No one is perfect except the God we serve. Our walk with Christ should exemplify His Love with Love and good works. As Christians, we are target for slander, gossip, and ridicule. The world is our enemy. Skeptics, nonbelievers, and even our own brethren await for us to mess up and thus bring shame to the Name of God. We cannot focus on them, rather we must focus on God and how we Show Jesus in our lives.
Here are some things we all need to work on. Don’t fret if you are guilty of any of these things, remember we are not made to be perfect but rather to serve a perfect, loving God. What’s important is that we all must try to improve.
1. Religion Vs. Relationship
This is the most prevalent mistake Christians make. When we choose to have a religion instead of a relationship with Our Creator the result is detachment, misunderstanding of God’s love, lack of commitment or forced commitment. Religion is man-made and ritualistic. Christians who have a religion with God simply go to church, participate in some Church events, may make standard, repeated prayers, or speak to God only when they need Him.
These Christians are in some ways like the Pharisees. Image is everything; those who aim to uphold an image of righteousness instead of coming to terms with their unrighteousness will be told “I don’t know you,” by Jesus Christ. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted,” Luke 18:14. Here is a video by 17 year old, Emmanuel Garcia on Religion vs. Relationship
You can have a more fruitful walk by having a relationship with God. This relationship should be intimate, as intimate as your relationship with your best friend, and as respectful since you are speaking to the Creator of the Universe. [Click here to read about tips to improve your relationship with God.]
2. Not Living in Love.
To live in love means you emanate it, it oozes off of you and splashes onto those you interact with. I could give you over one hundred verses on love to exemplify this, but what good will it do unless you actually BELIEVE them, UNDERSTAND them, and USE them? You already know Jesus came into the world with Love and left out of Love.
Everything was done with Love. Consequently, since we are to emulate Our Savior, everything WE do must be done with Love. You may say it’s easier said than done; the answer is to fix your perspective. “Easier said than done,” means you’re looking at the trial, difficulty level, and who you don’t want to show love to (especially since it requires forgiving them). Instead, look to God. “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Col. 3:17) “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Col. 3:23) Fix your eyes not on the trial, on other people, and your own abilities but rather on God; then you will do everything out of and with Love. Make God smile down at you. 🙂
3. Serving two masters.
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) To reiterate, you cannot be worldly and be a Christian (and expect Jesus to tell you “well done” on Judgement Day). This simply means you have to give up the things of this world and focus on heaven. The Bible says to take up your cross and deny yourselves if you plan on following God. What does that mean per se?
To “take up your cross” means “death of self”, or surrendering yourself to God. This is why Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9: 24-25). Therefore you must be so committed to Jesus that you would DIE for Him if the day comes. Since you’re willing to die for Jesus, how can you possibly have the capacity to serve anyone else? You should be filled with Jesus. Let’s review the second half of the phrase.
We must deny ourselves while we follow Jesus. It sounds self-restraining to others who want to feed their own pleasures and desires; no this, no that – there’s no fun in that. Not true. Believe me, this is far from the truth. As a college-bound teenager I have the expectations of going to wild parties, drinking, “hooking up,” using invective language, and many other things. But these things are not what Jesus would suggest if he were in my Sophomore class, sitting next to me in Business Calculus. He also wouldn’t tell me that I must live a boring life, clad in my queen-size bed’s attire. It gets easier to deny your old self with time and by reminding yourself of how Jesus died on the Cross for all your sins so that you may be reconciled with The Father. There must be a balance, people around you should definitely be able to say, “Oh, *your name*? Well he’s/she’s definitely a Christian, no doubt about it.”
Funny, last night a certain scripture was stuck in my head and now it’s the perfect ending to this blog.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.“