Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Am I a "Christian"?

We throw the word around pretty freely. As a noun, an adjective, a way of life. But what I continually see is "Christian" and "Christianity" both ridiculed, misused, laughed at, wielded, toted, put on a pedestal, and also become weapons.

My pastor is working his way through the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation as he prepares to lead us into the book of Acts.
I am more than a bit anxious.

See I know we are currently not the church of Christ we are called to be. Because I am not the daughter of God I a called to be.
I soooo get that I am a work in progress, I get that more than you know.
What makes me anxious is the willingness I have or wont have when really put to the test in life - of truly saying I am willing to give myself completely over to the Spirit. Do I truly want to see what He may or may not call me to do, and who He may be asking me to be?
I know that this time will be a huge catalyst for some challenging things to consider as a body of believers and as individuals.
I hope we "Christians" are ready. Ready to see how much we have to change. Ready to experience either so much more of the Holy Spirit we will feel overcome by the weight of it, or ready to see it move on because we aren't willing to see our failure at being the bride we are.
Acts 20:30-31
Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!

I love my church and God's hand is on it without a doubt. But as my pastor has said many times, God can remove His hand of blessing too. And He will if we aren't willing to ditch the American label we have created of "Christianity" and become the church of Acts we are called to be - living and loving completely by and in the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:44-47 All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
What if it was our unity in love and life as believers of Christ that set us apart and not a label we have created?

What if we were so in tune to His Spirit, and loved and served one another so well that we needed no label of "Christianity"?
What if people weren't drawn to a "Christian" and our version of the drop in and drop out mission trip, our old school VBS mode of operation, our recipe for conversion that rarely includes the follow up of then actually doing life together, by our "Christian lingo", or the recited evangelism scriptures we have rehearsed time and time again that come with no previous real conversations, by the track handed out as we canvas neighborhoods only to retreat to our own where we never talk to our neighbors on either side - but they were drawn to being welcomed onto our front porches for friendship, that they were shown compassion through us just being real about our own lives, our own struggles, our own experience of being loved well by God because we decided that there was something to the freedom of living with and for a God willing to go to such lengths for us, by our true concern for human life around us, by our lack of judgement of them, by the fact we actually find reasons to respect them and their differences from us instead of "pitying" them - what if they were drawn to God by being loved by us because we honestly decide we are gonna love and see as He loves and sees?
What would happen if we approached a relationship without even using the word Christian, Christianity, redemption, repentance, judgement, or eternity - and instead we earned the right to eventually go there by loving them so well that they couldn't help but ask us out of an overwhelming curiosity to tell them what makes us different?
What if they didn't call us "Christians"?
What if they just called us "friends"?


Brooke said...

love this! In studying the new testament, especially Jesus's ministry, I can't help but notice that Jesus didn't seek after people or try to make the message attractive. people sought him. Something about his spirit made people want to pursue him - and I think part of it is that unconditional love that we're called to give others

Marisa Lykins said...

If I was as committed and engaged in my relationship with Him as I should be, my love for them would be so evident that if I just was out there and engaged they would seek out the difference!

ChristDisciple said...

I agree that the term "Christian" is used too loosely and has lost its appeal bc its been tarnished from its improper use. Sad to say that a study stated that "Christians" are the reason why there are so many atheists. We take our pride in our label and think we get a pass to tell ppl like its suppose to be, but we really are just passing judgement and we have the same habits we tell ppl to turn away from or worse. I found out that being a Christ Follower(disciple) is the way to understanding how Jesus wants us to follow His footsteps. He came here for that reason and that's to be our guide on how to live in love(which is God). That's why Jesus said the commandments are summed up in Love God with all heart, mind, soul and the second is Love ur neighbor. Also accepting this life of love is to give up what we think we are to do and I have had the reality check bc I walked away from my career to walk in ministry. No income and a wife, four kids and I was told to live on pure faith. And more interesting I have been called to this, I didn't choose this but in ppl who call themselves Christians have hurt me more than any other. I don't run a church bc I am the church Jesus said, so I am being built up in study, prayer, fasting to be able to do this ministry set for me from the creation of the world. Faith and love is the key and once ppl of true following speak that we are bashed bc its not socially accepted to give up what they've worked so hard to attain or live on an in faith as Jesus disciples. He took care of them as they went out and bc they were told to do so. That relinquishes control of everything and some ppl cannot do that bc its turns to sole dependancy on God. Lets live the life we are called to live according to our calling. (Eph. 4:1) God loves us "so" much to call us, we can at least answer and do as we are called. Also u conditional love brings the big guns out from satan bc he wants to break us from seeking after what unconditional love is and ppl are r wrappped up in this "no drama" society. Sorry I need to stop bc ill start having church on this blog, I love talking about my Lord. Great post and I have been saying this for some time but its a hard topic for a lot, so its a blessing to my heart n confirmation.

Amy said...

I have been talking about this idea alot at school lately ... pondering if we were to remove "Christian" from the middle of our sign, our logo, our name ... would people still walk down our hallways and be able to identify us as followers of Christ. Which in my own heart has caused me to wonder if people walked into my life without my Northstar sticker on my car or my Christian fish or my Praise and Worship music stations tagged ... would people recognize me as a follower of Christ ... what if they simply walked into my conversation at Panera, picked up my phone and read my texts or overheard the way I spoke to my husband last night ... what would they see?? I have been convicted to look not so closely at what I display proudly for the public but that which I try to keep in the shadows.

Marisa Lykins said...

I know Amy - me too... been considering how we do life alongside those around us who are in need of Jesus but are turned off my the cliche we have made it all. That's why I put the Christian tshirt on there - I just think we make then run the other way most of the time.
We say its about a relationship but we want then to meet Jesus on our terms and in waysw that makes US comfortable.
I think I need to be very uncomfortable :)