Recently I was hit with a deeper conviction of what it was like to be working within the “world” as opposed to working within “the church”. It was during this event I partook in that I realized the tragedy that is the term “Christian” more now than ever. I have always looked at the term “Christian” and been bothered by the constant misuse of the word when you ask others if they go to church or are apart of a church denominational “body”. More over, when you ask others if they have a “relationship” with Jesus Christ….the answer is typically the same! Do they even know the difference between the two? Better yet, do WE know the difference enough between the two, to explain the value of one over the other?
I love the picture I placed at the beginning of this blog. “Are Christians more like Jesus or more like the Pharisees?” How interesting a question to ponder! You might be thinking to yourself that there is NO WAY you would be a Pharisee because Jesus is in your life….however, is Jesus an ACTIVE ROLE in your life everyday, every hour, every minute!? Pharisee’s like to talk the talk and not walk the walk when the circumstances facing them warranted a loving Godly response. They, in my opinion, would rather share their book knowledge than share their LOVE ACTION. Remember Jesus’ words, “Dear children, don’t just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love. (1 John 3:18 NIRV)”
Love shown by a true follower of Christ, not just a talker of Him; means that every moment seizable a love expression is shown THROUGH Christ! You cannot speak the love of Christ and make it meaningful to one’s heart while you’re embracing the world. One of my biggest struggles in my faith and being Christ’s vessel each week is that my worldly embracing is still apparent. There are aspects of this world that still have its reign over my life. To say I love Jesus and want to walk with Him to eternity and still hold the world close to my heart by my ACTIONS; is completely hypocritical and Pharisitcal!
You are creating your own Pharisee for today’s audience!
Nothing bothers me more I think than hearing people or seeing people say they are a “Christian” or love Jesus; yet smokes, drinks, cusses regularly, beats their kids, worships porn, sleeps around and then judges others through gossip and back stabbing with their words….are you really IN LOVE with Jesus Christ….like HE is with you???
Here’s the difference between He and you….no matter how much you fail, He loves you unconditionally. When others look wrong, smells wrong or acts wrong in your eyes; your LOVE for others doesn’t measure up. Is that wrong? I don’t believe so; UNLESS you allow that ill-defined love redefine your thoughts on Jesus’ love towards others. What I mean by all this is simple: You accept Christ, You define His love for you, You redefine your love for Him with lack-luster commitment, and you never gain the real relationship with Him.
Somewhere along the way (as is always said when no one knows when), Christians have decided that since grace was given to us for free; maybe not worrying about our behavior has made us all have a lukewarm mentality about servanthood. than many people care to admit when reading this. As a Christian who has decided years ago to TRY and serve his Savior as obediently as I can, I will admit I have failed miserably. I am human. I am sin-stricken. I am one to whom He died for on the cross over 2000 years ago though….that means something to me enough that my behavior, though not always consistent, is DRIVEN to be more like Christ! When I say that I am a follower of Christ, I mean I am a follower of Christ in a ACTION sense of the word! Being “Christian” means many different things and unfortunately in the world we live in today; it doesn’t always mean anything more than you are AWARE of the person Jesus Christ and believe He existed. Not a set-your-life-aside DISCIPLE OF JESUS holding strongly to the Great Commission to, “GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES (not Christians) OF ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND TEACHING THEM TO OBEY EVERYTHING I HAVE COMMANDED YOU (not make your own rules or commands)….” They two phrases stated by Jesus here that in my opinion is most detrimental is GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES and OBEY EVERYTHING I HAVE COMMANDED YOU; both terms have ACTION needed to be taken for them to be reality!
The biggest eye opening experience in my scarred memory of my past came from my junior year in college. I was involved in a committed relationship with a girl from a group I attended on campus and both of us were professing “Christians” and attended church, talked-the-talk, etc. But one evening in my dorm room while we were living as we wanted to sexually, a portrait of Christ hung above my bed and I locked eyes with it….in that moment! Nothing but conviction, guilt and an image of me spitting in His face raced through my mind and ultimately it scarred my soul. Scarred in a good way though as from that moment on my “open sexuality” as a “Christian” changed forever. He got to me. Jesus reached through that picture somehow and got me. That’s when I realized my open door to my heart I had back when I was 16 and asked Jesus to come take residence there, REALLY came true and I felt it!
Have you FELT the presence of God in your walk daily? When you try to fit in the the crowd around you; whether good people for Jesus or lost people from Jesus, did you acknowledge your place He has in your heart? If you did….fantastic….but let me paint another picture to clarify: When you acknowledge Him to the others, however you did the acknowledging; did you INTRODUCE HIM to them from your heart or did you just tell them of His name on the list of occupants that take up that space? You know, the space that covers: addictions to the TV, Internet, Games, PORN; or maybe the space that work has and the closet your family has. What about them priorities? You know, the space for sleep instead of communication; the space for projects instead of time with your kids….and don’t forget the space for the lust you hold for gazing, observing, gawking, staring, double-taking or even engaging in affairs with other women (or men) other than your spouse!
Jesus is an ALIVE person in your life when you truly invite Him to your life. But be aware! You must make room for Him there….you can’t have Him sit amongst all the garbage of the world you still hold on to. You must hire the “Repentance Extraction” service to help you make His home in your life the most comfortable and profitable for you both! Once you rid your life of the control of these areas cluttering up your life; Jesus begins the process of making your a real follower of His ways. Making you desire to be with Him all the time; share Him with all around you above all else, and ultimately being a DISCIPLE of His where nothing the world gives is more enticing, or involving as TIME….TIME….TIME….let me say again….T……I……M……E, with Him!! Stating simply that you are a “Christian” won’t even come out of your lips. You’ll just say I have relationship with my Savior and I would love for you to know Him like I do!!
So what should our (followers of Jesus—FOR REAL) defense be to those who claim to be a “Christian” and then revert to behavior that makes others turn from Christ because that what they believe He’s all about!!?? Well, I hate to say we can’t mute or denounce all the bad things that people before us have said or done to influence one’s thoughts on who Jesus really is or what even a “Christian” is. But, we can begin by redefining who Jesus is from the moment you come in contact with them on. The ONLY way someone can truly know Jesus in the “here-and-now” mentality of today, is to be the HANDS AND FEET of Jesus and LOVE by actions and LOVE by words! No more Pharistical speaking and not leading. No more hypocritical doing and not loving unconditionally. Beyond ALL that this world dishes out to us to try and discourage and frustrate and ultimately doubt the commitment we made to Jesus; we need not to forget the end result for us all: “But REJOICE inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed….However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name! (1 Peter 4:13, 16 NIV)” Suffer through the trials with Christ, but don’t turn your back on Him! Don’t let the world lie to you about what’s best for you! You don’t belong to the world anymore!! You BELONG to Jesus and you need to FOLLOW Him; not make fun and mock what He did for you!!
My name is Chad Taylor, and I am a follower of Christ. Through all trials and tribulations, I will never stop, I will never back down, I will never cease, and I will never stop pursuing to be as close to Jesus Christ as I can. I am daring my life to be a DISCIPLE for Him forever….will you? 🙂 Love and blessings to you all.