Soapbox Time

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I can think of a few adjectives I would use to describe my feelings about being a follower of Jesus.

Grateful, humbly satisfied, glad, and rejoicing all come to mind. Proud? Not so much.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:8(NIV)

That doesn’t sound like something to brag about to me. While I was still in my sin – Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God – CHOSE to give his life for mine. He satisfied God’s justice, because I never ever could, and bought me at the price of his own life simply so I could have intimate fellowship with him. I don’t deserve it any more than Hitler.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)

(Quick side note – notice that the “good works” come after salvation – not before. Any good we do on our own, without Jesus, is like “filthy rags.” Our good works that come after Jesus has been placed in the driver’s seat of our own lives are a response of deep love and gratitude to a God who held nothing back from us, and it is a form of worship. They don’t earn us Heaven – they reflect Him to the rest of the world. That’s all.)

Anyway…

When it comes to our “Christianity,” our salvation, what is there for us to boast of? Are we not sinners saved by an undeserved grace? Have we forgotten the circumstances we were in when we were saved? I venture to say that anyone who has met Jesus at the foot of the Cross was not proud to be there, myself included. Rather, we came in contrition and humility, understanding that this gift was being offered out of Great Love and Kindness, not because we merited reward. Heaven knows we understood our own depraved condition!

“Proud to be a Christian?” May it never be so!

Also – clicking the “like” button any time this little catchphrase comes up on facebook (or anything else like it) doesn’t make you any more a Christian than a monkey. It doesn’t “prove your true faith” any more than walking into a church does.

If I can’t make my faith clear by any other way than that, my faith is pretty sad.

If my faith doesn’t come through every word I speak…

If the love of Jesus doesn’t shine out from my eyes every moment…

(I know very well I am nowhere near this standard – I do not need to be reminded. That’s what the Holy Spirit is for, after all.)

Moving on.

If I have to “prove” my faith to everyone, I will do it the old-fashioned way.

By living it.

How?

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him,
‘LORD, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you something to drink?
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in,
or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” ~Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV)

I don’t think Jesus will be commending us for sharing with the whole Internet that we are “proud to be Christians!!!”

Yes, there is a confidence that comes to us naturally when we realize we are created in the image of God, to have intimate fellowship with the Creator of the universe. There is purpose in life that helps us lift our heads, not in pride, but in a joy that sustains us like three square meals a day sustains a hungry child. There is a spirit of peace and contentment that is almost a crown; there is love that hangs about us like a beautiful garment.

That is not pride.

If you must boast, boast in sufferings and tribulations, for we know that those are what the Lord often uses to bring about a maturity and steadfastness in our faith we could otherwise not achieve. (Romans 5:3-4) The hope they bring is not only to us, but to others around us, who are in similar situations. We can boast in these troubles because they will bring others to God – and all of this is still at His hand, and not of our own power. We are just tools.

Proud of being a Christian?!

Please.

“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” ~2 Corinthians 11:30 (NIV)

Because those are the only things I’m good at on my own – my weaknesses.

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