Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. [John 3:3]
Has any one else noticed lately that everyone on the planet is now claiming to be a Christian. Christianity has become a mindset but being born again is a conscientious decision.
Sociological trendsetters currently claim that we (Christians) are just a group of disconnected free spirits who collectively agree that something else is out there besides us. This modern definition of Christianity has no distinct moral aptitude. They would have us follow no defining criteria. They are recording for posterity that perhaps we are just like everyone else. By this definition we like to pray and often mix portions of the bible or Judeo-Christian thought with other bits of religious or spiritual jargon at will. It’s like spiritual scrapple. Surely you remember Scrapple, that old time breakfast entree that mixed sausage with bits of discarded left over meat product or whatever else you had lying around in the kitchen.
Today’s modern Christians put Christ off and on like a new Rolex whenever they need to impress. Isn’t there some kind of disconnect here or am I the only one who see’s this? Technically, could this be the star athlete who kneels to pray when making a touchdown on Monday night but is arrested on Friday for brawling at the strip club? Or perhaps is this the actress who thanks God during the Oscar speech for the role she played with full frontal nudity. Or maybe it’s the musician who decides to make a Christian album during a secular career that’s unapologetically called all women ho’s and bi’aches (yes I spelled it that way on purpose), or perhaps it’s you Mr. or Mrs. average, living life on your own terms occasionally acknowledging God and whatever parts of his word you happen to agree with at the time. Don’t mind me, I’m just asking here?
Christianity has been watered down in the American lexicon to mean anyone who acknowledges a higher power. This is quickly becoming the incorrect but more acceptable palatable public face attributed to Christianity. The bible says, “That though we are in this world we are not to be of it”. It admonishes us to “come out from among them and be ye separate says the Lord”. We are supposed to look, act, talk and be different than the world. No I’m not talking about being clowns or being loopey, looney as some of us have been guilty of in the past (a whole other blog post). I mean that when people meet us they should walk away saying there’s something different about them. In a good and refreshingly clean way. We should be like water in a dry land. We should be like something that others are looking for.
We are supposed to be born again, blood washed believers who have surrendered the lordship of our lives to Christ. Something in our character has got to distinguish us from the world. The bible says that they shall know us by our fruit. That phrase “fruit” refers to the fruit of the spirit. What dwells within us and is the basis for how we relate in society. What kind of characteristics do we display in our daily life? Hopefully it has something to do with; modesty, humility, love, joy, peace, temperance, patience, forgiveness, etc. This should be what sets us apart from the world. Not just that we use religious jargon or shout hallelujah or fold our hands in prayer whenever the mood suits us. That is so surface and so very fake and artificial. l almost wish we could use another term to describe who we are or at the very least get it back from the masses. Because the brand has been copied and compromised so much that you can hardly tell the real ones from the fakes.
I need to confess something as a consumer before we proceed. I am kind of embarrassed to tell you that some years ago I bought a knock off hand bag by mistake. I’m certainly aware that buying knock-off’s purposefully helps no one but I was taken quite honestly with an on-line purchase. I thought it was the authentic article I was buying at a deep discount. Serves me right for thinking I could get something so valuable for next to nothing.
When the handbag arrived it was beautiful I must say. Perfect in every way down to the last identical detail. I was so excited to get it. I stuffed it with all my essentials and used it almost everywhere I went. I got compliment after compliment on my expensive looking designer bag. One thing though, as I began to use it, I noticed it didn’t take long for the leather to fray and the rivets to loosen up. No way should a bag like that have been disintegrating over just a few months wear. I finally realized that there was good reason that the real bags were so costly and displayed in such small numbers. Most high end retail stores only had about 4-5 for an entire city. Quality never allowed for copy cat mass production. Each one was a work of art within itself. I didn’t realize that with substandard artificial materials you could only fake it for so long before the product showed its lack of structure and foundation.
I learned that was how you detect a fake. It couldn’t stand up to even the slightest pressures or seemly routine circumstances. Similarly it’s time for us as men and women of God to move beyond artificial surface relationships with Christ. I don’t want to just look like the world’s version of a Christian. I don’t want to be a pretty package dressed in a jewel studded cross t-shirt with a bible verse on the back. I want to be the real deal, full of power and anointing able to conquer anything this world throws at me. I want to be a reservoir of hope and truth for a hurting and hungry world. We were created to have substance and depth not to be the white-washed seplicar’s the bible warns us about.
Why is this so important to discuss? Well, if everyone thinks that they are already Christians because of a mindset they’ve adopted they will not be open to the real message of Christ when it is presented to them. They will never get beyond a surface acknowledgement of his presence and they will miss an opportunity to know him in a real and personal way. So now, when I see an open door to minister to someone, I no longer ask them “are you a Christian” but rather I ask them, “Have you been born again”? Nine times out of ten these same “Christian thinking “people will look quite puzzled and say “no”.
The savior is calling us all into a deeper more authentic walk with him in this coming season. It is deep calling unto deep. Let’s do more than just look good and play the part. That’s easy enough for any of us. Let’s dig deeper into the spirit realm and really allow the savior to shine through us. Let’s do more than just scratch the surface of this life he sacrificed to give us. Let’s be the real article.