Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Problem With Christians

One of the biggest problems the world has with Christians is that they don't look very much like Christ. That bothers me. Not that the world thinks that of us...that it's true. But I have to ask I guilty of looking no different than the rest of the world? What does it look like to "look like" Christ? What is the most defining characteristic of Jesus? What would make us look most like Him?

What do you think of when you think of what it means to be Christlike? I think some Christians believe it means living by what they consider a "higher standard". Don't smoke, don't chew, don't go with girls who do. Tithe generously. Dress modestly. Attend church regularly. And, can I say it, vote the right way.

Recently I was at a women's event at our church and out of nowhere, and completely having nothing to do with the speaker, I heard the voice of God in my heart.

"You've been sliding by for a while now. You've been getting away with some things you know you need to repent of. I'll not allow it much longer. I love you too much. There are those who are watching to see what you will do and they will follow suit. So, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. One of your favorite verses is Daniel 10:12 'Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.' My dear have set your mind to gain understanding...but you have not yet humbled yourself. It's up to you. You can humble yourself, or I will humble you."

Whoa. Seriously. I was a little scared. I could feel it coming. Something was brewing and I needed to take a good long look at my life. I had to ask myself, "What does it mean to humble yourself?" Here's the dictionary definition of the verb humble:

1. to lower in condition, importance, or dignity; abase.
2. to destroy the independence, power, or will of
3. to make meek

I'll just say it...I like to be right. I like to get my way. I often feel very justified in my bitterness. And you might even agree with me if I explained in detail. I can be very convincing. But if I refuse to humble myself...will I be different? Is it Christlike? Am I making choices that would cause the nonbeliever to say, "How does she do that?" or "I want what she's got." I don't think so. I felt the loving conviction of knowing that God had His best in mind for me but I was often choosing something else, something less.

Can I make the case that the one thing Christians can do to most look like Christ would be to humble ourselves? Christ was the picture of love, of justice, of forgiveness, but think about how huge this one truth is...God, the sovereign GOD of the universe, the creator of all things, the one and only, all powerful, perfectly just, almighty God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (who owes us nothing but hell by the way) humbled himself and became a man of all things. And then he died in our place, taking on the full penalty for our sin against him, just so we could spend eternity in heaven. Does any other religion have a God that would do that for you?

Growing up, I often chose to learn things the hard way. And I sense he's giving me the choice again. "Humble yourself, or I will humble you." Today in church, he gave me a new verse that articulates it perfectly.

But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
1 Corinthians 11:31-32

I'll be honest. God's given me some pretty specific direction regarding what this will look like in my life. And it isn't going to be easy. But it will bring Him glory. It will point to Him because it will look so unlike Tracy. I'll leave you with this.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8


Steve said...

Great post, Tracy. I agree on so many levels.

Especially about the wanting to be right; liking to be right, and needing to be humbled.

Thanks for that.

Gigi and Grandy in Katy said...

I'm right there with you, Sister. I feel the Lord teaching me so much lately. I have the urgency to listen and obey. The humble part is key and I pray both you and I will be able to hear his voice. Not for our glory (Isn't she the greatest Christian woman?) but for His and His alone.

Glad you're writing again!

Missy Herrington said...

You NEVER fail to teach me something! I spoke at our Women's retreat this weekend to about 35 women and I have to say that most of what I spoke about had something in it that you taught me. So I thank God for you and I can't wait to see what you can teach me through this next venture with Him.


P.S. I know I've been terrible about keeping in touch but please know you guys are never far from my thoughts!

Montee said...

I find that Christians who do just so, dress just so and want to appear as what people would view as the "perfect Christian" are the most hypocritical. No one is perfect and as Phillip told one of his young players who felt he needed to be, "If you were perfect, Freddie, you would be hanging from a cross." I believe we should, as Christians, do the best we can to be Christlike without acting like we are arrogant about it. Christians need to show that we fail, it is how we handle that failure that will truly show what Christ does for us. How we handle situations is a greater witness to others than arrogance, being judgemental or thinking we are more perfect. Great blog, as usual. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Good post Tracy!! Thanks for sharing! Saying prayers for you now...

Anonymous said...

So, how are you doing?? Been thinking about you a lot lately and praying for you too!!

Lynn Bonfils said...

Tracy, I know that you are growing closer to the Lord, being humble is a step. I have to pray continually that the Lord will keep me humble. It is so easy to think I can do things on my own. A book I would recommed "What is so Amazing About Grace" by Philip Yancy. This deals with another area that Christians need to do some self-analysis. Your a beautiful child of God. May he bless you abundently.