Friday, May 20, 2016

Being a Good Christian

I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere, but here in the south, it seems that the deciding factor for being a “good Christian” is whether or not you attend church. The more often you attend church, the better Christian you are. Now, we all KNOW this isn’t true. Anyone can go to church. Even people who don’t love Jesus go, they  just don’t LIKE going to church…unless they have some other reason for going…but that’s a topic for another day. I will go ahead and throw this out…I don’t know any on-fire, growing, evangelical Christians who aren’t serious about attending church regularly. Again, a topic for another day.
So, here in the south, going to church – especially if you go more than once a week- gets huge points on the “how Christian are you” quiz. If that’s the standard to be judged by, my score is off the charts. I’m married to the pastor. I am LITERALLY at church all the time. Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and any other time we have something to do there. I use my vacation to chaperone the youth trip. If this is the “how to be a good Christian” grading scale, I’m an absolute saint!
Except that I’m not. At all.
And I KNOW that I’m not, because scripture tells me what things characterize a Christian.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
These are the things that tell off on the condition of a person’s heart. We can modify and control our behavior so that we LOOK like good Christians, but we can’t fake joy and we cant fake peace. We can’t control what comes out of our hearts and, if kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, self-control, joy and peace aren’t in our hearts…well, that’s not what’s gonna come out.
So, when we inspect "fruit"…ESPECIALLY our own… let’s take the focus off of Church attendance. Instead let’s focus on the Fruit of the Spirit. Let’s ask God to grow and cultivate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control in our hearts, so that these are the things that pour out of us.
I have been asking God for this in my life. I cannot imagine what a wonderful witness I could be for my precious Savior if my life were characterized by:
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