by Gray Graham
The word Christian means to profess to believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ to stride to be Christ-like. It is a word that is used by the majority of Americans to identify their religious faith and moral character. Most people who identify as Christian make sure to proudly state it with many going so far as to scream it from the rooftops. People that identify as a Christian, generally want to make sure it is known that they are a Christian, but what does it actually mean to be a Christian? If you simply call yourself a Christian does that mean you live your life in a way that is Christ-like?
Usually the first thing a non-Christian will tell you about a professed Christian is that they don’t appear to be very Christ-like to them. You see even if you are not a Christian, chances are you still honor and respect Jesus Christ and his teachings. Non-Christians see the love of people in everything that Jesus did so that is something they can support. When you actually take the time to talk to non-Christians you will soon find out that their issue isn’t with Jesus Christ but with Christians. If you know history then it is easy to see why.
People who have identified as a Christian have committed some of the most evil, heinous acts human beings have ever known. They have annihilated entire civilizations. They have enslaved other humans treating them like they were less than animals. They have treated people like disgusting trash, and stolen fortunes all in the name of Jesus. Even today you have people that take money from the poor, molest children, sexually assault people, worship guns and weapons to kill, as well as cover up all kinds of crimes in the name of Jesus. Are we to believe that these people are living in a way that is trying to be Christ-like?
Jesus clearly addresses people that use his name in vain as well as evil people that do horrible acts in his name, God will take care of them one day. In the meantime we should carry on with our service to God. Now that doesn’t give much comfort to a lot of people, especially non-believers. People want a sense of justice or what they perceive to be fairness. They want evil people to pay for their sins.
What we forget is that God is the only being in Heaven and on earth that decides what is right and what is wrong. While there are people that are evil and do evil things, we don’t know where they will be at the end of their lives. It is possible that at some point before their life ends that they will find God and repent for their sins. They may be saved and accept Jesus Christ as their savior. This is something that so many people forget.
The thing about trying to be like Jesus is that it is completely different than trying to be what we think of as good. Being like Jesus is to sit down at a table and eat with someone that you know is going to betray you. It is to remain peaceful when your enemies are trying to kill you. To be like Jesus is to challenge the people of the church and let them know that what they are doing in the church is not serving God and is not helping His people. It is to take care of the saved and sinners alike equally for we all fall short of the glory of God.
The thing that so many people today forget about Jesus is to be humble. Humble today is a dirty word. I see all the time people profess that they are not going to be humble and you shouldn’t either. People are focused on themselves today and not much else. Many have been beaten down so much and told they are worthless that they feel a need to prove that they are not.
Jesus had to endure the same thing. He was a Jewish man under the rule of the Roman Empire. He was from a place that many considered to be beneath upper society. Nothing good came from there. Jesus was mocked and ridiculed up to his death. He had all the power in Heaven and on earth, but did not use it to save himself. He sacrificed his life for all people so that they could reach Heaven. Jesus not only did this but in the moment he also took the time to save someone that asked for forgiveness at the end of their life.
The thing people completely miss when it comes to being like Jesus is that it means you start being less like you and the people you see in the world. You start caring more about people and less about things. You are not moved by money, fame, and power. You are moved by telling people about God. You love being in the presence of your family and friends, not just people that are going to help you make your next business deal. Sharing the love of God is your joy not being consumed by worldly things.
We all need to be more like Jesus. We need to learn how to love all people. We need to learn how to correct people that are doing wrong. We need to be willing to sacrifice for others. These are the things that Jesus taught and people have forgotten especially those that call themselves Christians.
In the end it doesn’t matter what you call yourself. You can call yourself Christian, religious, spiritual, atheist, agnostic, or whatever label you wish to give your moral philosophy. One day God is going to tell you what you are and that is the only thing that matters. It will be at that moment you will find out if you truly followed the teachings of Jesus Christ and served the Lord.
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