Read: I John 2
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)
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 Christian.
Claiming to be a Christian doesn’t make you one any more 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 lifestyle match what they say they believe.
Not long ago, I listened to the news account of a high profile celebrity, a professional athlete, who died after being shot. I listened with interest as his heartbroken family and friends were speaking of what a good person and a good Christian man he was. Yet the man was shot in a home that he was sharing with his girl friend. They were not married but living together—he was actually still actively married to another—while claiming to be followers of Jesus Christ.
This is just one example of the kind of spiritual incongruence we now commonly witness in our society. And sadly, these incongruent values are never challenged, but find wide-spread acceptance, even from people of faith.
I know I am on dangerous and unpopular ground in making a judgment about the authenticity of this man’s faith in Christ, but 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 will not 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 as Christian.
Father, it is so easy for me to judge the the lack of credibility and authenticity of other people’s faith while ignoring the inconsistencies of my own. Convict me where I need convicting; reveal dark and displeasing areas in my life that are hidden from my own sight; help me to walk as Jesus did so that I can speak with compassionate authority before a world that desperately needs to see the authentic Jesus.