Thursday, October 30, 2008

Faith is a Lifestyle, not a Label

Seeing as this is the name of my blog, and my main focus, I figured I would elaborate a bit on it. So here goes...

Faith is a lifestyle, not a label...

Being a Christian, or better yet, a follower of Christ and His teachings, is a conscience effort every day, hour, and minute to reflect the love, compassion, and grace of the Savior. We need to re-evaluate our entire life structure to align with His, not try and fit our ideas of Jesus and "What He really said" into our own lives.

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young,
but set an example
for the believers in speech,
in life, in love, in faith and in purity."
1 Tim 4:12

Our faith should be evident by our speech, life, love, faith, and purity, AS AN Example. Our actions should tell who we are before we ever say anything. We should be characterized by love, not judgement... compassion, not anger... service to others, not righteous expectancy... and humility, not pride. If we are going to affect change both in our communities and ultimately the world, the desire for true transformation to the personality of Christ must begin with ourselves and those closest to us.

And that all seems well and good, and easy... right? Maybe not so much. In the pluralistic society that we live in today the voice is "reason" says that all roads can lead to God. We know that as long as the Word of God is true this can not be, but neither can we bury our heads in the sand and ignore the world that we say we are trying to reach.

Where is the middle ground then?

How do we both be the example and at the same time appeal to the world that we are trying to save. It seems the longer it goes on, the further these two objectives separate. If you want to live for God, then you can not relate to the world. But, if you want to be able to relate to the world, you have to make some sacrifices in the areas of holiness and righteousness in order to be taken seriously or at the very least heard at all. That seems like an acceptable choice. Make a few minor exceptions here and there in order maintain a presence with the unsaved, so God can use you...

Is this really the type of Christianity that we have come to? Do we really think that we have to form fit, customize, or re-package the gospel in order for it to still be affective? Really?

Now, please don't misunderstand me, I am all for new and unique ways to communicate the gospel, BUT, that doesn't change the fact that the power of the Gospel message in inherent within itself. We can not add anything to it to make it better. We can only detract from it.

We need to stop trying to make "Christian" decisions and start living a Christ-like lifestyle. If we would worry less about what other Christians are going to think if our actions are "Christian enough" and more on how the hurting, lost, broken world is going to view us I think we would find our churches more attended and our lives more fulfilled.

(Ok, that was a little rant-ish, I apologize...)

Three quick areas to pay close attention to in order to live closer to the heart of Christ:

1. Character - Character MUST always come first. Before gifting, skill set, passion, or eduction, character counts.

2. Compassion - Jesus was motivated because He saw us as sheep without a shepherd. If we truly could see people as Jesus saw them, we would be moved by the same love He was.

3. Community - Jesus ultimate goal and purpose in coming to earth and sacrificing Himself for us was to create community. Between us and the Father, and between us here on earth. No one follower of Christ is an island. We are in interdependent. We need one another as we need Christ.

Find someone that you know, love, and trust. Ask them to give you a truthful evaluation of your character and compassion. (you may not like the answer, but that in itself is an answer) Then each time you meet someone, view them as a part of the Christian community, either pre-conversion, newly converted, or converted and still growing... see how that affects the way to interact with them. (Let's hope that you don't run into too many people that are converted and not growing)

- Just a thought

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