“No, I’m Not Interested.”
I would suspect that a reason why people leave or reject Christianity is because of how they perceive it playing out in real life. For example, they witness their “Christian” father verbally abusing their mom constantly. They see their “Christian” friend partying hard on Saturday night – doing things they wouldn’t dream of. They see their “Christian” pastor’s arrogant and demeaning comments on social media. The list can go on of experiences where “Christian” people do very unchristian things.
So, I get it. Who would be interested in remaining in or joining a group of people who claim to know and love God, yet live lives that contradict that? I wouldn’t be!
A Universal Truth
Consider the fact that everything we do in life is based upon our beliefs – whether we know it or not. Our behaviours are the direct result of what we believe. The reason for every thought, action, and word we produce can be traced back to a belief we have. And much of the time this happens automatically. We don’t always mentally think about what we believe before everything we do, but everything we do still has a belief attached to it.
Now, often times the beliefs we say we have contradict our actions. For example, I may say, “I believe in supporting local businesses and seeing them thrive!” and yet I’m caught shopping at a big corporation and eating from a worldwide fast-food chain. What’s revealed is that even though I said I believed in one thing, my actions proved otherwise.
Once when referring to a group of religious leaders, Jesus said, “For they preach, but do not practice.” (Matthew 23:3) He was rightly accusing them of living hypocritically – they were preaching the truth, then living a lie. This should cause us to think of both our beliefs and behaviours.
Ask yourself, what do I say I believe and how does that impact my behaviour? What beliefs are revealed that are based on my words, thoughts, and actions?
This kind of self-reflection is important and humbling. Everyone will have to admit that they’ve held to certain beliefs that they’ve then contradicted by their behaviours.
How You Can Know You’re a Christian
If you’re a professing Christian, then think carefully on this. You’re not a Christian because you say you believe in Jesus, but you’re a Christian because your behaviours prove your belief in Jesus. In other words, it’s not the faith you say you have that counts, but rather the works-producing faith that counts.
I don’t know about you, but as a professing Christian, I don’t want to be in the group of people that Jesus says won’t enter the kingdom of heaven even though they said, “Lord, Lord.” (Matthew 7:21) I also don’t want to be a reason for someone leaving or rejecting the Christian faith because of my contradictory behaviour. I want my genuine belief in Jesus to show itself in a Jesus-like life.
Reject “Christianity” and Affirm Christianity
So, let’s reject the “Christianity” that says it believes the truth then lives in contradiction (a massive turn-off for unbelievers), and affirm the genuine Christianity that’s marked by followers of Jesus who prove their beliefs by their holy behaviour.
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