Like a Christian? Or Like Jesus?

I’m going to be really forward with you. I feel like today’s a day for honesty and here’s the honest truth: I’m a better Christian than you. You want to know how I know? Because most of the time I get to define what a Christian looks like. I get to describe what one looks like, what one does, what one reads and the best part is, my description often ends up looking like me. Yes, I play a mean game of “Define-a-Christian” (sort of like Apples to Apples except I both submit and pick which cards fit).

Much of the time, when I’m thinking about my relationship with God, I seek to measure up to my Christian standards. What I don’t often realize is that those standards are standards that I have created. Yes, I can proof-text them with Scriptures if I want, but that rarely means I’m exploring what the Bible actually demands of me. When I play “Define-A-Christian”, I get to decide what’s comfortable, what goes too far, and what I shouldn’t have to do. More often than not, that means I have to love my family, read Scripture every now and then, and try to pray. But certainly a Christian doesn’t have to love their enemies and give control of their lives to Christ, right?

The awesome – in the truest sense of the word – thing about my game is that it works. I rarely have to step outside my comfort zone to be a good Christian. Sometimes some sin even makes it into part of “being a Christian.” For me, “Define-a-Christian” works really well; at least, it works really well until I really start to read the gospels. It works really well until I remember that Christianity is about being like Christ. And then it all starts to crumble. Because rather than being like Christ, I’ve been striving towards my own definition of a Christian. Christ doesn’t call me to the comfortable. He calls me to the dangerous, to step out and live a life of faith and utter reliance. Perhaps even more significantly, Christ doesn’t call me to a life where I get to define what is “good enough”; he calls me to perfection (Matthew 5:48).

Yet even as I type this I find myself wanting to retreat, to be more like a “Christian” than like Jesus. The game I play is just so much easier. And that’s why I need grace. It’s why I need the gospel preached daily to myself – a reminder that not only am I a Christ-follower, but I’m a child of the Father, called away from childish games (1 Corinthians 13:11), and into resurrection-tinted life with the Spirit.

May God help us be less like who we want to be and more like who He is.

 

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One thought on “Like a Christian? Or Like Jesus?

  1. Hello!

    You wrote: “gospel preached to me daily…”

    I would like to comment on that. I want to make it clear and understandable, and that is why it is lengthy.

    Did you know that the historical first century Jewish Messiah called Y’hoshua, from Nazareth, was a Torah-observant Jew and so was his followers called the Netzarim?

    This is what the Mashiakh – Messiah – must have taught about ‘salvation’ – if he was a legitimate prophet according to D’varim [Deuteronomy] 13:1-6:
    As stipulated in Devarim [“Deuteronomy”] 6:4-9,11:13-21 one is required to keep all of the directives of Torâh [books of Moses] to one’s utmost—viz., “with all one’s heart, psyche and might [lit. “very”]“—”for the purpose of extending your days and the days of your children… like the days of the heavens above the earth” (i.e., eternal life).

    According to the Hebrew Bible (which Christians call “OT”) -“Ezekiel” chapter 18 et.al – the Creator confer His atonement in His loving kindness to those and only those turning away from their Torah [books of Moses]-transgressions and (re)turning to non-selectively observance of the commandments in the books of Moses. Everyone has transgressed the Torah and its possible to obtain forgiveness from the Creator in His loving kindness when living in the above way. The Creator has promised this in His Bible – which is in Hebrew – and He doesn’t lie.

    Thus, the way of ‘salvation’ and the Christian gospel in NT contradicts Torah and what the Jewish Messiah called Y’hoshua taught. I am a former Christian and understand that after having studied Torah in Hebrew according to the ancient meaning of the words.

    If you want to follow the historical Y’hoshua, instead of the counterfeit image Jesus that Christians created by changing Y’hoshuas name and his teachings, then you must practise the commandments of the books of Moses as he did.

    Doing your utmost to follow the commandments of the books of Moses will lead you into an immensely meaningful relationsship with the Creator.

    Anders Branderud

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