When Christians see injustices, or otherwise unrighteous behavior taking place in the world, it seems like their first resolve is to let people know, “But the Bible says ….!”
The only problem is, not very many Christians seem to have mastered the art of doing what the Bible says themselves, so their testimony about what’s right, or what’s wrong, or what’s biblical or not, is weakened.
In fact, I believe a Christian’s lack of application of the word is the number one reason non-believers will call into question the validity of Scripture, and the truth behind our faith.
Unfortunately, it seems like in today’s culture, “being nice” has outpaced “taking up thy cross,” as the crux of what it means for most people to be “Christian.” This phenomenon is really quite telling, however, in that it demonstrates the true concern of most Christians, which is namely, “What will people think of me?”
The desire to be accepted by friends, or family, or the rest of the mainstream population often outweighs the concern of what God might think of us, or what God might want from us in our service to him.
If more Christians would worry about what God thinks about them, or what others might think about God through their witness, perhaps non-believers might be more apt to take into consideration what the Bible says regarding societal issues.
Being nice is good, but a lot of people are nice. Does that mean that nice people are all Christians? No. Dying to oneself (consistently, regularly, as a way of life), is the only true way to demonstrate our allegiance to Christ, since it’s the only activity that runs completely contrary to the way people are wired to live apart from him.
In order to represent Jesus accurately, we must practice (daily) what he did at the cross. How many nice people can say that their life’s purpose is to do the will of the Father at all times, even when it’s hard, or even at the expense of losing everything, or even when following God might mean intense suffering and persecution? Not many.
Only a true disciple of Jesus, one who has counted the cost of following him, and decided to daily live according to the will of the Father, can challenge cultural norms which seek to cancel anyone who doesn’t ascribe to ungodly or anti-Christ ideologies.
To adopt an ulterior form of Christianity based on outward niceties, but lacking the chutzpa to be bold when needed, or tap into the grace of God to overcome the power of sin, does not necessarily trumpet the attitude, “I want your will to be done, Father, not mine,” (Luke 22:42) and disregards the core of true Christian faith.
In fact, Paul warned his son in the faith Timothy to stay away from “Christians,” who have a “form of godliness, but deny its power.”
“Have nothing to do with [them],” Paul tells him in 2 Timothy 3:5.
Being a follower of Christ is about much more than being nice. True discipleship starts with hearing God’s word and being willing to put it into practice.
Only by determining to become a living sacrifice, can a Christian transform from being a mere “hearer” of the word, to becoming a “doer” of the word.
But when a Christian’s belief in what the Bible says produces a lifestyle that looks like sacrificial way Jesus carried out God’s will, non-believers may be persuaded to accept the authority of God’s word.