… stradling the fence

As I age, grow, and mature (and hopefully gain wisdom) – I’m realizing more and more how we as  Christians are so easily & effortlessly indoctrinated with how the world thinks and succumb to it’s views of how we as Christians should behave and live our lives.

I have a COMPLETELY different view on Christian living than I did two or three years ago …. and even months ago.

One thing I’ve realized:
It bothers me that as Christians, we are so “in” the world that we may as well be “of” the world. That Christians can’t be differentiated from non – believers and to add, we don’t seem to reallly care. We seem to be of the mindset that we can do all the same things that “they” (non believers) do and still be considered Christians.  That’s just it. We CONSIDER ourselves Christians but we’re not living as one. We’re not making decisions as one. We’re not raising our families as such. We’re not acting in our roles as one. And, we’re definitely not showing the world what it looks like to be one.  We ride the “I’m no better than “them” (non believers) – I’m just saved” wave and use it as an excuse to do whatever we want apart from our beliefs. We take for granted what Christ has done for us & chose to live how we want knowing He will forgive.

So what is your purpose?

Why consider yourself a Christian when you’re only going to behave as one on Church days during Church times? Wednesdays between 6:30p-9p. Sundays between 10a -2p. And/or whatever other days you attend church activities. WHY? Why waste your time pretending to be something you’re not a few days/hours out of the week instead of just living as you really WANT to live the other 5 days that you’re not at church? OR. The alternative. Why spend most of your time trying to fit somewhere you KNOW you don’t belong for MOST of the week when you feel most comfortable being who you know you should be those few days out of the week… and spend those days in services feeling guilty about behaviors instead of freely worshipping?

You have to decide. Which life is most important?

The one that is most difficult, choosing to live a life for Christ – denying yourself worldly pleasures that are quickly fleeting in the first place… or the one that holds firm to the truths and promises of a God who has your best interests at heart?

YES! It is seemingly more fun to dress provacatively (i.e. making what’s to be kept private public), to be a man or woman who says and does things to entice, tempt, and provoke the opposite sex to sin (i.e. flirting), to find out what’s going on in other people’s lives & sharing what’s been entrusted to you for the sake of converation (i.e. gossiping), to tear down other people with negative things you know about them for selfish entertainment and/or to puff yourself up (i.e. more gossip, slander, pride), and to stay out all night partying putting off your duties as a mother, father, wife, husband (i.e. irresponsible/neglectful behavior).
That stuff is way more fun….. if you don’t understand your role in this life as a Christian.

…. seemingly much more fun than dressing and behaving with modesty, building your friends up, or praying for each other. Not discussing your friend’s situation that has been entrusted with you to knowing that if it’s been shared with you, it was for the sake of accountability/encouragement/support. Being mature and trustworthy enough to not engage in/listen to the spread of gossip or slander as it’s the complete opposite of what we should be doing as Christians – builidng each other up and being a support when we fall. Being mature enough to resolve issues amongst your friends/family. Staying at home to build those foundational relationships with your children/spouse/significant other by actively engaging them and spending quality time with them.

I say “seemingly” more fun because the negative consequences of living as if we are “of the world” far outweight the immediate good time. It’s fun for a moment but  can hold a hidden price tag that’s much larger than we ever intended to pay.

The world colors our living standard as boring. Dressing and behaving modestly as dull, behind the times, and lifeless. Spending time with family is overrated, a frustration, and requires an “outlet”. Listening to music that doesn’t glorify drugs, sex, and promiscuity isn’t as “necessary” as we make it out to be because it’s just fun music with a great beat and a catchy hook. Talking about your friends with other people without them present is to help you get a different perspective that can be used to help them with their issue, it’s interesting, and gives us something to talk about. The world makes these behaviors and outlets appear acceptable because they “understand you need a break”. Can you need a break? Yes. Does that break have to require you to abandon your beliefs? No.

Rather than seeing life’s circumstances as  “frustrations”, we should be viewing them as opportunities to show God’s grace and lovingkindness. If you notice, these worldly “accomodations” are selfishly motivated. The focus is always shifted to you. How YOU can be made to feel better. How YOU are being mistreated. How YOU deserve this or that. Putting you on a cycle to constantly dig, dig, dig for pleasures and things. Focusing on yourself distracts from your purpose – to serve other God & other people. Finding more and more ways to focus on yourself cannot satisfy the things you are truly looking for – love and acceptance. Two things you can find in Christ and only because of Him, through in the body of Christ.

If we as the body of Christ behaved more like Christ, we wouldn’t have to be so guarded with other Christians in fear of being betrayed, misused, or suffering from painful, broken relationships. We won’t have to be inticed to sin when going out with non-Christian/Christian friends. We don’t have to worry about not being accepted or condemed because we understand that we all sin & have the ability to commit the most heinous of sins. Acceptance despite of sin is should always at the forefront of every Christians mind because we are aware of how often and horribly we sin…. And, even more aware of Christ accepts and forgives us every time we sin.

The world of Christianity and the body of Christ should be the safest most accepting relationship we could ever be apart of.  It is a place where my brother or sister sees me falling and rushes to catch, reprove, and walk next to me as I become better in the grace and mercies of Christ. This body should be an attractive light that draws non – believers to ask “How are you able to deal with (fill in the blank) with such peace?”, “How can you still be friends with (fill in the blank) after s/he (fill in the blank)?”, “Why are you (fill in the blank)?”, “How can I get my children to (fill in the blank)?”, “How can I get my husband/wife to (fill in the blank)?”…. And, the answers should lie in our behavior. Not soley in our words. Forgiveness in it’s truest sense is a behavior. It’s forgiving others as Christ does – tossing our sins as far as the East is from the West, never bringing them up again and never treating us any different. Our behavior is a testament to how amazingly gracious and forgiving our God is. Not our words. Being slow to speak, quick to hear, and slow to anger in the face of frustration, difficulty, and stress lie in our behavior – not only in our words. Responding with grace, respect, love, and patience with selfish, mean, and evil -doers lies in our behavior.

These behaviors, this life is not for the faint at heart. It is not for those seeking popularity, instant gratification, or the acceptance of ALL – but for someone who is eager to live their life for the glory of God, to sacrifice and deny their wants to help their fellow Christian. For the one who is willing to see past themselves for the sake of others and our God.

It’s a life that is not easy but can be so full of joy, peace, and truly the most fullfilling relationships ever imagined. It’s worth it.

Because I know the freedom I have from the Law (First Testament law that DOES include the 10 Commandments) in Christ as a CHRISTIAN, I have the freedom to do as I wish. I depend on the Holy Spirit to convict my heart or excuse my behaviors. I have faith and trust that I will fullfill the law through faith in God. Not for fear of punishment. ((Ex: Because of my faith in/relationship with God, I treat others how God treats me. I work to treat my parents with patience, kindness, love because that’s how God treats me. The commandment of honoring them is met through faith in Christ with a pure heart and not following a Law with an attitude and malice.))

Pick a side.

…. here’s to Christian living with boldness and grace!

A couple of my favorite songs!!  🙂 ENJOY!!

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