As I kickoff 2015 I have felt convicted to reflect on that which is important to me. From the perspective of the world, people I interact with, some supposed friends, and just my general interpretation of the words I hear, I am tainted. And though the word “tainted” may bring many things to mind, I am specifically referring to being infected with an undesirable quality. It has become increasingly clear that I find myself in a place and time where I am viewed as a dealer of disgust. Numerous are my symptoms. I am hypocritical, ignorant, uninformed, selfish, unloving, intolerant, and outdated to name a few.
This is not a recent onset of infection. The truth is that I have been ill since I was 13 years old. Worst of all, I am also contagious by design and thus spreading the undesirable in multiplicity. Don’t fear regarding this news. The world has built up immunity and has suppressed this illness relentlessly, though a remnant still remains susceptible despite those efforts. So the chances of you contracting this illness are probably not something to worry about.
Perhaps I am muddling intently or purposefully “stirring the pot” to say in different words, but what I am has become concerning to many. I am a Christian.
There is a good chance that if you are reading this then you know me in some capacity. If what I am has not been clear to you; shame on me. I have seen better days where I was more contagious. Given the political climate I have tried to bring to light here, Christians find themselves being comfortably Christian when amongst Christians, but comfortably normal and generic when not. This dualistic lifestyle that I have been guilty of might just be the key to worldly success. I need the courage, as do many Christians, to view worldly success and acceptance as having little value.
Matthew 6: 19. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20. but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Do not misinterpret my words. I am not calling for divisive actions or a proud embrace of the symptoms I have highlighted. If you as a Christian were prepared to sound your war cry upon reading this, then pause for a moment to be certain we are in accord. In fact, it is my argument that the infection I have described is perhaps a misrepresentation of genuine Christianity and more describes your average census survey Christian. Otherwise my remnant statements seem yet again ignorant when looking at the below data.
So it seems that 31.7% of the world is census survey Christian and that number rises to over 75% for the US. These people come in many forms and contribute to the worldly definition of a Christian. And yet they all feel comfortable, at least on things like surveys, bearing the name of Christ. To do something in someone’s name, or while bearing a label, seems to be based on the discretion of the label bearer and not the label. What does this mean? It means that I could very well do something horrible in your name today while declaring it boldly. And though you would likely not condone the activity, it seems that I have the discretion to do the unthinkable while bearing your label to bring taint upon you. The ones whose activity you would condone and allow to bear your name are the genuine type. Genuine Christians are only those that Christ has saved to bear his image, and I am fairly certain that percentage is much much smaller. I think it is also safe to say that the worldly definition of a Christian is severely tainted since the law of numbers regarding false image bearers would prevail.
Matthew 7: 13. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
In 2015 it is important to me that everyone understand that I bear this image with humility. I am a Christian and severely flawed. I know the standard and fall short. I often act in ways that my label would not condone. In humility I claim Christ because my broken state leaves me undeserving of this love and favor. This is the true illness and I have had this one since birth. I am sinful but not a slave to it, nor is it an excuse.
Romans 6: 17. But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18. and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
It is my prayer in 2015 that everyone have genuine encounters with genuine Christians. I am sure that the worldly definition will start to erode regarding these genuine people. But at the end of the day, there is no guarantee that you will be susceptible to their message or that they will be bold enough to deliver it. Let’s hope the “illness” becomes the cure.
I hope everyone has a great 2015. I will seek to be a dealer of folly.
1 Corinthians: 18. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.