Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Am I Truly Committed to Christ, or am I a Christian in name only?

David periodically writes the daily devotion that is emailed out to our church family. Below is the one he wrote for today:

Pastor Ronnie challenged us to either commit or recommit ourselves to the Father; to really strive to be like Christ. What does that look like? Why is it important for us to understand what Christ was like while walking this earth among us before we commit to following Him?

Jesus lived like the world had never seen. What's funny (and frustrating) to me is that for my first 15 years as a believer in Him, I had a distorted view of who He was (and is) and a similarly distorted view of who He wanted me to be. I was under the impression that if I did a few key things on a regular basis - go to church, pray, read my devotions, and did not do a few key things - drink, smoke, swear, engage in promiscuous behavior, that I would be far more like Christ than most anyone else. In fact, I even regularly thought to myself what a good guy I was. When I would hear of someone doing the things I didn't do or not doing the things I did, I would almost be disgusted by them because of their lack of morals and self-control.

I had read verses like Mark 12:33 ("love your neighbor as yourself") many times, but still thought higher of myself than I did others, particularly those that weren't as righteous. One day it hit me while reading in the Gospels that the only people Christ showed any ill-will to at all were people like me - the Pharisees. The Jewish religious leaders were all about doing the right things and not doing the wrong things (which is honorable), but cared little of truly loving others.

At that point in my life, I would have never sat down or associated with a homosexual or a prostitute, and though it might not have been apparent outwardly, I even thought myself better than people of certain other races. I apparently had misread verses like Mark 12:33, hearing something to the effect of, "Love your white, non-drinking, non-smoking, heterosexual, clean-shaven, normal-haired neighbor as yourself."

But now, through Christ, I have a love of others - ALL others - that I didn't know while I was a "Pharisee". Praise God for that.

It's important, make that vital, for us to understand this because if we don't truly love ALL others, even those whom our flesh tells us should be repulsive, then we are fraudulently representing Christ and consequently leading people astray. To be blunt, we are being deceitful.

Of course, none of this love for others matters a bit if we don't fully subscribe to a couple of verses that Ronnie pointed out to us on Sunday- Luke 14:26-27. In so many words, Jesus basically says that if we want to be His disciples, our love for even our immediate family should appear as hatred in comparison to our love for Him. Our love for others can only be true if it stems from a deeper love for Him.

Today, be in prayer and search yourself, asking, "Am I truly committed to Christ, or am I a Christian in name only?"

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