Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Following in Your Footsteps: What makes a Christian?

When you think of a Christian, what do you think of?
-A person who goes to church every single Sunday, including a Bible study every week.
-A person who puts money in the offering plate at church.
-A person who has a "Christian fish" on their car bumper.
-A person who has 75 Bible verses memorized.
OR maybe you think of a Christian as...
-A person who doesn't like to have fun.
-A person who forces their beliefs on others.
-A person who judges others in a hateful manner.
-A person who is hypocritical.
OR maybe when you think of a Christian, you think of all of the above.
If you were to look up "Christian" in the dictionary, it would probably say, "one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ". And if someone believes in something, in turn they would act on it or follow it, right?
So whatever Jesus teaches, a Christian should follow it, correct?  
Let's play a game of TRUE/FALSE...
-Jesus didn't like to have fun. FALSE, how could a guy not have fun with his friends (aka disciples) fishing on the boat?
-Jesus forced His beliefs on others. FALSE, of course, He told people what He thought, but He never did it in a condescending way, instead He lovingly spoke His mind.
-Jesus judged others in a hateful manner. FALSE, Jesus may have told people to repent, but He always did it in a loving way.
-Jesus was hypocritical. FALSE, what He said, He did and what He did, He said.
So if Jesus didn't do those things, Christians shouldn't either (but more on that on the next post). In Shane Claiborne's book, Irresistible Revolution, he said,
 "He saw Jesus in me. And I saw Jesus in Him."
That's how it should be.
If we are hypocritical, judgmental, and arrogant, people will not see Jesus in us.
Christians should strive to show Jesus to everyone around them.
Of course, because we are humans, we are not perfect, but we can still try our best to live the way Christ wants us to live.
Shane also talks about his search for a real Christian. He said, "I wondered what it would look like if we decided to really follow Jesus. In fact, I wasn't sure what a fully devoted Christian looked like or if the world had even seen one in the last few centuries. From my desk at college, it looked like some time back we had stopped living Christianity and started just studying it."
Like I said, this book may make you feel a tad bit uncomfortable, but it's so thought provoking.
I think many people think of Christianity as a religion, which it is; however, I think it should be seen as a way of life, instead of a list rules.
Let's eliminate the negative connotation of Christianity that our culture has created and let's simply follow Christ - loving God & loving others.
Today, I just started reading Kyle Idleman's book, Not a Fan, and  he says, "Following by definition requires more than mental assent, it calls for movement."

I don't know if you are following Christ, but either way, I'm so glad you are checking the series out! I hope you stop by again as we journey together about what it looks like to walk in Jesus' footsteps. I hope we can be challenged together to really, really follow Jesus. I know that I have been the opposite of Christ-like  many times, so I am thankful for God's grace and forgiveness.  
If you want, check out my post Are you a fan or follower? to see what category you may fit in.
Think about this & feel free to share below in a comment-I'd love to hear!
As Christians, what are some ways we have contributed to this negative perception? Where have we messed up and how can we shed positive light on Christianity?
Don't forget to pray for the unreached people group of the day!
Bible reading plan this week:
Monday: Nehemiah 1-3
Tuesday: Nehemiah 4-6
Wednesday: Nehemiah 7
Thursday: Nehemiah 8-9
Friday: Nehemiah 10-11
Saturday: Nehemiah 12-13
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I'm so glad you stopped by! I can't wait to hear your thoughts. Be blessed :)