My mind has been filling up with so many questions towards 'Christian People' the past summer, I'm surprised my head has not exploded. Being highly involved in Christians circles for most of my little 21 years of existence, I have made a few observations. One is:
Christianity is turning into a mere 'checklist' today.
It's like this:
- Did I pray and ask Jesus to come into my life? Yes. (CHECK!)
- Do I pray before I eat? Yes. (Check)
- Do I read my Bible? Yes. (Check)
- Do I have the physical appearance that is required of a Christian? Yes. (CHECK)
- Do I go to youth group and sing in the praise band? Yes. (CHECK!)
- Have I gone on a short term mission trip? Yes. (CHECK)
- Am I going to a Christian College? Yes. (CHECK)
- Will I be involved in some sort of Christan leadership? Yes. (Check)
- I'm SO going to be in heaven. (Check)
When will this list stop? And do those things truly make someone a 'Christian'?
I would like to think that God is so much more concerned with our lifestyle, and hearts. What our motives are, and what type of character we have. Instead of getting caught up in this idea of following the Christian 'checklist' that has been created by Christians- why don't we take the time to focus on our lifestyles?
When looking at Christians I feel like so many people claim the name simply because its what they always have done, its what their parents did, and most of the time- its easy. And sure, when following a checklist, and having everyone around you pleased with the choices you are making- that's easy.
Stop. Right there. Get a stamp and place it on my forehead because
I' M G U I L T Y .
The other night I was sharing my thoughts with my dad. I was venting and going on and on about my frustration with Christians and the church, and how we always have to be so polite, and not cause conflict or make people uncomfortable. And the more we started talking, and the deeper the conversation became, I realized:
I'm living in Fear of other people.
I grew up in a church, in a Christian Highschool, and now attend a Christian University, all of those institutions attract people caught up in the 'checklist'. Stepping back and reevaluating when i matured the most in my relationship with the Lord was when I could care less about what people thought about me.
See? The checklist makes other's people opinions and thoughts about you determine where you are in your relationship with the Lord. When in fact, the Lord is the only one who knows your heart, and character.
My dad said this-- "You live out of fear of God, not fear of men."
I would argue there is no cookie cutter way to be a Christian. Of course, understanding and believing the Gospel is essential for anyone truly having a relationship with Christ. After that, its about the lifestyle in which a person lives. As Christians we have a 'law' to follow, and we have convictions we live by.
My Dad put it like this [he's better with these types of phrases]
'It's not my responsibly to obey God with what he said, its my responsibly to please God with my obedience..'
He also further explained the idea that, we will want to follow the commands and standards God has for us, but after you grow, you will want to go beyond merely following the law to please the Lord's heart.
Instead of having a check list, instead of comparing ourselves to other Christians, instead of having our basses covered by not committing the 'big sins'- Live for one person. At the end of the day, when everyone is asleep, and i finally get into my car, roll my windows down, and listen to some over played pop song, I have started to ask myself this question:
What did I do today that attributed to the life of God?
That one question, asked every day, will evoke a lifestyle change and maintain the focus on the only person's opinion who matters.
Goodness, glad I finally got all that off my chest.
Happy Wednesday! :]