I do not claim to be religious or legalistic. I am a Jesus-follower, as simple as that. I believe that God created the universe, sent His beloved Son to take on the sin of the world, die on a cross so that everyone can have the opportunity of freedom and salvation, and rise again to be with His Father. I believe I am empowered and equipped with the Holy Spirit, who not only prays on my behalf, but enables me to do all the things I’m called to do that I cannot do on my own. I believe that believers everywhere have two main goals: to worship and bring glory and renown to His name, and to share the message of hope and salvation through Christ until the day He returns for us believers!
It’s important for me to lay out my foundation of beliefs before I say what I need to say. I’m also in recovery for eating disorders, addiction, and so on… I have made so many mistakes in my life, most I don’t regret as they led me to a place where I met Jesus. But after I entered into a relationship with Him, there were definitely choices I didn’t have to be making. I really wish that I had seen in others, had more examples of what a true relationship with Christ was. What I saw mostly, besides my family, was the cultural face of Christianity.
I would never want others to be mislead on some issues how I was, so I just want to share my opinion on this. Also- this is not everyone, just a large portion of Christians. I am seeing this more and more and it is so frustrating! Christianity currently, in students and adults, does not collectively look like a life on fire with the passion and pursuit of sharing the gospel, or even compassionate people loving on the people that are hurting.
Being a Christian looks like NOTHING. When you compare followers of Jesus with other people in the world, what is different? So many people drink and walk that line between being social and being drunk… I know more non-Christians that don’t drink because they see there are no benefits (1 Peter 5:8-9). Smoking weed and popping pills are another similarity that should be a dividing point- who are Christians to not only indulge in illegal drug use, but also to potentially lead others into an addiction? Pre-marital sex, profanity, gambling, gossiping, are all just parts of life for the Christian today. Because the Bible is apparently “grey” in cultural matters…
Obviously, I am not perfect. But I get so frustrated with the non-existent Christian life because it is leading people away from God! For so many years I saw this hypocrisy in the church and wouldn’t have anything to do with it! It is only when I saw that in reality, it was about a relationship between me and God, that I surrendered. The first year of that surrender, though, I was still living like the world, because that is all I knew until I actually opened up Scripture and started studying who this Heavenly person actually was.
First, I realized that the verse that everyone quotes to keep on with their drinking, their sleeping around, their partying… they leave out the second half of it and completely ignore the context! I mean, I was all about “living in freedom”, doing what I wanted to, until I saw there was more to the story. 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 says, “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” The Message translation says, “Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. You know the old saying, ‘First you eat to live, and then you live to eat’? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body!”
Whoa… I was just stunned at how clear that is! Also- freedom in Christ does not mean living by our own sinful, selfish desires; those desires actually enslave us! Living for Christ DOES set us free, but not in the way so many people think! The things of this world enslave us when we act out on them because of our “freedom”… obedience to Christ does not mean less freedom or legalism, it means the ultimate freedom because we are not tied down to or dependent on this temporary place (Galatians 5:1)!
I have learned that the things of this world only lead to distance or separation between me and God. I hate the times I do fall or get distracted and don’t feel as close to my Creator. Through the process of growing in my relationship with Christ and continually praying and asking for discernment, I have learned to look at each situation in a particular way. I ask God, ” Does this glorify You or take the focus off of my relationship with You? Could this lead someone to not want a relationship with You?”
Believe it or not, simply seeking God whole-heartedly and asking those questions has slowly changed my thoughts and desires immensely. I would honestly say that my life has changed the most, not by cutting out drugs, but between my first year in a relationship with God until now. I don’t say all this to be judgmental or self-righteous, I say it because it is what I needed to know a couple of years ago. I don’t want people listening to the lies of the world, the lies of the complacent Christians. I believe complacency comes from putting space into a relationship with God.
My journey with God has been an such and up and down adventure, but I still need Him more than ever! I think the more of the world that comes between a person and God, the less He is needed or felt by them. But God… His grace is sufficient and made perfect in our weaknesses. I’m so thankful that every time I fall, He picks me up. Every time I get it wrong, He leads me into right living. I am more concerned with sharing the Word over not offending others, because we don’t know if we even are guaranteed tomorrow, but I do pray you read this and know it is from a place of love and from what I have been learning.
Living for Christ instead of earthly desires is a radical life. But I can tell you that from the short time I have been living it, He keeps showing me Himself and my purpose in Him. The most fulfilling experience is in serving God. It’s hard to explain, but while I am completely content in my identity and relationship with Christ, I’m also so hungry for more and opportunities to do for Him. It’s crazy amazing and I can’t wait to see where else He takes me!
41-48 Let your love, God, shape my life
with salvation, exactly as you promised;
Then I’ll be able to stand up to mockery
because I trusted your Word.
Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever—
your commandments are what I depend on.
Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me,
guard it now, guard it ever;
And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces
as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
Then I’ll tell the world what I find,
speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.
I cherish your commandments—oh, how I love them!—
relishing every fragment of your counsel.