When one says that they are a Christian how does that change the way others perceive them?
“For the Grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” Titus 2:11-15
There are so many people who say they are Christians and then when people observe their conduct and their philosophy about life it is no different than anyone else around them.
When I observe those who observe Christians I often notice a sense of skepticism. Oh yah… being a Christian, how does that really make a difference? Do you live up to the expectations of your claims? I find that people outside the faith will often do everything in their power to test the Christian’s resolve to see if they really believe what they say they believe. While I do not stand in judgment because only God can judge the motives of the heart, there are things we can see in people that test their resolve.
We are not Christians because we hold to the catholic or protestant point of view in our polity and rituals for worship. We are Christians because we have been observed and stand out as those who live by the beat of a different drummer. This is why the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. Acts 11:26 This is why in Acts 4:13 the leaders said, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Wherever the early Christians went they made a difference. They did not go along to get along. They did not compromise but embraced the power they had in Christ and took the witness to the whole world. In Acts 17:6 they were pegged as those who caused trouble all over the world. As Christians taking the redemptive message to the whole world, they turned the world upside down. They changed the way the world had to do business.
The beat of the drummer is the rhythm of righteousness found through the saving work of Jesus Christ. The drummer is the presence of the Holy Spirit teaching and guiding us into all the truth of God’s plan. This is a plan that lays before us a path to holiness built on a foundation of love and truth. With full capacity everyone who is a part of it is led into the depth of that truth and love with ever expanding joy and fulfillment.
“And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11
This does not give us a higher office than others in the world. We sometimes will be blamed, because of our commitment to truth, as people who think they are better than others. This is more a subliminal guilt reaction on the part of the unbelieving skeptic than truth.
We must approach our witness in the world with humility and resolve without compromise to the truth.
We must believe without wavering from our convictions related to compromise and conduct. It helps us to tolerate the process of dealing with those who do not understand spiritual truth because they have not experienced the redemptive power of God in their lives.
This helps us walk in the light without judgment of others because wherever we are in the journey, we are tested by the same elements in life as every other person. Staying firm in our convictions is critical as those convictions are anchored in truth.
In my book, More Than Volunteers, I have tried to set the tone for how a real church of Jesus Christ should look as we build for the future. I do not try to teach you to be something that you already are. I try to frame how what you already are is supposed to work in and through your life as a Christian. If you are going to embrace Christ as your Lord and Savior you are not a volunteer but a member of the body of Christ.
As a Christian you already have within you the capacity to claim the power of Christ in your witness and the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit as you guide, along with the gifts of the Spirit as the enhancement for your call to service. This is a book you should read because it works to deal with you who have responded to God’s message of redeeming grace and are called out by God to be a part of the royal priesthood of saints living out your commitment to Christ, passionately listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and not the spirit of this world in building your life.