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*This article is a guest post written by Gabrielle Rae Selby.*
Let me ask you something…
How often do we, as Christians, feel like we are being “good Christians” simply because we are refraining from sin?
Eric Metaxas wrote a book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. [I strongly encourage you to read books about or by Bonhoeffer! You will be changed!] Metaxas sums up a little bit of Bonhoeffer’s life by saying this:
“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will,” Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (pg.486).
Let that sink in for a second.
Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will. Click To Tweet
I’m going to put this into a different perspective – the life of Jesus:
The story of John 12 describes why we celebrate Palm Sunday. Jesus, with only one week before His crucifixion, rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. This was a BIG deal because this was prophesied way back in the writings of Zechariah. And, this entry into Jerusalem happened right after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
So, a large crowd saw the miracle take place and now were spreading the word! The crowd was even larger now as they welcomed Jesus into the city with palm branches.
John 12:18 says, “The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.”
The crowd witnessed to other people after the raising of Lazarus, because of what they saw Jesus do.
There are many stories in Scripture like this. Jesus does something, performs a miracle, heals someone, shows kindness to someone, and so on… and, people start to follow Him.
People see that He is doing the will of His Father; they literally see from His actions that He is King.
Now, imagine this story (not in Scripture – read with tone of sarcrasm): Jesus entered the world and worked really, really hard to refrain from doing anything wrong. He steered clear of sin and kept to Himself and then he entered Jerusalem on a donkey and a crowd was there. The crowd gathered because they heard of the great man who refrained from doing bad things! Woo!
Okay, yes, I get that sounds silly…
But, if we aren’t careful, that’s what we can turn Christianity into.
As Christians, we are often way too concerned about what we don’t do than what we do.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t refrain from sin. And I am most certainly not saying that Jesus didn’t refrain from sin. Of course He did! But that was not His main goal.
His goal was to do the will of His Father and because of that, His heart was so righteous and centered, sin had no power over Him. Furthermore, people wanted to be like Him because of this!
We need to refrain from sin. But, maybe, just maybe, we should be more concerned about following God’s calling.
When we are more concerned with what we don’t do than what we do, we become judgmental. We become prideful. We become less attractive to those who don’t know Jesus and who question the legitimacy of the Church.
When we are more concerned with what we don't do than what we do, we become judgmental. We become prideful. We become less attractive to those who don't know Jesus and who question the legitimacy of the Church. Click To Tweet
I don’t know about you, but I don’t look up to Christians who only refrain from the bad things of this world. I look up to Christ followers who are kind to everyone, love everyone in sight, are slow to speak and quick to listen, and who care more about their actions lining up with Jesus’ than being passive readers of Scripture.
Can you imagine if Paul, the apostle of Jesus, would have been passive after his salvation? Imagine Paul finding God, being saved, and then keeping to himself … Refraining from doing the things he did before he was saved, but not preaching, writing, or spreading the Gospel. We wouldn’t have even a quarter of the New Testament. We wouldn’t have his lessons to learn from. Many people in his day would have missed out on hearing about Jesus!
Friends, we cannot be Christians who care more about AVOIDANCE than ACTION.
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 8:5 because it reminds me of the intentionality behind God’s creation of me.
Psalm 8:5 says “Yet you have made him a little lower than heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”
According to Psalm 8:5, you and I have been crowned with glory and honor by God the Father. What a gift!
Read that out loud! You were created only a tiny bit lower than the angels! Because of our fallen nature, we tend to dismiss humanness like it’s ONLY a bad thing.
According to Psalm 8:5, you and I have been crowned with glory and honor by God the Father. What a gift! Click To Tweet
God created us in His image. And, yes, sin entered the world. And, yes, the Fall of Mankind did happen. But, Jesus came. The Holy Spirit came. Sin was defeated. Death was defeated. And when you give your life over to God, the Spirit enters your life and meshes your humanness with Godliness.
And, you can see the incredible nature of God’s design! Your life will literally bear fruit as you join God in relationship!
The reason I’m saying this is because we have so much to do! God gave us authority here. And, if we just find God and then sit aside passively, we’re going to miss out on so much. And others will miss out on Him.
Your value should not be quenched by being a person of avoidance or a person who thinks humans don’t have the ability to bring change!
Your humanness is beautiful. The Heavenly Creator designed it! You were designed to DO, to ACT, to LOVE, to CREATE, to ATTEND TO, to PRAISE, to WORSHIP, to LIVE.
I’m challenging all of my readers to be a person of action this week. Don’t judge the person next to you because of what you think they should be refraining from. Do you know how many people Jesus encountered who He could have judged? People who everyone else were judging! But, instead, He loved on them.
This week, remember that you are a human created by the God of the MOST HIGH who crowned you with glory and honor to spread love throughout this world. Don’t go from Sunday to Sunday living passively as a Christian. Act on your faith. Send a note of encouragement. Give. Serve. Be compassionate. Pray for someone. Pray with someone.
Can you imagine what this world could be like if we, as Christians, started living lives of action instead of lives of avoidance?
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To the Christian Who Hasn’t Been to Church in a While
What I Learned When God Went Silent