Thursday, September 3, 2015

Terrible Christian

I am a terrible Christian.

Most of you will probably shake your heads and laugh at that statement. You probably think that I'm a pretty good guy, so why would I say something like that?

Well, because I am a terrible Christian. It's the truth.

Now, many people would view a "good" Christian as someone who goes to church every Sunday, doesn't get drunk or sleep around, and obeys the laws of the land. A person who can put a legitimate smile on their face knowing that they're going a pretty good job of being a person.

Yep, I meet those requirements to the letter. So, therefore, I must not be as bad of a Christian as I think I am.

But it matters what the definition of "Christian" actually is.

Does a Christian go to church? Sure. Pay their taxes? Of course. Avoid raunchy parties? Definitely. But there are many people who aren't Christians who do the latter two things consistently, and some even do the first.

These things are what a Christian does, not what a Christian is.

A Christian is, simply, a follower of Christ. Jesus would walk around and find a person, and just straight-up ask them, "Follow Me." Many would begin to literally walk after him; some would eventually go their own way while many still continued to follow. Eventually, Jesus died. Everyone scattered. He rose, and they came back together. Then he went away, and those who were left that chose to continue to follow Him, they were the true Christians.

Why just these? Faithfulness. Consistency. Commitment. Even at the threat of the sword. They prayed for boldness. They went out and preached the good news. They stayed in their home cities and edified the body of Christ and brought their neighbors into relationship with Jesus. They were known more for whose they were than who they were, and many even died because of it. They followed, and they never stopped.

Here I am, collecting 675 Star Trek books. I've mastered the TriMet system. I write code programs that cut metal for a living, and then I cut the metal. I have three business degrees. I've done a lot of things. Good things. But do these things point a giant arrow at me, saying "Christian"? No way.

I don't want to be a person who goes through the motions and is perfectly okay with it. There are a bazillion Christians who do, and that is their life. God loves them dearly and accepts them gladly into His eternal kingdom, but they could have done so much more here, and not waited until heaven to see fruit.

Read the New Testament. See what the definition of a Christian is. Notice there's never a chapter that has the header, "Characteristics of a Christian." There's chapters on how to pray (Matthew 6), how to do church (Acts 2), how to be an acceptable pastor (Titus 1), and how to be a good husband or wife (Ephesians 5). But those only give us guidelines about specific actions and behaviors. The definitions of Christians were given in the testimonies of the Christians whose stories are told. Mary. Peter. John. James. Another James. Phillip. Barnabas. Timothy. Paul. These people's lives weren't necessarily comfortable, but they didn't complain. They were faithful followers of Christ. They saw miracles happen. They led thousands to salvation. They wrote words that more people have read than any other words ever written. They were Christians.

And you can be too.

And I can be too.

All it takes is a little more prayer, and a lot more commitment. A little less fear, a lot less selfishness. And a lot more daily decisions to be who I've been called to be: A Christian. A follower. A child of the One True King.

So Lord, let me care more about the things You care about than the things I care about. Let me pour more into my relationship with You than on any other effort I do. Then these menial things I care about will become conduits for Your glory and Your love to a world that needs You.

Because I need You.

"I don't want to be, I don't want to be a Casual Christian. I don't want to live, I don't want to live a lukewarm life. 'Cause I want to light up the night with Your everlasting light. I don't want to live a Casual Christian life." - DeGarmo & Key

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