That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Friday, June 14, 2013

What Kind of Christian Are You?

I ask this question of myself frequently.  Usually the answer is, "...a pretty pathetic one."

It seems like whenever I feel like I'm just getting to the point where I'm really focusing on the Lord, and I'm really getting a lot out of my Bible reading, and I'm praying, and all my ducks are in a row, so to speak, the Holy Spirit tugs at my heart and says, "... but what about THIS area" or "... what about THAT thing I want you to do."  Oh yeah... there's always something else isn't there.

The truth is, the Christian life is one of constant growth and learning.  We will never "arrive" at the place where we have "made it" as a Christian.  Where everything is perfect.  If we got to that place, we'd be dead and in heaven.  It can be discouraging at times to think we'll never get to the point where we are the perfect Christian, or even the best Christian, but it's not God's intention that that should discourage us. Instead, we should be motivated by the fact that it's possible never to stop growing closer to God.  Isn't that a great thought?  But, I think some Christians do get discouraged and give up trying to become better people, because it's hard.

Here's something I've been thinking about recently.  What's wrong with trying to be better?  I've had a lot of people put a guilt trip on me because I try to have a higher standard for my life.  I don't get that at all!  Shouldn't we want to be better people as Christians?  Shouldn't we want to sin less?  Shouldn't we want to be good, righteous, holy, and pure?  I really don't understand this idea of trying to justify ourselves in our sin.

The justification goes something like this, "Well, we're all on different levels in our spiritual journey, so we can't judge each other."  Ok, I get that different levels thing, but why is it that this excuse (it really is an excuse) is always thrown out when someone is confronted with sin?  Don't you want to know if you are sinning, so you can stop?  Sometimes Christians justify themselves this way, "Maybe it's wrong for you, but the Holy Spirit hasn't convicted me of that yet, so it's okay for me."  I don't buy that one either.  I think that if a Christian has a conviction we should never make an excuse for not having that conviction ourselves.  Instead, I think we would do well to go to the Scripture and search out the conviction to see if it's an area we need to change in our own lives.

I think many Christians are content and complacent when it comes to spiritual growth.  I also think that many Christians view spiritual growth as some warm, fuzzy feeling and if I have a good feeling I must be in the right place spiritually.  Meanwhile, the practical day to day areas of their lives are a mess.  Why are we so scared to confront sin?  We ignore our own sin and the sin of others.  In today's Christian culture, a preacher who stand in a pulpit and says something like, "Drinking alcohol is wrong!  It's sin!" is immediately labelled as legalistic and adding "rules" to Scripture.  I mean, heaven forbid we add a rule to the Bible!  Oh wait... didn't Jesus say, "If ye love me, keep my commandments"?  And a commandment is....???

So, what kind of Christian are you?  I'm not trying to label anyone, or determine what kind of Christian anyone else is.  But, I think we ALL need to take a step back and evaluate our attitude toward sin and toward spiritual growth.  Do we ever even think about the fact that we sin?  What do we consider spiritual growth?  Is it just a good feeling, or is it taking steps to remove sin from our lives and replace it with righteousness?

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