How many times do you hear people judging the Christian faith based on the way Christians act? I admit, I get really discouraged sometimes when I see Christians act in an un-Chrsit-like way and it is very easy to fall into the trap of judging the whole of Christianity based on Christians and then I am reminded that I am also at fault for not meeting that standard. Have I not messed up too? None of us can meet that standard and this is what makes Christianity different than other religions. Other religions are based on works; what I do determines my identity.
Christianity is different, our identity is not based on what we do or didn’t do. If there is no grace then we are all doomed. Christians mess up. Christians are not perfect. Christians are no better than anyone else. The only one who is perfect, holy and righteous is Jesus, and it’s only through him that Christianity is defined, not through the actions of other Christians. If we had to live on a merit system, I would give up. If Christianity was based on what I did or am going to do, well I’d just throw in the towel on the whole thing. I could never hope to meet that standard.
So what do we really want? Are we judging Christians? Are we saying well if that person is a Christian why did she do that, or why did she say that? That’s not very Christian? Do we expect Christians to be perfect? If this is how we are viewing Christians then we need to turn around and look at ourselves and measure ourselves by the same manner? This is where it gets uncomfortable. We like mercy and grace when it’s coming our way but we don’t give it out so easy. I would venture to say that everyone would like to not be judged entirely on what they have said or done. I know I don’t. I have said and done some really stupid stuff. I want grace. I want mercy. That’s exactly what Christianity offers, if offers grace and mercy when I don’t deserve it. It offers the slate being wiped clean. Instead of God seeing all my mess ups, He sees Jesus right in the middle who took my place as the condemned. Instead of me on trial. Jesus went on trial on the cross. All I am asked to do is accept that free gift of exoneration. I don’t have to carry those chains anymore.
All around us we see broken people. I am one of those. Churches are full of the sick, full of the broken. If we are looking for Christians to have it all together then we will be sorely disappointed. If your faith is based on how Christians act then you won’t be a Christian long. If you are waiting for the Christian church to be perfect, you will be waiting forever.
Simple Solution – Take your eyes off of the way Christians act as the representative of all Christianity and put your eyes on Jesus instead. He is the only reason and representative. If we take our eyes from him, we are going down a slippery slope. What sustains your faith? Is your faith built on sand or on the ROCK?
It’s only through the cross of Christ that we can have hope and for that I am eternally thankful!
Gossip happens everywhere. It happens at work, at school, among family members, and yes even in churches. Gossip is lethal, and yet so many people thrive on it and love to get some juicy details. What does God think of gossip? Well simply put, He hates it. It is an abomination to God. He hates lying. Whether gossip that is spread is in fact true; if it is causing discord among brothers, God hates it. It is to me one of the most easy traps to fall into. If you find yourself getting excited and entertained with gossip, this is the first sign that there is a deeper problem. The tongue is unruly and it can be the most destructive thing on our bodies. What comes out of our mouth is a reflection of what is in the heart and what does God look at? He looks at the heart. Our mouths are evidence of where our heart is. If we love God why would we want to do something that he hates?
In the church, it can become easy to get sucked into gossip like if we think we are doing something righteous or just being honest about our feelings, or just wanting to find out details about members in the church. We have to guard our hearts. and test our motivations. If our motivations are anything less than edifying, and giving glory to God, then we might want to reconsider saying what we want to say. If it is a selfish motivation, if it is a prideful motivation. if it is vengeful motivation, if it is simply an emotional response, watch out! Guard your heart! Out from the heart, the mouth speaks! Don’t let emotions take control of you and spew garbage. If Jesus is living in you, let him guide your heart and mind.
Christians are supposed to be showing the world that we are different because of Jesus, but if we aren’t acting any different than the world, what testimony is this.
Lord, I know how easy it is to let the tongue loose. It’s as if it’s like a wild animal. Guard my heart, so that I can speak with grace, truth and love so that you will be glorified and the power of Jesus would be known! AMEN!
Well here it is again…….easter eggs, peeps, chocolate bunnies, lilies, and the biggest church attendance day out of the year. Now wait, I am not being cynical. Don’t yell at me. I like bunnies, and I like painting easter eggs. Peeps are great too, especially when you let them get a little stale. I am really NOT the Easter nazi. Here me out.
What is Easter about? We know it’s about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, but what does this really mean? It’s about the power of the cross of Christ. It’s about fellowship with the Lord. It’s about being formed into the likeness of him. It’s about Jesus paying for our sins. It’s about Jesus giving new life. It’s about Jesus living in me. It’s about the love that he poured out on the cross for me. It’s about the fact that I am no longer condemned. I am free! I am forgiven. It’s about having unending joy through Jesus. It’s about everlasting peace, by way of the Prince of Peace. It’s about my savior, my Lord, who I serve forever. THIS IS BIG STUFF! This is EVERYTHING! Jesus doesn’t look at a holiday and say, “why thank you for observing me this one day out of the year.” The true meaning of Easter is not about a single day of the year, that we decide to put on our Sunday’s best and pay homage to this man named Jesus. The true meaning of Easter is Jesus IS alive! He’s not just alive one day a year. NO! NO! NO! When we accept his gift by way of the cross, Jesus is alive in us everyday of every moment of the year. I want to start waking up every morning shouting “HE IS RISEN!” I want every normal day to be a declaration of the Risen Savior. I want the end of my life to have one message, his name is Jesus!
So no, God doesn’t give points for the Easter nod. God looks at the heart. He wants YOU! All of YOU! Once you taste this Water of Life, you won’t want anything else. You won’t just want to give an Easter nod, you will want to live your life for Him.
Will you declare with me not just this Easter but every day, HE IS RISEN! This old natural life is put to death by way of the cross. Keep coming back to the cross. I AM MADE ALIVE THROUGH JESUS!
Take my words as a genuine outcry of concern that is burning within me.
We are living in a post modern era where the views favor tolerance and political correctness above all else. Is this biblical and is this something Jesus would want us to do?
I see a sleeping church(“the church”) that is desensitized by sin and more absorbed by self and self-fulfillment.
Truth in love trumps tolerance and political correctness. How will any one really understand love and grace unless they are convicted and see how desperately wicked they are. Do we want false converts or do we want to see genuine transformed lives? Do we want to fill pews or do we want to do the will of God? I think more than ever people are making licenses and compromise to take pleasure in sin since “God is love and His grace abounds.” People want their cake and eat it too.
Are we afraid to tell the truth? Are we watering down the gospel to massage the intellect or to warm the heart? The gospel is good news no doubt, but I’m a firm believer that this good news is not much more than fluff and a “feel good” anecdote without the convicting realization of the bad news that precedes it.
Every day I am confronted with my own sinful nature whether it be with my struggles of pride or envy or just the moment that I let my tongue loose and say something that is not Christ-like. I know the motives of my own heart and that in itself makes me cry out for mercy.
I sense a pride in “the church” that wants to be the one that is more right with God. This is across denominations. “Our church is packed and blessed so we must be doing it right.” “Our church may not have as many people so this is proof that we are doing something right, in the world not of the world right?” “Our church is more doctrinally sound, this pleases God more.” “Our church is not as stiff so it must be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
I could go on and on. What is all this doing but being a dividing force.
I believe the enemy works really hard to keep “the church” bickering and arguing over who is more right with God and who has really screwed up. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t make judgments when by scripture we are compelled to. If I meant that, then what I’m writing would be a contradiction. I am, however, convinced that pride is a very real thing in our hearts and it’s presence is not exempt behind church walls.
I see division more and more politically, culturally, and I see it among “the church”.
I believe we need to test our motivations of judgment within the church. Does my judgment do anything to further the advancement of the kingdom? Is my judgment within the will of God? Or does my judgment stroke my ego or elevate me? When I say “me” I also mean the church. Does this elevate God or does it elevate a denomination?
I close with this. Truth is not in any one denomination, truth is in Jesus and the revealed council of God. If we are motivated to lift up Jesus then He will be lifted up. If we are motivated by pride and ego to elevate “the church” God help us.
I’m so deeply concerned by this, Lord help me to lift you up.