“The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he
commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him…Whoever
claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
(I John 2:4 & 6)
Thoughts… An overwhelmingly high percentage of Americans claim Christianity as their faith, yet there is not a correspondingly high number of people who are walking as Jesus did. Obviously, this points to a fatal misunderstanding of what it truly means to be a Christian.
Claiming to be a Christian doesn’t make you one anymore than going through the MacDonald’s drive-thru makes you a “Happy Meal.” For too many, the only thing Christian about them is their claim. Neither their internal character nor their lifestyles match what they say they believe.
I recently listened to a Washington insider speak of high profile elected leaders who claim Christianity as their faith, regularly attend Bible study, and share their faith with others, yet support causes that most committed Christ-followers would find reprehensible. “How are they able to manage what seems to be mutually exclusive positions?” the insider was asked. The leaders compartmentalize their Christian beliefs from their Washington world.
This is just one example of the kind of incongruence we now witness on a widespread basis in our society. Yet these incongruent values are rarely, if ever, challenged by people of faith, who don’t want to come off as judgmental, narrow and intolerant.
I know I am on dangerous and unpopular ground in making a judgment about the authenticity of this type of so-called faith in Christ, but somebody’s got to say it…someone needs to point out that claiming Christ is only authenticated when we walk as Christ did. In other words, sexual purity, moral fortitude, financial integrity, humility, kindness, and a thousand other virtues must distinguish both our inner being as well as our public identity.
There ought to be a distinguishable difference if we are going to claim Christ as our Lord and Savior. Claiming him in name only won’t wash with God on the day we stand before him.
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will do what I command.” That—and nothing else—qualifies one to be a Christian.
Prayer… Father, I pray for the courage and wisdom to confront the incongruent faith that is rampant in our land in a way that will open hearts and minds to what it truly means to be Christian. Give me your compassion so that I will not be judgmental. And Lord, help me to walk as Jesus did so that I can speak with authority before a world that needs to see the authentic Jesus.
One More Thing… “Beside Jesus, the whole lot of us are so contemptible…But God is like Jesus, and like Jesus, He will not give up until we, too, are like Jesus.” —Frank C. Laubach