First, I would like to define my own definition of what it means to be Christian. When I say I am a Christian, I am saying, Jesus Christ is my savior, I follow Christ. I love me some Jesus immensely and yes, I believe in the old good book, the Bible!
Here’s what I do not believe:
I do not believe religious rituals earn me my spot in heaven.
I believe God searches our hearts and looks to see if our hearts are in the right place rather than what we do for the sake of religion.
At one point in my life, I was living like a full on robot. Since I was a Christian, I wanted my life to reflect that. That part was fine, but the part that wasn’t fine was, I wasn’t fully receiving Jesus’s gift of Grace and Salvation that He died for.
I was so concerned with being called a hypocrite if I ever did anything in the public eye that contradicted God’s way of living. I started to become a people pleaser. I wanted everyone to like me and approve of me. If everyone is on good terms with me that meant I’m living my life “right”, right?
I constantly repeated, “I want to be a reflection of Christ, I want to be a reflection of Christ, I want to be a reflection of Christ.” I’m not saying this is something I no longer strive to be, because I indeed still do. But the problem was in my heart. I was too concerned with how people saw me rather than how Jesus saw me. I failed to realize that Jesus paid the ultimate price for my sin because He knew I could never be sinless. I wasn’t fully receiving this gift of Grace Jesus left to me.
This is a miserable way to live.
“He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins–and not only our sins but the sins of all the world”. – 1 John 2:2
He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His son and forgave our sins.-Ephesians 1:7
I constantly would apologize to people to assure I didn’t offend them and also to assure they still liked me. I constantly beat myself up about every little wrong thing I did or thought. I thought every person I came across, I needed to quote some bible scripture and say something about Jesus in order to spread His word and goodness, and I constantly strived hard to make sure people knew I was a Christian.
Eeeeeeek. Let’s stop here, once again, miserable way to live.
One night when I was doing dishes, I heard a small yet simultaneously big voice, asking me, “Are you doing it to be made right for them or are you doing it out of your love for Me?”
I’ve learned, when you whole heartedly do it for Jesus, it reflects on its own and you don’t have to prove it to anyone. God’s authentic light, naturally shines bright. It’s not something you have to force others to see. Jesus is big, so if He’s inside of you, it is really hard to miss.
As Christians, yes that does mean our lives should reflect that, but too often we get lost in the title rather than what it truly means. We care more about the title than actually just living for God. I’m sorry, but reading your bible doesn’t make you a Christian, quoting scriptures doesn’t make you right with God, and even doing nice things for people doesn’t make you right with God IF your hearts not really in it.
“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Heavenly Father in heaven.” -Matthew 6:1
If we do things solely out of religion because it sounds right or simply because it makes us look good then we are doing ourselves a disservice. Our works are useless with an empty heart.
If you only give a homeless person money because it clears your conscience or so other people would see, you did yourself and that homeless person a disservice.
Your heart is what’s critical. Maybe you gave money to that homeless person and your conscience is free but think about that person. Did you even pray for that person? Did you ask the Holy Spirit to lead you about how you could help this person before you just gave them money out of the sake of religion or to free your guilt?
Sometimes, God isn’t even asking you to give them money. Jesus cares about their soul and salvation. Maybe God simply wanted you to reflect His realness and that’s it. A smile, a water, a conversation, a bible, a meal, sanitary/hygiene items, any one of those things could be all Jesus wanted you to give. Simply demonstrating that Jesus lives and lives inside of you is huge.
Anyone can give change and keep it moving. If your hearts not in it, your reward from people is surely all you’ll ever get. But that’s not enough. People can’t get you to heaven and people can’t free your souls.
“But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything will reward you.” – Mathew 6:3-4
When you live for God, it’s not about you.
I have a cousin who’s spirit just shines bright. Without even having to say Jesus’s name or tell people he’s a Christian, his spirit reflects it because his heart is so sincere. His spirit alone has shown people God is real without him having to do religious customs and works. He doesn’t drain himself trying to prove to the world he has a relationship with Christ, he lets his spirit speak for itself.
Too often, Christians are worried about the wrong things. Your heart is enough to worry about. Asking God to cleanse you daily and purify your heart is huge. This is what pleases our Father.
So what’s all this mean? I can do what I want? When I want because of Grace? No.
I’m not saying running wild and doing sinful acts and then posting on Facebook, “I’m a Christian.” is what we should do.
Here’s what I am saying;
Your life should reflect you are Christian. But don’t drain yourself trying to prove to others what God already knows. As long as your relationship with Christ is authentic, that will show to others.
We know the things that tug on our hearts deep down, we know the things that we have no business doing or the things God wants us to dispatch from, it’s essential that we lean on God to help us in those areas.
Naturally, when you are in a true relationship with Christ, you start to feel convicted of the things that dishonor Christ out of your love for Him. Christ enhances our character. A part of being in a close relationship with Christ, you naturally start to no longer desire to do some of the same old destructive habits you once did. This is one of the biggest signs of your relationship with Christ growing.
So, this means having to live like a robot and walking on eggshells constantly isn’t being authentic. If you’re feeling like that, it’s time to reflect if your relationship with Christ is religious or an actual relationship.
God designed your personality. There is nothing wrong with being goofy, finding humor, standing up for your beliefs, and enjoying life. God wants us to enjoy life. He doesn’t want us stiff and lifeless. Be you. Delight in your personality. Give off your flavor.
Again, I’m not promoting sin or saying sin is okay, it’s not. Sin empties and disables us. We have to try our best to honor God, while also remembering He doesn’t want us beating ourselves up constantly when we do mess up. This adds unnecessary pressure on ourselves. This is how people turn away from living for God because they put too much pressure on themselves. Just be you and ask God to lead you every step of the way.
Let love be your guide. -Ephesians 5:2
JesusChristChangedMyLife because He paid the ultimate price to set me free.
Father, Thank-You for Your unconditional love and grace. Your grace is sufficient. Heavenly Father, help me to operate out of authenticity. Help me to love You and others sincerely. Help me to honor You with my mind, body, and spirit. Break my heart for what breaks Yours Father. Put me in places to glorify You, where souls will be led to You. I want to be authentic in my walk for You. Order my steps Father. Create in me a clean heart. In Jesus name,