance, Hans and Franz marched to center stage. With their arms folded, they began to ridicule their audience. Call them “flabby losers and girly men” who had failed to live up to their ideal of “perfect pumpitude.”
The pompous duo announced the opening of their new gym. They called it “The Pumpitorium” and introduced its manager, Victor. After Victor spewed his own scathing condemnation of girly men, he gave the haughty Hans and Franz some unsettling news:
“Oh, by the way, your cousin Arnold Schwarzenegger came by the gym today. And he said he’s stopping by to visit your show today!”
Immediately, the thought of being confronted by their “hardcore terminator” cousin turns them into a panic. They whimper, “Arnold? Coming here? Today? Oooh, we are not properly pumped up!”
Hans and Franz made a frantic effort to flex and pump up their muscles, but it was too late. The mighty Arnold stepped onto the stage, all his muscles pulsating.
He condemns them as “pitiful losers” and shows them what a properly pumped up body should look like. Just a moment before, Hans and Franz swaggered about. But once Arnold showed up, they were cowering little puppies, ashamed in Arnold’s presence.
You know, I’ve had some unsettling times. Usually they come while in the middle of delivering a “well-crafted” prayer or sermon. A sermon or prayer which was carefully worded so as not to offend the political sensitivities of the hearers. Then a thought comes to me.
“What if the living Lord Jesus Christ walked into the chapel or auditorium? What if He stood before me and listen to the words I was “addressing” to Him?”
Wouldn’t I immediately be exposed? Would I not be proven to be as one of those Pharisees? Someone who prays only to be seen and impress others with their piety and eloquence (Matthew 6:1-6, 16). Wouldn’t I melt before Him in shame – as Hans and Franz melted before Arnold?
Maybe it would be wise to always imagine Christ standing at the back of the chapel, listening to my sermon. Maybe it would be smart to imagine Christ as present in the room with me. After all, He did promise, “Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20). And maybe I should begin to concern myself more with His thoughts, opinions, and judgment rather than those of my supervisors and peers.
The Scripture promises us:
- “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” – 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NKJV)
- Paul the apostle stated that if we would judge ourselves – examine our own deeds, attitudes, and thoughts in the presence of Christ – we would not be judged. – 1 Corinthians 11:31
- Jesus said that if we would show mercy instead of judging others, we would receive mercy from God. – Matthew 5:7
- And if we would forgive others, we would ourselves be forgiven. – Matthew 6:12, 14-15
- But if we judge others, God will most certainly judge us – with the same ruthless standard we apply to others. – Matthew 7:1-5
Imagine Christ as with you at all times, looking on with eyes like flames of fire which peer below the surface to see the thoughts and motives of the heart. Is there hatred there? Spiritual pride? Contempt for others?
According to the prophet Jeremiah, that’s what God sees when He scrutinizes us with His X-ray vision (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
Therefore, let us sincerely pray the prayer we find in the Psalms.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting,” (Psalm 139:23-24, NKJV). “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,” (Psalm 51:10-12a, NKJV). Make me willing to obey you. Amen.
(Information from: http://snltranscripts.jt.org/88/88ghansfranz.phtml)