I know a few Christian dudes — several of them pastors — who regularly smoke cigars and drink beer and wine. Does this bother you? Because they’re some of the best Christians I know.
Some are into metalcore, wear huge lip rings and gauged earrings, have tattoos like a second skin, and spike their hair into stilettos. Some curse like crazy, don’t pray before their meals, love MMA, read Cracked.com, and watch Key and Peele.
Some read horoscopes, watch The Daily Show, watch rated R movies, despise Chris Tomlin, can’t stand Christian books, and could care less about your politics. Some, at times, even doubt the existence of God.
Does this mean they’re not Christian?
Is a Christian supposed to be nicer? Gentler? Well mannered? More polite? Happier? Holier? Rich and successful? Full of doctrine? Republican? American? Calvinist? Going to seminary? On the praise team? A regular tither? Anti-something? Pro-whatever?
All of those are totally fine of course — but they do NOT define a believer’s faith.
The Christian loves Jesus and loves people. It is not less than this, but probably not that much more.
If we’re boxing Christians into our preconceived categories, we are limiting the limitless imagination of God. God can do His incredible work through people completely unlike me — so the best thing is just to get out of the way.
Not every Christian has to think like you or me.
We are like-minded in our love of Jesus: but we don’t have to think alike anywhere else. Jesus smashed all those human categories in both his life and his death.
What you see as a lukewarm Christian might just be someone who is on the first go-around. What you see as a hypocrite could be like Peter, who clung onto old Jewish rituals and was still repenting of his old life. Some people are on the first lap of learning biblical truth and we don’t need to rush them to a “finish line of faith.”
Since God is so ridiculously patient with us, then we don’t get to play a judgmental version of God with others. None of us get it right every time or most of the time or even half — and almost never the first time.
If you keep yelling “stumbling block” everywhere because you expect church-people to act “more Christian,” maybe no one else is playing by your made-up rules. Perhaps you’ve created a false over-sensitive moral standard that is defined by churchianity but is hardly biblical. That’s called legalism. When someone doesn’t fit your stereotypical view of a Christian, you’ve already shortened the arm of God.
Everyone is accountable, but everyone is also being chiseled in their personal relationship with Christ — and you are not the judge of that. You don’t get to judge someone’s life over a tiny slice of their lifetime.
A Christian is not defined by his progress, but by his Savior. She is not defined by the amount of her faith, but by the object of that faith.
Jesus is simple enough for the five year old and true enough for the eighty-five year old. He excluded no one on the cross. He is for everyone. He is even for people like you and me.
A Christian looks like Jesus, who had enough room in his heart for the full spectrum of humanity. I pray for a bigger heart like his.
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
— Galatians 3:26-28
Originally posted here on my Tumblr.
18 thoughts on “What is a Christian supposed to look like?”
I thought I was the only one who was creeped out by Chris Tomlin, and I like his music fine….
I’d have to peel apart your thoughts more. If you are saying to love someone where they are at and to encourage their surrender to God daily (because we just grow in a surrender we don’t ‘become a better person’, we become a new hybrid creature so that the Holy Spririt in us overpowers the fleshy nature, Bible says we are new creatures in Christ and we are crucified with Christ, Gal 5 and 2 Cor 5) so that they can give up worldly defense mechanisms like nicotine(a false idol, Jesus want to keep us calm and use prayer and the word to overcome the stresses of life) then I agree. If you are saying stay as your are and there is no power anymore to break strongholds(Isaiah 61) then I disagree. And there is a way to say ‘keep going don’t stay there’ without condemnation otherwise with condemnation then we are in works. Just because we miss the mark we don’t lower the standards.
Something to think about, isn’t it? 🙂
It’s shit like this that churchy people do that makes me want to gag- I used to be just like you. Read the article instead of trying to pick it apart. This is the realest post I’ve read in a while, and this man is the only connection between my agnosticism to my former faith. Your arguments are all based on the legalism you built for yourself but one day maybe you can take the stick out of your butt at breathe some fresh air.
I’m sorry that you were hurt. And I hope that you continue to seek because if we seek then we will find. I was trying to make sure that no condenmation got through which is important. I did say that there is a loving way to say it without condemnation because the person who condemns is actually in works or legalism as you put it. I wrote a post 5 ways to know we are in works. Works to God is the same thing as sin. So legalism/works isnt’ accepted by Christ. I mention lower how God healed me from depression. Alchohol and nicotine are false idols. They are defense mechanisms when God wants to be our mechanism. This can be stated incourigingly with bible study, support. The church needs to show the power change. We arent just another philosphical worldview to live your best life. It’s the absolute plan for man and it brings joy. The problem is that extremes are shared. Either truth in condemnation in one extremes or it’s okay to stay as you are in another extreme. It’s is possible to say hey God can help you move forward you don’t have to stay where you are with no condennation. The author is right that the people he listed are Christians. But the Bible says we go from faith to faith we don’t stay there. I hope this clarifies what I was trying to say. And I’m sorry for those that condemn you but there is power in the name of Jesus to overcome.
If God can deliver me from many things including depression and teach me how to war (ps 144:1) as the scripture says the enemy comes then he can certainly help someone overcome nicotine and alchohol. It’s not that we look like we aren’t doing “bad” things it’s that we look like there is truth and power in the gospel because we actually change and don’t stay where we are.
Thank you for pointing out something I have noticed, but never found the right words to describe! Your line, “A Christian is not defined by his progress, but by his Savior” really summed it up so nicely; I need to remember this.
Reblogged this on Sophia's Voice and commented:
Sayin’ it like it is…
How did I miss this one? lol…… it’s just too good, JS. You were obviously reading my mind when you wrote this one.
Thank you for your encouragement again. It was a tough one to write.
Reblogged this on Idea Becomes Fact and commented:
My first reblog comes from one a blog I love. A blog that talks about the struggles Christians face. This reblog is in relation to my previous post about unity.
What I love most about this reblog is this line: “The Christian loves Jesus and loves people. It is not less than this, but probably not that much more.”
That’s what I’m focused on. Not how different our views are or our lifestyles look, but that we love Jesus and people. There’s not too much you can go wrong with there if you’re behaviour lines up with this.
Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂
No worries at all. I have a feeling I’ll be sharing a lot of your blogs.
Thank you SO much for this post. This is such a struggle for me– I constantly want to keep life nice and tidy in a box and rely on myself way too often to live out the Christian life the way I *think* I’m supposed to.
Reblogged this on the fit process and commented:
A great post about Christianity and how our God is beyond our boxes, “how-tos,” and assumptions.