Seeing as how the Fourth of July celebration is coming up, I was planning on writing about the concept of American Christians and how we ought not to say such thing. Rather we should say we are Christians first, and Americans second or even third or fourth. Let’s say I go to Spain and someone says, “American?” I can respond, “Christian!” hmmmm maybe an evangelism moment!? Anyway this post is not meant to dwell on that particular issue, but in a sense it does. I want to ponder this idea of identity, more so on a personal level rather than a national or international level.
It has come to my attention that there are many many many nominal Christians. By this I mean that people merely claim the title “Christian” and yet do not live their lives as such. Sure, you may believe in God, but so do demons. The idea of identity is wrapped in the way we live our lives. As a Christian, you believe what Scripture says about Christ, especially 1 Corinthians 15.3-4 (look it up). Ok, well you may or may not believe that, and it is my prayer that you do, in fact, you must. As a Christian, we believe Jesus Christ died for our sins and that he stands in front of the judgment seat before the Father on our behalf, Luke 12.8-9. It is as though we say to those around us, “Look! the Crucified One is Lord of all.” And when we die Christ stands in front of the Father and says, “This one is mine, for she loves me, and I love her.” That is, if you accept Christ, you have accepted the covenant and there will be no condemnation for your sins.
So, what does this look like today? What does the identity of “Christian” look like/mean? What do you do when you love someone? Do you travel hundreds of miles to merely give them a hug? Do you spend all your money to buy her a ring? Do you call him three, four, five times a day (not to mention a hundred text messages)? Do you go to bed thinking about her? Do you see that person in your future? Are you working for a relationship that lasts, one that could be a potential lifelong covenant?
Two very important questions remain: (1) What if that person you love so much wrote you a letter, how many times would you read it? would you commit any of it to memory? and (2) What if that person you loved so much said, “Come follow me” would you trust him enough to get up and go?
To all of those question, I imagine, you felt a bit of affirmation, and I hope you can see where this going in relation to Christ. If you are a Christian, what are you doing to spend time with the One you love? Ok, let’s say you love Christ, and you feel pretty good about the things you do to maintain that love, like read the Bible, pray, love the unlovable, give, proclaim His name, etc. What does that look like when you are not doing one of those things? What does a love for Christ look like when you are doing the dishes, the laundry, reading, watching a movie, driving? Well, you are a dishwasher so loved by God. You are doing laundry so loved by God. You are reading so loved by God. Are those dishes a burden or a gift from God? Are your clothes something to loathe? Walk outside without them and see what happens!! You get it, everything is a gift.
Two things: (1) The glory of God should be the reason we do anything, yes even fold clothes. (2) Live into the promises of God earned for you by the Lord Jesus Christ. God takes care of those who love Him. The Heidelberg Catechism (read the quote three times, seriously and slowly) says this about God’s love,
“the almighty and ever present power of God by which he upholds, as with his hand, heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty–all things, in fact, come to us not by chance, but from his fatherly hand” (Q and A 27).
Can you handle that? Look at a few key phrases. How does God uphold all existence? “as with his hand” it is a very intimate thing that the Creator holds you, literally by the power of his hand. What comes to us by chance? Nothing. What about headaches, back pain, car crashes, bankruptcy, divorce, dead babies, genocide? Al things are from his fatherly hand. So, what do we do? I have wept about this, not ashamed to say it. I have cried out in my tears,” Lord! What do I do! How can I make it better!” Two things: Glorify God in all that we do. Trust in his promises earned by Christ. Do you trust that God is good? Do you trust that Christ is your Savior?
Have bad things happened in your life? A bad thing that happened in my life was my parents divorce. The Bible says not to divorce, therefore it is a bad thing, but look at the good that God brought to our family through this. I met my wife. I met a pastor’s kid who brought me to the church, and I have not left it. My mother has found the love of Christ, and grips it tighter than anything I know. The more I think about it, the more I see the eternal significance that my mother’s soul is worth all the pain I can endure. I am certain Christ was thinking the same thing upon the cross. Talk about a God who loves, he did for all of his children!
Point: Rejoice that you are loved. Trust in His goodness. Live like you love Jesus. Read his letter written to you, its all there.