FIVE Things The World Should Know Christians ARE NOT (not an inclusive list):
2. Always in Agreement with Each Other (refer to number 1) A helicopter view of Christian/Church History and a perusal of Facebook and Twitter will bear me out on this one. I would be hard pressed to make a list of all the things Christians disagree about, but the one thing they do agree on is Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
3. Judges…although some may actually be Civil Judges and yet others Judgmental (refer to Number 1), ultimately Christians know there is only one Judge and it is not anyone of us. Again refer to Number 1 when encountering judgmental Christians or for that matter anyone of any faith, the media, or anyone else who is judgmental.
Alas, Number 1 refers to all humankind.
4. Completed…which is why Number 1 applies. Christianity is an inside out process that begins with the recognition of Number 1 and the inability to DIY [do it yourself]. It begins with a recognition of the need to be saved, fixed, and one day completed.
It begins with the recognition of who Jesus is and what He has done. ONCE and For ALL. But it doesn’t end until the Holy Spirit completes the inside housekeeping and makes both inside and out like Jesus. . .it doesn’t end until Heaven.
5. Exclusive…in spite of the fact that some Christians may be Number 1, Number 2, and Number 3, and Number 4. I challenge any non-Christians and Christians out there to read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for more information on the inclusiveness of Jesus of Nazareth.
He included tax collectors, adulterers, thieves, soldiers, prostitutes, fornicators, women, lepers, rich and poor, religious, pagans, alike…Did all them follow him? No! Still he ate with them, healed them, touched them, loved them…His last instruction to his disciples was, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Considering the fact that as a Christian I know his love led him to a Cross to die for me while I was still a sinner….Loving like Jesus requires ‘drawing a circle that closes others in.’ [paraphrase from Edwin Markham’s poem “Outwitted”]
So how in the world do Christians differ from Non Christians. Here are FIVE THINGS in my opinion that Christians ARE (not an inclusive list):
1. Forgiven…past, present, future sins. ‘Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ Romans 8:1 Due to Number 1 and Number 2 from the “Are Not” list Christians may interpret this differently but bottom line….NO CONDEMNATION for those WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS! The key, of course, is WHO they are trusting…beyond that it is between the individual and Jesus…whose grace is sufficient.
2. Followers of Christ. Admittedly, sometimes we get off track here and follow other Christians, the culture, or our own sinful inclinations…refer back to the “Are Not” list to Number 1. Still, Followers, Christians are. The standard for this is the whole scripture of God, Old and New Testament, especially as lived out by Jesus of Nazareth…again read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for more understanding of the Son of Man, Son of God.
When the crowds were turning away from Jesus, because of some of the radical things he said and did, He looked at the few remaining, the Apostles and a few others still following. “Will you leave me, too?” he asked. Peter, ever the spokesman for the others, baffled and yet clinging said, “Where would we go, Lord, for only you have the words of life.”
Ultimately, real Christians and yes, there are a few pretenders, come to a crisis of faith–maybe more than one–when they must choose between following Jesus, the preacher, the crowd, or their own desires. In my experience I have not always made the right choice…refer to both Number 1’s for further explanation.
However, that is one of of the jobs of the Holy Spirit…who will tirelessly work within to convict, bring confession, and restore SO-O-O that ultimately the Christian will be complete.
BOTTOM LINE: GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE A CHRISTIAN ALONE ON THE WRONG PATH. HE WILL HOUND THEM, LOVE THEM, DISCIPLINE THEM, BUT NEVER, EVER LEAVE THEM…even if the Christian begs him to go away.
3. Faithful to the Gospel of Christ in so far as they seek it, see it, and allow the Holy Spirit to make it real in their lives. Again refer to Number 1, Number 2, and Number 4 on the “Are Not” list.
4. Fruitful and on this there can be no equivocation. Anyone who is a Christian is producing good fruit or their graft onto the vine needs attention. Jesus said he was the vine, we were the branches. If Christians don’t produce fruit, they will be pruned so they can be fruitful. The purpose of the pruning is always for the Christian’s benefit and to bring glory to God.
“… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NET)
The starting point after the grafting to the vine varies with Christians so fruit production also varies. AGAIN, Number 1 on the “Are Not” list.
5. Fragile, Filled and Welcoming–2 Corinthians calls Christians, clay pots. Truth is Christians are not polished and fresh from The Pottery Barn clay pots, but rather clay pots have been shattered by failures and betrayals, smashed on the walls of life; they are clay pots with pieces missing, so when glued back together by the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, Christians have glaring imperfections.
The holes remind the Christian of her sinfulness, the cracks of his need for Christ and each other. In short the Christian’s shabby state should remind every believer that only the Light of the Holy Spirit, only the Grace of God, only the Sacrifice of Christ sets Christians apart from non Christians.
Even then the spark of light sometimes grows feeble as the Christian’s attention shifts off center. Sometimes Christians bank the fire leaving only a little glow, because Christians are afraid (refer to Number 1 of the ”Are Not” list) that they might attract people they are not comfortable with.
Every jar is different, but together, no matter how weak the individual light within, Christians bear the LIGHT of the World.
THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NOT ALLOW THE LIGHT OF CHRIST TO BE EXTINGUISHED. . .
No one is at fault for any errors in this blog, but me. REFER TO NUMBER 1 ON THE “ARE NOT” LIST.