In recent days I am frequently made conscious of things we Christians say, some of us are old, some of us are middle age, and some of us just beginning our families – but all in different phases of life. Although the life situations are different, the way we view ourselves and the way we view God is how we will interpret the things we go through.
For example, the unbeliever who prays in a crisis, “God if you are real, please don’t let my loved one die.” They decide to pray now when they never have before, because they hope God is real and will help them. Why now, you ask? Because they realize they can do nothing about the situation they are in. So it’s a place of giving up, hoping God can come through.
And yet, I see myself, a Christian, doing this very same thing. I can live my life as if I am in control, and then when things happen and spin out of control, then I ask for God’s help. Really, to know God is real and believe in Him and yet live my life as if I am ok without God’s help is insanity. So everyday I need to be reminded that I am not in control, that God is working in every detail of my life. Jesus, help my unbelief, because as a Christian I will live life as an unbeliever if the Holy Spirit doesn’t remind me of God’s love poured out for me in Christ, and that I am His dearly loved child every second, when I am living out of His love or the times when I try to do my own thing forgetting what He has done.
Here’s another one: He/She does that because they are not believers!
Actually, I do the same things that unbelievers do. I do that because I am a sinner. I am manipulative, I get jealous, I ignore people, I get angry, I am mean, I make people feel guilty, I am defensive, I am selfish and prideful, and I really like to be comfortable! Some of these things about myself are very obvious to my family, but the rest of my friends they aren’t as obvious because I try to hide behind my Christianity and try to be a good example. But the beautiful thing about God’s grace pouring over me in recent years and days is that the Holy Spirit is showing me my crap, my hidden motives and agendas and really the darkness of my heart. But then, because I have no doubt of how God sees me in Christ, I can give him my sin, because I know I am forgiven. The desire that God is prompting in my heart is that I can keep seeing my sin more and more and the Comforter just pours His compassion over me again and again.
How about this phrase: She/he is a strong Christian.
When I used to say that or hear it I always thought that meant a person who had really put God first, surrendered their life totally, was well on their way to sinning less, was a great role model, always was praising God, witnessed well, was nice to their neighbor and basically obeyed the 10 commandments. For me, this phrase just gives a picture of a competent person who is strong in their faith. Maybe its just phraseology, but for me the role models I want in the Christian faith are those who know they need a Savior moment by moment. Not one who says: do this checklist, follow these rules, and you will be a good Christian. But one who says, Jesus has done everything perfectly on my behalf, he lived the sinless life I never could, died the death I deserved, and rose again to give me life I didn’t deserve. That person, who knows they are weak and dependent on another’s life to save them, thats the one I want to hang out with. I want to be one who points another to Jesus’ life, not to my life and me trying to get better.
So to bring this all together, we are all partly unbelievers til the day we die (Tullian T.), and none of us are good Christians because Jesus is the only perfect one. So when we think we are better than an unbeliever or a fellow Christian, look again to Jesus, and remember Christ came to save sinners, you and me!