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hi sweet friend
It is time to put Christ back in “Christian”.
Let me preface this by saying that I say all of these things as much to myself as anyone else. And, typically by the time I actually put words to paper (or keyboard in this case) to be posted, it’s after a lot of wrestling with God about it. Aka: He tells me to share what He has laid on my heart, I fight Him about it for days, weeks, months, and in some cases years. Giving Him all the reasons I don’t want to (they all boil down to fear, tbh) until He stirs it up so much in me I have to say something.
It’s been just over a month since Christmas and a popular phrase you’ll hear during that time is to “put Christ back in ‘Christmas’”. It’s a good phrase and I understand that Christmas has become far too commercialized. But what about the other 11 months out of the year?
We have been told for so long to stay in our own lanes… To run our race, to do our thing, to look out for number 1. Sounds good in theory, I guess. But I happen to vehemently disagree with this piece of advice.
It’s time to take off our blinders and see the needs of our brothers and sisters in the lanes next to us. And, if you take your blinders off and you don’t see someone in need next to you, you’re not looking hard enough.
There is no shortage of people hurting in the world.
As Christians, it is time to put Christ back in Christian.
As Christians, our lives should be spent DAILY trying to become more like Him and to make His name known.
Who is the “Him” that we should be more like?
The one that spent more time with the sinful, sick, outcasted, broken people than the royal and self-righteous.
The one that was equal parts truth and love. Who never condoned sin, but never condemned anyone for it either. Who used love, compassion, grace, and forgiveness to bring people to Him.
The one that forgave the adulterer, took up tax collectors as His disciples, broke bread with the broken, healed the hurting, and showed compassion to the murderer.
The one that called each of us to do the same. To look after our brothers and sisters in Christ. To speak up for those who don’t have a voice. To care for orphans and widows in their distress. To spend more time focused on eternity than this world. To work with urgency to spread the Gospel to the nations. To count others as more than self.
We, as Christians, have got to do better.
We have to look past politics and see people.
We need communities built up with neighbors helping neighbors. Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as our self. When was the last time you willingly let yourself go hungry, cold, homeless, or without basic essential needs? I’m guessing never. Love our neighbor AS.WE.LOVE.OURSELVES. As we work hard to provide for ourselves, to take care of ourselves, to take care of our families… we do the same for our neighbors. When Jesus was answering this question and was asked who a neighbor was (ya know… because in human fashion, the man asking wanted to know exactly who he needed to love, and what minimum requirements he needed to meet), Jesus flipped it on him. Jesus didn’t specify or define “neighbor” in terms of geography; instead He defined what it means to be neighborly.
We need marriages that are on a mission. Christians who desire marriage more for purpose than fleeting passion. Esteeming, building up, respecting, loving one another while strengthening one another’s God-given abilities in order that they may together fulfill His calling. People who look at purpose more than outward appearance, in full reverence and submission to God’s calling and direction. Marriages that magnify the majesty of our maker; marriages intent on making one another holier, not happier. Marriages that beautifully exemplify the way Christ loved the church and that show the world what unconditional love, service, grace, forgiveness, compassion, and selflessness within a relationship really looks like. As Christ died to the church, so should we die to self each day, even (if not especially) within marriages. Partnerships that strengthen purpose. Men leading wives well, wives joyfully submitting to their husbands. I know the word “submitting/submission” gets a bad reputation; however, when we think about it, it’s no different than the relationship between Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father. All are equal in importance, all working toward one mission, yet the Holy Spirit and Jesus both joyfully submitting to God the Father, knowing how much He loves and desires good for them. Jesus submitted to God’s direction all the way to the cross. If Jesus, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, can joyfully submit, who are we not to?Marriages with both men and women joyfully submitting. Men submitting to God the Father, obedient to following who God calls men to be as husbands, and wives joyfully submitting to their husbands in Christian unity. When done properly and when marriages are on mission, it’s one of the most beautiful Biblical representations of what it means to be a Christian.
We need Christians to stand up for our children. We need Christians to call for better education systems so that no matter a child’s socioeconomic status, each child believes that they can and will be able to get a college degree. This hope for a future, the belief that they are worthy of the many opportunities this world has to offer, will have a profound impact on our school drop-out rates. We need school systems in place in every neighborhood that will equip and empower our children for higher education. I have said it before and I will say it again; lack of access to quality education is the underlying factor in the majority of our country’s problems. If Christians are called to look after one another, called to love others as we love ourselves, and called to take care of our children, then we must fight for better education systems for ALL of our children, no matter their family history or socioeconomic background.
Did you know that the way we determine the size of our prisons is based on third grade reading levels?
Let that sink in for a moment.
If we think these problems aren’t our problems, then we are sadly mistaken. If we all keep waiting on someone else to fix it, who ever will? We, as Christians, should be leading this charge.
We need Christian communities that have the mentality that it truly takes a village. That will step in and help look after children if a single parent is having to work multiple jobs to provide for their family. We need to call for our governments to invest in the adoption process, foster care systems, and after-school programs to keep children off the streets. To invest in them. To show them that their lives matter. To show them that they are loved. To show them that they have value – that not just one person, but all people believe in them.
We need Christians who show compassion, grace, and empathy. Who lovingly accept and embrace the teenage girl who got pregnant (no matter what the circumstance) and is now considering an abortion because of shame. Abortion has been a heavy topic this past week and for obvious reasons. I know that there are a multitude of reasons why a woman may feel the need or desire for an abortion and my heart aches for any woman who finds herself in that situation. Christian brothers and sisters: let us work diligently to ensure that no abortion ever comes as a direct result of a woman feeling shame, no matter what her individual situation is. Shame is a feeling we were never supposed to know (Genesis 2:25). Lest we forget: all fall short of the glory of God. All have sinned. ALL sins are equal (I’ll repeat that for the people in the back: ALL sins are equal in the eyes of the Lord). Yet, all of us are forgiven. Each and every one of us. Each person we encounter is someone who God thought worthy to send His son to the cross for, even while we were still sinners and well before you and I were on this earth.
We need Christians who call for better sex education in our schools as well as better resources, and options for anyone considering an abortion. If we are to be pro-life, then we are to work diligently to not only provide better resources to prevent abortion altogether, but we need to be advocating for better systems in place for children who were born but were unwanted. Children without parents who love them. Children who will grow up without hope for a future so they leave school far too early. Children who are neglected and abandoned and stuck in a system that oftentimes perpetuates abuse, neglect, and harm. Not in all situations, but even one situation is one too many. These children are our children. They deserve to know that they are loved, to have someone tell them that they are worthy, to have someone love them the way Jesus loves the little children – ALL God’s children. As co-heirs with Christ who have been adopted into His family of Christians, we are called to look after orphans and widows in their distress, as a foundational Christian principle. Not because we are rescuers, but because we have been rescued.
We need to break the cycle, friends. It starts with us.
We have a responsibility as Christians to look after the poor, the unwanted, the unloved, the sinners and the saints. This is not a radical way of doing Christianity. This is Biblical. It is the way of doing Christianity. Serving the poor and helping others in extreme ways is not reserved for the “spiritually mature”.
This is basic Christianity. This is what it means to BE a Christian.
In fact, on more than one occasion scripture makes it perfectly clear that when we are giving to others, we are giving to Christ Himself; when we take care of the suffering, the hurting, the poor, we are taking care of Christ Himself, as one body of Christ. Additionally, it makes it very clear that if we see others who are in need and do not help them, we cannot claim to love Christ. I don’t know about you, but when that sinks in it changes everything.
Just a few of the places you can reference: Matthew 25:35-45, Luke 3:10-11, 1 John 3:17, Proverbs 14:31, Proverbs 19:17, Proverbs 28:27, Isaiah 58: 6-11, Luke 10:25-37, Deuteronomy 15: 11, Hebrews 13:16, John 15:12, John 15:13, Matthew 5:42, Matthew 10:8, Philippians 2:4, Proverbs 19:17, Proverbs 22:9, Romans 15:1, 1 John 4:19-20, 1 Corinthians 10:24, Romans 12:13,
We need Christians who don’t judge those who are different than them, no matter race, gender, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, politic beliefs, past failures or mistakes, or the many other things we use to judge others and keep them at a “safe” distance because they’re “different”. You won’t find a group of people more “different” than the men Jesus chose to surround Himself with as His disciples. Yet, he chose to surround Himself with them anyway, knowing that He came to heal the sick, not the well. It is our responsibility to do the same, and through the same love, compassion, grace, and truth He did. Our job, as Christians, is to love others to Christ. Bottom line. Yes, there is a time and a place to speak truth into someone’s life if they have gone astray, but we do so based on how the Bible teaches us to following very specific instruction. We love because Christ loved us. Start with love and praying for the power of the Holy Spirit to intercede, guide, and direct.
We have to look past the things that separate us, and look at the one thing that unites all of us: God deemed each and every one of us as worthy of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of His SON, Jesus. Just think about that for a moment and what it would be like to send your child to die for people whom you knew would still go against you? Who would take their salvation for granted? He did it anyway. No matter our differences, every single one of us on this Earth has that in common. Let’s start acting like it.
We need churches that use Sunday mornings as the half-time huddle. Who use Sunday mornings as a place for believers to get educated, motivated, and rejuvenated to go back out onto the battlefield after a week of waging all-out war against the enemy. (I know some people may not believe in spiritual warfare but it is real. There is an enemy that is coming after our hearts, our minds, our souls, our lives, our marriages, our families, our relationships, our time, energy, money, resources and talents.)
It is time for the Church to get out of our routines of only going to our pretty buildings on Sunday mornings and to get out and setup base camp a yard outside of the gates of hell, not letting the enemy gain another inch. It is time for our churches to get past the “feel goods” and simple sermons with simple truths with minimal scripture sprinkled throughout and to start calling for warriors and preparing soldiers for the Kingdom to go to the battlefield ready to fight alongside legions of Angel armies. It is time we stop shying away from this truth and the topics that are difficult to discuss on Sunday mornings and start equipping our brothers and sisters in Christ for this battle. This battle has eternal consequences for all of us. It is our responsibility to share the gospel with the world. The great commission was Jesus’s final commandment for us. Don’t you think He would save His most important calling for our lives as His parting words? If so, then we need to treat this commission as seriously as it is and with full understanding of the eternal consequences it has. We need to fight the enemy with our prayers, actions, and convictions. We possess life-saving Truth in our hands and the longer we shy away from sharing this Truth with others who do not know, the greater the stakes are – for both their lives as unbelievers and our lives as believers. How we live this one life, what we choose to do with the knowledge of the resurrection and the gift of salvation that we have been given has eternal consequences.
It is time we do better. It is time we wake up. It is time we joyfully give to others the way we are called to do. It is time we put others above self, politics, opinions.
Jesus said to love our neighbors as self. There is no asterisk there with any kind of conditional requirements or excuses. Love our neighbor as ourselves. Get out of our lanes. Get out on the streets and take care of one another. Fight for the good of each other and stop fighting with each other.
We are exactly where the enemy wants us:
…So caught up in politics and what we disagree over that we cannot see that each of us is a precious child of God, whom He deemed worthy of salvation and redemption; people who have more in common with one another than not.
… So caught up in “looking out for number 1” that we forget that Jesus made it very clear when He said that the last will be first and the first will be last.
… So caught up in mindless scrolling and activities that we are wasting precious time.
… So caught up in our phones that we neglect face-to-face fellowship with one another.
… So caught up in striving for more, more, and more to achieve the “American Dream” (whatever that is) that we forget that we are to be storing up our treasures in Heaven.
Everything on this earth will fade away. What won’t fade away are the lives that come to Christ because we shared our resources, our love, our grace, our forgiveness, and our compassion with everyone around us. Not just the people that we just happen to come across… but that we ACTIVELY seek out ways to help others, that we actively choose to go to places that may be uncomfortable so that we can share Christ with the world, that we actively choose to spend time with people who are different than us so that we can better understand, empathize, and care for one another. I’m afraid that we as a country are exactly where the enemy wants us to be. It is time we fight to put who Christ was and is back into what it means to be a Christian and send the enemy retreating.
How can we define ourselves as Christians, if we aren’t daily striving to make our lives look like Christ’s? To be the hands and feet of Jesus? He gave us a roadmap and a playbook on how to live this life on earth. Let’s take down our blinders and start using it. As Christians we have been shown unconditional love, grace, compassion, and forgiveness.
People who have experienced extreme love love extremely.
People who have been freely forgiven forgive freely.
People who have been shown life-changing mercy give mercy that changes lives.
People who have been blessed with much bless much.
Sweet friend, what an awesome and beautiful opportunity we have to love others like Christ has loved us.
There is no shortage of hurting people in this world. How blessed are we that we can be the ones to show hurting people the image of Christ, the beauty of His love, and the power of His resurrection?
We get to be His hands and feet.
What a gift that is. What an honor it is. What a privilege.
I can think of no greater accomplishment, title, or position than to have the chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus while on this side of eternity.
How sad would it be to waste such a precious gift during this short life we get to live?
**I know that some of this may be generalizing a large population group and that there are many Christians, churches, communities, and families already working toward this end, already loving and taking care of one another. I don’t intend to oversimplify or overgeneralize, but in my heart-of-hearts, I believe that collectively we could all be doing better, myself included. We should be setting an example, leading others the way Christ did, and always, always, always striving to be more like Him.
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