I will teach you about God’s power. I will not conceal anything concerning the Almighty.
~Job 27:11 NIV~
It is so frustrating to scroll through the Facebook feed and read comments and arguments against Christians. Knowing that this is not what Jesus intended when he walked on this earth all those years ago, seeing what people have done to pervert His message and then seeing how others have so misconstrued His teachings is heartbreaking. Sadly, many of the people who are doing the most damage are sure that what they are doing is fulfilling the Great Commission to go forth and make disciples. Too bad they aren’t equating the lack of followers they are gathering to a serious deficiency in their understanding of God’s word. Or maybe they are gaining followers, but they aren’t seeing how God’s word has positively impacted the people in their lives. I guess it depends on what our aim is as followers. If we truly want Him to live through us, then we can’t possibly be happy with ourselves when we see how far out of step some perceptions of Christians appear to be. We need to speak up and get the right message circulating.
This doesn’t mean that any time we attempt to disciple someone we are automatically going to see a huge improvement in their situation. But we should be able to see that their eyes are opened to something that they weren’t seeing before we brought the word to them. If not, then they are most likely just going through the motions in an effort to make someone else happy. As disciplers, we need to be able to discern the subtle difference between those who have taken a step toward God and those who are merely falling into step with what they are hearing and trying to reach the Promised Land without putting forth genuine effort. I don’t say this to be critical of the new or renewed believer; I say this to reinforce the importance of walking a genuine walk so that when others fall into step with us, they are walking in the right direction. We can’t help anyone if we’re a mess.
Many new believers may not understand that it doesn’t happen like that and if we allow them to continue blindly and we don’t adjust our ministry to fit their needs, they will eventually place the blame for their failure to feel “redeemed” on God. This is why when new believers stop feeling that warm, fuzzy feeling that you get right after you have been saved, they may fall out of step with Christ or backslide, whichever term you want to use. Ideally, when we really get that God wants to save us, we understand that we need to change. We understand that our way is not the right way and that we will only begin to feel the peace His love affords when we are totally committed to following the plan He has for us. We understand that this WILL involve surrendering our will to His and that this won’t always be pleasant. Sometimes I think every Christian should have to wear a sticker that says, “Don’t follow me, I’m still lost.” At the very least, we should have to wear something that says, “Don’t follow me, follow Him.”
This message probably sounds very negative to those of you who feel that your personal walk with Christ is pretty solid. If you’re offended by what I’ve said, well I apologize. However; I caution anyone who is walking with Christ to be aware of how your walk is impacting others. If the people around you are telling you that your Christianity is hateful, you might want to examine the reasons why they are saying this? It could be their own reluctance to accept Christ, but then, it could be that you are not really walking in love. Sometimes we convince ourselves that just because we call ourselves Christians and we go to church every week and we tithe and we do all the things that “good” Christians do, we are automatically setting a good example. It can’t possibly be our fault that anyone has stumbled because we are doing this thing perfectly. Um….if you’re thinking that, you should have a huge red light flashing above your head right now along with some pretty annoying sirens going off. But if you are wondering how people are viewing your walk, then you’re probably on the right track. That’s called humility, and it is good.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m a huge mess. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. My walk has been a series of hills and valleys and most of the time; I walk down the wrong fork in the road. Thankfully, God leaves plenty of breadcrumbs so that I can find my way back onto the right path. The goal is to have a right heart and to attack evil as Jesus would have; with love. If what we are doing to fight the battle causes people to hate Jesus or God, then we are not doing it right. My God is not hateful. There are things He hates, but He would never make the sinner feel as though they aren’t fit to be in the same atmosphere that He rules. And yes, He can put us through some difficult things in order to test us and refine us, but that doesn’t mean that His followers have the right or authority to test one another in that way. Only God has that authority, anyone else who tries to bring that sort of judgment or sentence against his or her fellow man or woman is still working for the wrong team.
For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.
~1 Corinthians 4:20 NIV~