Recently I was quite disturbed by an Instagram post by a photographer I respect and admire. This woman, who says she’s a believer, posted something of this nature: “I’m a Christian. I love Jesus. But let’s admit it, I cuss a little. I read questionable romance novels. And I want to shoot your wedding no matter what your relationship is and whatever you identify as.” (Paraphrased.)
Correct me if I’m wrong, folks, but what I got out of that is: “I love Jesus but I don’t always keep His commandments.” Now listen here: I’m not condemning her or anyone. I’m simply stating some issues I’ve noticed.
There are two sides of the spectrum. There are some people who call themselves Christians but have no love. They believe in the theology and do the works but only because they believe it is right, not because they love Jesus. I’m pretty sure I just defined a legalist there.
The other side of the spectrum is the folks who I’m going to call the “feelies”. They love Jesus, talk to Him a lot, and have every repetitive praise-and-worship CD – but they don’t know the theology. They don’t do the works. In fact, these people look every bit like the world, except that they say they love Jesus.
But Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) We are made to serve Christ. Yes, we are made to love Him too! But how can I tell that you have faith? Our fruit is the outworking of our salvation. Galatians 5:16 – “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Romans 8:9 – “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”
What is the Spirit of Christ? Do you have the Spirit of Christ? Do you have patience and kindness; goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? Or are you like the men in 2 Timothy 3 – who are “lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”? My friends, at least one of the things in this list applies to all of us!
Love is well and good. Faith is well and good. Let us begin by loving the Lord, and believing in His promises. Yes, He has saved His chosen by grace through faith! But as we love Him, we should be motivated to take up our cross and follow Him. This cross is hard to bear. It won’t be easy. But if we don’t, we won’t be worthy of Him. (Matthew 10:38) Let the whole world know that we are followers of Christ! We are opening the gates to condemnation and ridicule from the world, but oh friends, what we may suffer now in this short time is worth it.
In the end of his book The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel explains John 1:12: “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” Do you believe that “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God”? (1 Peter 3:18) Then you shall receive grace – God’s grace – grace for the “lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy…”.
Then you shall become. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Let the world know we are new creations in Christ. Let them see our works that are the evidence of our faith and love. Let our fruits of the Spirit be ripe and sweet, richly abounding in the flavor of love.