“There are five gospels of Jesus Christ – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and you, the Christian. Many people will never read the first four.”
– Rodney “Gipsy” Smith, British Evangelist-
Want to do me a favor? Describe to me the stereotypical Christian that the world has been encountering. Judgmental? Pretentious? Rude? Unloving and unaccepting? Ouch…but I agree. The funny thing is that the Christians that you have just described are nothing like the God they supposedly worship. If Christians “represent” God, then what does that say about Him?
“How can you tell people to believe something that you can’t even show them?”
This question came from my friend Kailyn who was once so on fire for God, just to be put down by Christian teachers from her faith-based college. She now doesn’t know what to believe. She knows that there is a God, but who is He? Her struggle is not unique; many individuals, either new to the faith or long-time believers have been challenged, broken, and put down by other Christians to the point that they might even doubt God and walk away. How does this constitute as “making disciples”? I know that we are all broken people in this world. We have all been hurt. We are imperfect. We lie, judge, steal, lust, and do other things that we shouldn’t do at all. We are human. I understand. I know.
But we were called to a higher purpose and standard.
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…”
-2 Timothy 1:9-
“For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
We are called to a holy life. We are called to be followers of Christ and to represent Christ in our lives. We have been shown grace, so why do we not show grace. As my pastor says, “Those who know grace, show grace”. It’s hard sometimes, but we weren’t meant to live easy lives. A life for Jesus is not easy, but it’s worth it.
In this day and age, atheists and unbelievers don’t even have to try to find reasons to not believe in God. They look at those who profess faith and never actually live it out and the unbelievers get their answer: “That is what Christianity is.” We give people reasons to not believe. How? Because of how we act. How can we expect people to believe when we, the people telling them to believe, don’t act like we believe? We throw all these judgments at each other and fail to love, which is the most important thing. So I encourage you today and every day to live a Christ-centered life, a life of acceptance, sacrifice, prayer, and a life of love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:13-