Thursday, November 10, 2016

How to be a Christian

After reading and becoming intrigued with the Sermon on the Mount, Gandhi went to church…or, he tried, at least.  You see, he couldn't even ascend the steps and cross the threshold into the building without being threatened by one of the "Christian" elders. Gandhi was told that if he didn't leave, he would be thrown down the stairs.

"That's horrible!  I'd never do anything like turn someone away at the church doors," you say.  Have you ever passed over the homeless because it's a really inconvenient time?  Have you ever listened quietly as a heretic teaches non existent or out of context scripture?  Have you ever stopped talking with someone because they no longer attend the same church building as you?  Have you ever published your Facebook post anyway even though you know your heart wasn't speaking in love?  Have you ever said something to someone that wasn't truthful, uplifting, and necessary?  Have you ever made fun of someone at their expense?

I don't know about you, but I'm guilty of most of these things and more.  I've turned Gandhi off from Christianity.  I've misrepresented Jesus.  I've prolonged someone's pain and bondage and I've reiterated their refusal in accepting the One who can heal, forgive, and offer eternal life.  

What can we do to properly represent Jesus and encourage others to follow Him?  

First, we need to repent.  Read Exodus 20 and turn away from what God calls sin.  Does this mean we're going to be perfect?  Nope.  Strong Christians still sin.  Until we're in Heaven, we're in fallen bodies.  It should be noted that some people (not Christians) are comfortable in their sin.  They'll keep signing up for it without remorse. This is alarming in that if the Holy Spirit is actually inhibiting you as He does with Christians - He will convict you when you sin.  He will make you uncomfortable with your sin, nudging (but never forcing) you to repentance.  If you're ever comfortable with sinning, make sure you immediately have a heart to heart with the Lord.

Next, we need to do what we're commanded in Matthew 22:36-40. We must love God above all and then love others the way we love ourselves.  This covers all of God's commandments and ensures we're treating people the way Jesus does.  Never underestimate love.  There's nothing more powerful.  If you want to do incredible things for the Lord's kingdom, always lead with love, like Jesus.

Finally, we must find out who Jesus is.  How do you get to know someone?  You spend time with them.  You listen to them.  You pontificate their words, actions, and steps.  We must read the Bible and talk with Jesus (pray).  When I was surrounded by legalism a while back, I read scripture involving how Jesus handled the Pharisees and conducted Himself around them.  Studying how Jesus responds to my situation helps me understand Him on a deeper level.

Can you imagine the incredible impact we would have on the world if every Christian acted like Christ?  I, for one, will be praying for the Lord to instill in me more love and patience for others, as well as self control over my speech.  Wherever you are in your walk with the Lord, I'm sure you would agree that we all need to be more like Him.  It seems as if every zeitgeist is more volatile than the last.  That means everyone - believer and non believer, equally, needs Jesus' love.

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