WHY WOULD OTHERS BELIEVE I’M A CHRISTIAN?
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17
I’m holding my breath while writing this. I’m realizing that an unbeliever may call me a Christian for all the wrong reasons. And if they do, legalism (the thing which has hurt me and the thing I despise) is still a part of me. So how do others perceive me?
- Am I known for what I don’t do?
- Am I known for being out of touch with what’s happening in the world?
- Am I known for being disgusted by our times and intolerant of those captive to sin?
- Do I look so peculiar by the way I dress and wear my hair that I become a joke to anyone in the mainstream?
- Am I perceived as someone who is ‘against’ a litany of things?
These should not be the things that define my Christianity. Paul gives a different list. It’s not a long one. There are only three things on it.
- Righteousness is my theme. Not self-righteousness but the exhilarating message that Jesus offered to wash me clean of all of my sins. I have a clean slate. I am not plagued by my past. His beautiful robe of righteousness is around my shoulders and my sin no longer defines me. He died for everything I’ve ever done as if He were the one who committed it.
- Peace is my theme. Not peacemaking as in running from all conflict. Peace with God is the message I bring to those in self-hatred, self-condemnation, and inner torment. For each person who is afraid to be alone with himself; afraid of the silence, afraid of hearing God in prayer, the message that Jesus is my peace is one that I bring to him, by example. Do others enjoy resting in my shade or do I bring conflict?
- Joy is my theme. The Spirit of God is large in my life. I have allowed Him to transform me by believing that I’m forgiven and that I have peace with God. Gratitude and joy are the result.
What am I known for? “Yes, she’s a Christian because….” The themes of my life will be what others recite when attempting to answer that question. How deeply I’ve been forgiven, how relieved I am that my relationship with God is peaceful, and how joyful I am over both of those things are the VERY things that make anyone’s faith contagious. When my witness begins with, “I love Jesus so much because…” then I’m on the right track. The rest of it won’t sound like I’m running for office.
Boasting of You. That’s it entirely. Amen