I am beginning a new series of posts today that I am titling Believers. Enjoy.
Being a believer in God has become a normal assertion among individuals in the West. Growing up in the southern part of the United States and having traveled to dozens of churches from coast to coast I have become acutely aware of humanity’s desire to be a nominal Christian attending church on Sunday morning while observing no reason to discipline themselves in their personal lives to pursue the knowledge of Jesus. The high vision of Christ’s inheritance in them has been quenched. To them, being redeemed by the blood of Jesus is more about faithfulness to their local parish each week than a lifestyle that displays the uniqueness of their identity as one who has been crucified with Christ. This begs the question as to what being a believer is from the biblical point of view? Many may explain the transition from being an unbeliever to a believer as a series of significant words that ask for forgiveness from an invisible God in the heavens. It is my submission that the definition in scripture is quite different (we will look at this in my next post).
I have asked the question to various Christians, “How do you know someone is a believer in God?” Their response had a very common thread. They each followed along the theme of “loving Jesus.” If I then pried and asked what this looked like many stumbled across their words as they tried to verbalize an answer that actually had meaning to my question. It was hard for them to give definition to, in their understanding, such an ethereal topic. It seemed to me like they were trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. It is my opinion the reason for this is because we live in a church culture that has trivialized Christianity and pushed it over the cliff of relativism. What I mean by this is, from the secular perspective, the church is no longer a force to be reckoned with but is rather another religion to be dealt with. The world’s culture would like to do away with the christian church altogether not because we bring a message of truth that convicts but because we are part of a community that lives in contradiction to much of what we stand for and teach. We take a stance on the sanctity of marriage, abortion or even signs and wonders but cast aside the weightier, more relevant issues in our own personal walk with the Lord. Jesus had this to say on the topic, “But woe to you Pharisee’s! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done without neglecting the others.” (Lk. 11:42) As in Jesus’ day, we also have many that are taking stances on the popular, “relevant” issues within the conservative Christian community while neglecting the foundational faith and practices that make Christianity unique when compared to the rest of the religions of the world. In doing this they may appear to be standing for the important things of love and justice but little do they know that these must first be rooted in their heart before they are manifested in the external act. God’s plan isn’t to get the church to just do good works, but rather to do good works for the right reasons.
No other founder of a religion remotely compares with Jesus. He is His own light. He not only sheds light; He is the light of the world and if we are to be those who offer true, untainted, shatter-the-darkness light that pierces the unjust and unloving situations in this earth then we must be first and foremost consumed with this Man. That being said, there is no matter more weighty than your own internal/hidden pursuit to love Jesus. Though signs and wonders may come. Though abortion may find its end in our nation. Though the sanctity of marriage be upheld in our courts. Will your next decision be one that shines forth light or one that compromises your high calling of holiness because of an act, that in your opinion, expresses love and justice but lacks the internal light which makes these two attributes unique when compared to every other attempt to bring forth love and justice among humanity?