The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Little Christs?

I was working on a blog design project for Imago Dei and followed with interest the crisis of faith that Amanda experienced. In the end, she determined that her problem lay not with God but with modern day Christianity.

I, too, believe that there is something dreadfully wrong with much of "Christianity" in our world, for American Christianity looks nothing like the Christianity shown in the Bible. No longer do people know that a Christian is a "little Christ" or a "Christ-follower." Today, "Christian" not only refers to one who follows Christ but may also apply to music, books, clothing, movies, and, unfortunately, has become a generic label attached to many things that bring shame to the name of Christ. Surely you have noticed how many things have some kind of religiously-affiliated title: Christian dance, True Religion Jeans, Christian handyman. This is good marketing strategy, for many people will blindly trust in anything that bears a religious label, but it makes meaningless the term "Christian."

A friend of mine told me what her grandmother always told her: "A person can be saved and not be a Christian, for the "i" in Christian always follows "Christ," and you can be saved but choose not to follow Christ." I also really liked Amanda's statement, "Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective." It seems as though everyone (and everything!) is claiming the name of Christ. "Sure, I'm a Christian, " people say, but when you ask them when they accepted Jesus as their Savior, they often say that they have always been a Christian, or they belong to "such-and-such" church, or they are a good person, or any number of reasons why they claim the title of Christian (other than acceptance of Jesus Christ's atonement for sin.)

We who are Christians: do we reflect the true meaning of the word "Christian"? Do we follow Christ? I'm not asking, "Do we follow a prescribed list of rules?" I'm asking if we follow Christ. We need not worry about man-made standards, for as we follow Christ, pray, and read His Word, He will show us what He wants us to do.

Don't get me wrong; it's not bad to have standards. Standards only become a bad thing when we elevate them above God. Instead of realizing that people are at different places in their walk with God, we too often expect everyone to hold the same convictions and standards as we have, for, of course, we must be right. (gentle sarcasm here) All too often, we fail to have God's mercy, compassion, and love toward those who are not where we think they should be spiritually. This, too, is detrimental to the cause of Christ.

I challenge myself and every true Christian to remember why we are called Christians. Let's live our lives in such a way that those who see us will actually see Christ reflected in us. Let's reject this lukewarm, nominal "Christianity" that is the standard. Let's be on fire for God, living for Him to the best of our ability and seeking to draw others to Him through our lives. Let's be "Little Christs."


MInTheGap said...

I agree that a lot of what goes on in the name of Christ is far from Christian. It seems we're trying really hard to make a religion out of a relationship.

That being said, we also need to be careful that we keep important that what God says is important. If we're going to be like a God that is Holy (you hear the angels singing "Holy, Holy, Holy-- not Love, Love, Love) we need to strive to strive to live right lives.

Not only did Jesus say "they will know you my followers if you love one another", but he also said "if you love me, keep my commandments." Again, notice the point-- love one to another-- love in the body. This is more important than love to the world.

We're to be lights to the world. We're to be different in character and in appearance. We're to be attractive, but we're also to hold a higher standard.

Revka said...

Hi, M! Thanks for your comment. I couldn't agree more, and re-reading my post, I think I failed to communicate clearly in this area.

My desire for my life is to reflect Christ's love, true. I also want to live in a manner that is pleasing to Him. I believe the Christian should be different from the world. God told us to come out from among them and be separate. As you said, He is holy, and He wants us to be holy. I believe in progressive sanctification - the believer, as he grows in the Lord, should become more like Christ.

I am sick of several things in modern "Christianity": the meaningless label attached to everything, the "nominal" Christianity that acts no different than the world, the hate-filled Christians who bring reproach to the name of Christ through vicious and ungodly attacks on anyone who does not agree with everything they believe, the lack of love for sinners and true concern for lost souls, and the list could go on.

I wish that, instead of repelling the lost with harsh attitudes and actions, Christians would live like Christ: He did not turn a blind eye to sin, but the repentant sinner knew that Christ loved him. I find that love for sinners lacking in most of the churches I have attended. Instead, they get caught up in a list of do's and don'ts, and woe betide anyone who fails to abide by any item on their list. Often, their list has nothing to do with the heart but is solely based on externals. It is possible to abide by man's external regulations and still not be saved. In fact, I did for nearly 30 years. Based on outward appearances, I was a very good Christian.

Let us be holy - definitely! If we live like the world, how will they ever see anything different to prick their conscience? On the other hand, let us not appoint ourselves judge, jury, and executioner. Jesus said that even He didn't come to condemn the world because it is already condemned. We are just sinners saved by grace, and my current pastor often reminds us that "there is no sin that a lost person commits that a Christian could not commit under the right provocation." Let's get rid of the hateful attitude too often exhibited toward people and direct that hatred toward the sin.

I'm still not sure I have clearly communicated what is in my heart. Please let me know if anything remains unclear.