Hey. I’m a Christian.
If you’re a Christ follower too, that’s cool. There are 3 things you need to stop doing (if you’re doing them). Please. For the love of God. And btw, if you’re not claiming to be a Christ follower – this is not for you. So keep on keepin’ on… More power to ya.
If you know someone who claims – ‘I’m a Christian’ – Do specific thoughts come to mind? Do you hold them to a higher moral standard? Do you have certain expectations of their actions? Do you consider if their lifestyle reflects their claim?
You see, I have been living as a Christ follower as long as I can remember. I’ve been going to church since I was born 37 years ago. My parents took me until I could take myself, and I’ve never stopped taking myself to church. When I was 16 years old, the Lord called me into full time ministry. When I was 18 years old, I began working full time in Christian circles ~ Mardel Christian bookstore, Women of Faith, New Life Clinics, and serving in youth, worship and Pastoral ministries in churches across the United States. So…being a Christ follower is my life.
I am basically a professional Christian. But, being a Christian is more than “my job”.
What does that even mean? Am I super holy? Um no. It means I am super needy. 1) I am a sinner. 2) I am desperately in need of my relationship with Jesus Christ as my Savior and my Lord every single moment of everyday. . . waking or sleeping. . . all 24 hours. Every. Single. Day.
As a professional Christian, I have spent much of my life in relationship with other Christ followers ~ all on their own journeys ~ thru acquaintance, co-workers, friendship, counseling, mentoring and discipling. Throughout my life, I’ve been the “religious friend”. I’ve overheard friends say, ‘don’t tell Leslie this … fill in the blank.’ I’ve made people uncomfortable…and still do, I suppose. Especially as a “Pastors wife and Worship Leader”. These “titles” automatically come with their own laundry list of expectations and pre-conceived notions people have of me and my life. I’m certainly not perfect and definitely not anyone’s Holy Spirit. However, I’ve always felt different… like a stranger in the world… because I was set apart.
In my relationships with other Christians over the years, I’ve noticed a profound difference between those who live as they are, and those who merely say they are. I have been surprised by the distinction between who we proclaim to be with our lips, and how we actually live out our lives.
Last I checked, following Jesus is a full time gig. Like, He has expectations of those of us claiming to follow Him to look different than the culture we’re surrounded by in the world we live in. So, if we call ourselves Christ followers, we should stop doing these 3 things. Please. For the love of God. Otherwise, let’s agree to agree we might not actually be. . .living as Christ followers.
Stop. Seriously. Immediately.
This may sound judgmental? I’ll let you be the judge…
1) Comparing sins – Justifying our own sin by comparing our sin to others sin.
If you are making excuses for your sin, based on a sin comparison chart you’ve drafted – Stop. Don’t do that anymore. Being a Christ follower means repentance – aware of your own sin and convicted by it. Don’t compare your sin to the person sitting next to you in the pew, or the person singing next to you in the choir.
Jesus began His ministry with a message of repentance. Repentance means change. Repentance requires a turning away from our sin, not justifying our sin. “…the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned. From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:16-17. (ESV)
2) Being hypocritical – living the Christian life with your mouth, but not your heart.
The “Phaducees” (Pharisees & Sadducees) had God on their lips but their hearts were far from Him.
“You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Matthew 15: 7-9.
If you are a Christ follower, your actions, choices and decisions and should reflect it. Not merely your words. Jesus rebuked the Phaducees because they were pompous and religious in word and appearance, but deceived in their hearts.
3) Living selfishly – Hey Christian, it’s not all about you. The Christian life is one of great sacrifice.
We are called to lay our lives down for others. Our lives should look more like the life of a servant than that of a king. Washing feet rather than turning up our noses. Putting others above ourselves. We are blessed to be a blessing. Called to give ourselves away and lay our lives down.
“And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:33-35.
It is not easy to be a Christ follower and it was never designed to be.
So this is a challenge to those who call themselves Christ followers. Attending church for 1 or 2 hours a week, paying tithes, singing in the choir or serving in the children’s ministry doesn’t automatically make anyone a Christ follower. If you’re comparing sins, living hypocritically or selfishly… Stop. Please. Thank you. Christians – we need to look different than this world we live in.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10.
And the story rages on. . . In Him, Leslie