"Someone recently asked me what the moment was when I became a Christian. And I told them, I never did become a Christian. I can't turn the other cheek. I can't sell all my possessions and give them away. I can't love my enemy. I am not a Christian because I can't do what Jesus asks . . . I can't do what He asks me to do, so I can't legitimately claim to be a Christian." - Bill Moyers
I wish the Church would awake and understand this as clearly as Bill Moyers does. Works are not the same as faith, nor do works make our faith. But as one author writes, you say you have faith, but I'll show you my faith by my works. Or as Rich Mullins sings "faith without works, like a song you can't sing, it's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine." Yet it seems that a marjority of American Church as we know thinks that Christianity is just about a personal, private, keep-it-to-yourself faith that has no actions to prove its existence. It's a go to church on Sunday, live like the world Monday through Saturday faith. I'm tired of that kind of lifeless faith. I'm tired of a faith that is not truly "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
I admit that I am no better. I claim to be a Christian. I claim to have faith even. Yet my actions do not prove that faith on a daily basis. My brother Jordan was sick for almost a week. I didn't once go over to him and pray for him. My mom's shoulder hurts so bad she can hardly move. I still haven't prayed for her. Yet I prayed for a woman's ankle the other week. A woman I did not know, because I felt God tell me to. But that was anonymous; she did not know me; I didn't feel responsible for the results (it it took a wholel hour to get up the guts to just do it!). But Jesus told us to lay our hands on the sick, no matter who they are, and have faith that God will heal them.
Do you realize how many hard things Jesus commanded us to do? I was thinking about the love passage in Corinthians the other day, where it says "love is patient, love is kind, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs . . . " No record! I keep a record, I hold a grudge! Then I'm NOT walking in love. But Jesus says "love one another as I have loved you." Or what about when he says those who haven't left father or mother, brother or sister, or wife or child are not worthy of me? How have we convinced ourselves that such statements don't apply to us somehow. That they were commands only for the disciples or the early church? Jesus didn't just give commands to the early church and then expect that we, with our smart, technological minds, would somehow just figure out which ones He meant for us to obey and which ones we didn't have to obey. God is the same God today, yesterday, and forever. His commands remain the same. His heart's desire remains the same.
Maybe we need to re-evaluate what being a Christian is. And if we are not willing to do as Jesus says, to release the grudge, to release our pride and reputation, to give up our dreams, even our life wishes, to give generously of our hard earned money in an economic recession, to not only give our money, but out time, our heart, our compassion, to actually care about people and give of who we are. If we are not willing to do thiese things maybe we need to stop calling ourselves Christians.
I think I'm ready for something more than being a Sunday Christian or just calling myself a Christian. I think I'm ready to be one. Honestly, it freaks me out. Me, pray for someone and actually see them healed! Me, drink poison and not die! Me, love with a love that does not remember wrongs. Me, not only remember the orphan and the widow, but care for the orphan and the widow. I can't even wrap my head fully around what being a Christian should look like.
No, I can . . . it should look like Jesus, unmistakably, vulnerably, humbly like Jesus.
That's what I want to be. I want to be so full of Him, that I get mistaken for Jesus. It starts with obeying Him, doing the things He commands us to do in His Word. It not some great spiritual, head in the clouds, oh my! I'm surrounded by glory, revelation: "Jesus just told me to do the things He already commanded me to do, Wow!" It's a hard, cold, gut decision to be obedient to everything He has already commanded me to do and let the results in His hands. The only feeling is a tight knot in the stomach feeling of "What have I just gotten myself into and Oh God! I can't do this without you."
Anyone want to join me?