In modern Christianity, there are many fragments within the body of believers wherein it has become customary to pick and choose which aspects of the Bible we will adhere to and those we want gloss over and set aside as inconvenient. Many profess to be Christians, and are indeed in name only. It is based upon a category with which many within our society choose to label themselves and the term itself is used very lightly. Their lifestyles do not align with what has come to be understood as “being a Christian.”
We have exchanged what Christ has called us for the name in which we have been branded by society. Herein lies the importance of a name. We know and understand (from history) that when we apply a name or label to someone or something, we are ascribing those characteristics to that person or thing. It does not matter whether the label is derogatory or if a blessing is being pronounced. The more a person identifies with a name or label, his or her character and behavior slowly begins to evolve and conform to what he or she is being labelled. Or at least that is how others, who upon hearing the label, begin to perceive and treat them as it is also based upon their understanding of the nomenclature.
If the truth be told, Jesus never called us to become Christians. He called us to be His disciples. He called us to be His Body. He instructed us to “…take His yoke upon us and learn of Him…” (Mt. 11:29). The word, learn, in this verse, comes from the Greek word, manthano, and means “to learn, experience, bring into experience.” It is understood that for us to relate to Him, we must know Him and to know Him is to know His teaching and to abide by it. To know, in this instance, still connotes a knowledge that is based upon an intimate experience with another. In other words, once we have truly had a life-changing encounter with Christ, our lives will no longer be conformed to what society has to say about us, but we, in conjunction with the regenerating and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, begin to live our lives according to what Christ has to say about us.
What does this have to do with the introductory statement? Well, I am glad you asked. In Christ, God calls us to live holy lives that are separate from the world in which there is a noticeable distinction between what is common and what is uncommon, what is sacred and holy and what is profane, what is godly and what is ungodly, etc. Although we live in this world, we are not of this world or we are not supposed to live by its dictates and standards.
Love is still the underlying motive. Grace and mercy are still the methods of chose. However, holiness and justice are also very much a part of God’s nature. We are the children of God through Christ, and as such, our lives are supposed to be easily identifiable by His Divine DNA, which is reflective of the life of Christ within. We are not perfect, but we are expected to set the example (1 Cor. 11:1). The life of holiness is not an option, it is a command. We cannot pray for God’s Kingdom to come and for His will to be done if we are not doing our part to bring it to pass. The government of God’s Kingdom requires that Its citizens subscribe to living lives wherein they can be identified with the Kingdom’s standard of living.
Having said all of that…I now say this…in order to be a follower of Christ, we have to embrace holiness as a standard of living. It is the only way by which we can be identified with Him and not with the label that society has placed upon us…#thinkonthesethings
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