Hey there Family,
Recently, my mom was telling me about someone who was trying to erroneously “get her way” by telling my mom she was not acting like a Christian. Mom quipped, “I’m not supposed to ACT like a Christian, I’m supposed to BE one!” We laughed, but she makes a good point.
Let’s define the meaning of a Christian from the Word of God. People were called Christians or followers of Christ in Antioch after Saul and other assembled together for a year and taught many people (Acts 11:26). Besides the necessity of water baptism in Jesus name and the gift of the Holy Ghost for salvation (Acts 2:38-39), and other important areas, the disciples also lived what Christ taught them–among other things, having a prayer life, using gifts/talents to God’s glory, and how to love and treat others. Notice they LIVED what Christ taught them, rather than ACTING what Christ taught them.
When you act like something or someone, it’s a role. You are the character for a certain amount of time, in certain circumstances, at a convenient time or place, when people are watching or listening. When we act like a Christian, we do things out of fear of the lack of/reaction we will receive. Thus, we risk being an enabler (like always giving money to that able-bodied, non-motivated to work relative or worse—-boy/girlfriend), or you interfere with the law of sowing and reaping. So if Junie keeps getting speeding tickets and you pay them, when will he learn to drive carefully? He needs to learn there is a consequence to bad behavior. HE pays the tickets.
Conversely, when you are/being something, it’s part of who you naturally. So in the case of Jesus living down on the inside via the Holy Ghost, He shows up on the outside consistently. Sure, we will have our days where we are not perfect, but in our desire to please Christ and live more like Him, we will not practice willful sin.
Moreover, while Jesus taught us how to love and treat others, this does not give the general population carte blanche to get whatever-they-want-when-they-want-no-matter-what-and-you-better-like-it-because-that-is-what-Jesus-would-have-you-to do. Seriously? Not so, Family!
In Matthew 4:1-11, the enemy temped Jesus three times, did our Awesome God do what the devil told Him? NO. Jesus did not answer the Pharisees regarding the authority He had, because they demanded it of Him (Matthew 21:23-27). Need an “earthly” example? What about Simon who offered the apostles money in exchange for the being able to lay hands on people for them to be filled with the Holy Ghost? (Acts 8:12-21). Rather than give in to Simon, Peter rebuked him so sharply that Simon requested prayer for protection! (verses 22-24). See what I mean now?
Bottom line: With the help of the Lord, we cannot allow any and everyone to take advantage of our Christ-like nature to “keep the peace” or be “humble”. Now when the Lord tells you to do something, you of course follow His command. But be sure it’s the Lord talking and not guilt or fear–this is where prayer and being in tune with God’s voice will come in—remember HE wants us to make the right choices. This is where we start to BE more like Him.
Thanks for reading and God bless you MUCHO!
Spiritual PSA: What is in you comes out of you, any act has a limited shelf life, will eventually who you are will surface. It is better to get Jesus down on the inside and let His spirit direct your paths.