Friday, August 28, 2009

What does it mean to be a Christian (Christ-like)?

Why do we avoid or dodge the difficult problems in life instead of working them out by coming up with a solution or consulting God to help us? Why are so many Christians always complaining about an issue or problem that involves them or bugs them, but then, when they are asked to provide a possible solution to that issue or problem, they don't seem to really want to fix what they are complaining about in the first place? They don't open their Bible, God's very Word to us, and read it to find the solution. The Bible has a solution to every problem we have faced, do face, or will ever face. There is nothing that happens to us now that hasn't happened to someone before us. We have the same problems, tendencies, habits, customs, and issues that people faced since the creation of man! But, we have God's Word to guide us and give us solutions. We can "consult" with God at any time, any day by simply opening His Word and reading. It is absolutely free and has absolutely no bias or "secret" agenda. It is tried and very true. Then WHY don't we consult it more? Why are we constantly trying to pass our problems and issues off to someone else?

The important question is why do we (Christians) put up with this constant complaining and misery without do something about it?

Because, too often, we find it easy to sit back in our "comfort zone" and place judgement about other people or issues without really searching out God and activating our Faith! We are content in simply covering the underlying problem up and pretending it is not there. We look the other way or appear to be happy on the surface when the real problem is like a cancer beneath our skin, slowly eating away at our lives. On the outside, we "claim" God in our lives and "claim" to live a Godly life but are we really? Aren't we really just being superficial in our walk with God? We pretend to have a relationship with God and profess to believe in what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross, but then we clam up and abandon others in need when the storms start to brew in our daily lives! We "claim" this and "claim" that but we refuse to show anything by doing nothing. On the surface, we appear to be Christians, yet we change that appearance when the very values we "claim" to live by become a reality. WE ARE NOT DOING WHAT GOD SAYS TO DO!

2 Corinthians 6:14-18, 7:1 "Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can believer be a partner with and unbeliever? And what union can there be between God's temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God! As God said; "I will live in them and walk among them, I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord [it is a command, not a request]. Don't touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. [it doesn't say "please don't touch their filthy things" or "I might welcome you"] And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty!" [this is not a suggestion or request, it is an order] Then it goes on to say in the next chapter, "Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit! And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God!"

God had this written because He knew that by hanging around unbelievers or negative people, it would pollute those of us who believe. He knew that nonconformity to our Faith is like a cancer and destroys us just as quickly! Our God is not a politically-correct God or a lukewarm God. He is a tolerant and forgiving God, but do not mistake this for weakness, no, do not make this confused!

For the scriptures say in Romans 12:2 "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think [this also covers how we live]." We are made in the image of God and therefore are given a duty to remain holy as God is holy and clean as God is clean. For are we not Christians or Christ-like? Like Christ, in the image of God...........This means that we have become like God in our image and our image is our identity. So if we identify with or affiliate with sin, we have just violated God's image! And if an image is also an identity, then we have just violated His identity! We have just "misrepresented" God and Christianity because we are supposed to be Christ-like in everything we do and say. This is very important because it is something we encounter every day in our lives!

I have studied the religion of Islam and attended multiple classes and briefings (while serving in the United States Army) regarding the religion and its fundamental ideologies and beliefs. This was mandatory as a result of the September 11th 2001 attack on our country. This attack brought about an intense hatred and dislike for Islam and Muslims everywhere. But I have noticed something about this religion that is very different than most other religions. There is absolutely zero tolerance for lukewarmness or half-way participation when you are a Muslim! You cannot be a Muslim and not practice the religion. You have to conform to all the beliefs and practice every requirement or you will, not might, will face severe punishment and in some countries, certain death! That's right, death!

If we Christians had the passion or conformity to Christianity as Muslims have to Islam, I can guarantee that the world would be a much better place. Yes, there would be absolute happiness with one another, patience in the waiting lines at the store, giving and more giving, hope and love everywhere we looked, and full church buildings on Sunday.................We would have polite telephone operators, positive news reporters, there would be equality with race and no divisions among wealth classes. We would be an almost perfect world! But this would be because we would live like-Christ.

If we could just come close to this other "religion" we would, the the least, be more understanding and passionate toward other people. We would stop thinking less of the other man or putting others down with our thoughts and we would definitely not be acting the way we do towards others on a daily basis in our regular lives. Why can't we just come close to what God requires or what Jesus tried so hard to show us by his righteous example? When we accept God into our lives, we are giving Him control (complete and utter) of our lives and everything that is a product of our lives. This means that we do nothing without His consent or, more importantly, His guidance. We must live a God-guided life. This is a very strong statement in itself because it leaves no other alternative to how we approach life. We do not have the "choice" of living this way or that way because, God guides and orchestrates everything we do and how we deal with our problems and issues. But if we do not let Him, he can't! Because God gave the human race choice. And every day we choose to ignore and disregard God. We choose to try and take on life ourselves and it always fails. We will never be able to fix us if we don't admit that we need to be fixed. We must "cast off" the old us and "put on" the new us!

2 Corinthians 5:17 "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"

What "separates" us from the unbelievers is our Faith or belief that Jesus Christ died for our sins to set us free and that with God at the front of our lives, we cannot and will not fail. We will surely live and survive the storms we face in life. So if it is our Faith which separates us, then we must begin to show the world that we have this Faith and this can only be accomplished by living it. The best method of bringing an unbeliever to believe or to God is to show them how good it really is to have God in our lives. We must live our Faith and beliefs every day in every way. Stop "hiding" from our problems and turn them over to God. He will handle every problem we give Him and nothing can separate us from the love of God! By gaining true intimacy with God, we are gaining life. And by living with God, we are living as true Christians!

Galations 3:26 "For you are all children of God through FAITH in Jesus Christ."

You see, it is Faith in Jesus Christ and the Cross which makes us true Christians and we need to begin thinking of ourselves as soldiers for Him in the fight for ultimate survival in this world filled with sin. As long as there is sin, there will be a need for God and when we need God we need to let God dictate our every step in life. He must orchestrate every decision we make and action we commit. Without this guidance, we will fail and surely die. I challenge we Christians to begin letting God handle our problems and start living "like-Christ".................... Amen!

1 comment:

  1. I just now read your story - good job! I like the way you summed up your life - you may be more of a writer than you think you are. i appreciate your honesty, Rich, in your blog. keep up the good work. - Bess

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