My friend recently challenged me with an article, prefacing it with the comment “How often we try to legislate or electioneer morality and Christ-likeness in our culture. Maybe we should try living it for a while.”
If you don’t have time for the article, it’s a study on whether or not Christians tend to represent Christ, or lean more towards emulating the Pharisaical population as portrayed in the Bible. According to the article, over half of the Christians in the study (51% ) represented the pharisaical, while only 14% (just one out of every seven Christians) represented Jesus. Interesting to note the percentages of those who might represent one (Christ-like in action, pharisaical in attitude) or the other (lacking evidence of Christ-like action, but having the attitude of Jesus)…
We’ve had several discussions in Bible study about how our culture views Christians. Usually we’ve found words like “hypocrites, liars” and I recently overheard someone say of their own family members “they’re Christians, but they’re haters.”
In your personal life, do you think you lean more towards Christ-like actions AND attitude, or Pharisaical? Paul made mention of both in Colossians 3:23 “Work hard AND cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people”.
The reason this article challenged me was specifically related to Christ-like actions, with this excerpt from the article: “-In the research for that book project, our team discovered that 84% of young non-Christians say they know a Christian personally, yet only 15% say the lifestyles of those believers are noticeably different in a good way. This new study helps to explain that gap.”
And the statements used in the survey were pretty convicting:
Actions like Jesus:
- I listen to others to learn their story before telling them about my faith.
- In recent years, I have influenced multiple people to consider following Christ.
- I regularly choose to have meals with people with very different faith or morals from me.
- I try to discover the needs of non-Christians rather than waiting for them to come to me.
- I am personally spending time with non-believers to help them follow Jesus.
In comparing my life with Christ’s, how many more dinners did he have with sinners rather than the religious leaders of his day? How much of my daily life is spent in seeking relationship with those (non-Christians) around me? My coworkers, friends, the cashier in the grocery store?
Are my actions reflective of Christ, as well as my attitude? Is my time spent pursuing “not just the healthy, but the sick”? (Mark 2:17)
Can I do more things worth God’s time, like a working a food line at church, or organizing a clothing drive? 😉 Or how about this guy’s definition of Christ-like action: http://liveaction.org/blog/how-some-kids-with-a-van-are-changing-the-pro-life-movement/
Kelly made a great point in study a couple weeks ago, (referencing James 4:17) that it’s our job as Christians “not to just avoid doing wrong, but making the effort to do right”.
Here’s to working hard with a great attitude, ya’ll.
– By Matti Schuerman