>Doug and I had a discussion last night that really stirred my brain to activity. What do we as Christians truly imitate? What do we support? If we really stop to consider what we as Christians do relative to this world, I’m afraid we would find a shocking trend. I think we would discover that instead of imitating Christ and allowing everything we do to flow from that imitation, we choose to take what the world has and try to “purify” it.
In so many areas of our lives, we have to have an answer to the world. The world celebrates Halloween, so we as churches have to have Fall Festivals. The world has clubs and organizations, so we have to have Christian versions. The world has self-help books, so we have to have some written by Christian authors who take the same principles and just apply a few Bible verses to them. The world has movies, so we have to make religious movies.
Now, please know that I am not against these things. I like to celebrate at church. I enjoy being a part of groups and organizations whose goal it is to honor Christ. I enjoy Christian living books. And Sherwood Pictures has put out some fantastic movies that easily rank as my favorites. So, my problem is not in the actions themselves, but in the motivation.
Why are we celebrating at church? Why are we meeting in our little group? Why are we writing our books?
Too many of our actions have their basis in the fact that the world is doing thus-and-such, and we need to make sure we have a positive alternative. But, the truth of the matter is that we do not need to be alternative. We need to be original. The world doesn’t need a cleaned-up version of itself. If it did, there would have been no reason for Christmas or Easter. The world needs Christ. If we have a celebration, it doesn’t need to be because the rest of the world is celebrating something. It needs to be because we know that we need to celebrate Christ! So, let’s celebrate and invite the community to join! If we meet together, it needs to be because Scripture tells us to love one another (John 13:35), to encourage one another daily (Heb 3:13), and to make sure that we regularly assemble together (Heb 10:24-25). If we write, let it be based on what God is teaching us. If we make movies, let it be because God has equipped us to use that avenue as a tool for sharing the Gospel.
Most of the examples I’ve given have been on a church or group level, but what about each of us individually? On a personal level, we need to evaluate how we dress, how we talk, what “stuff” we have, what type of car we drive, how we decorate our homes, what our daily schedule looks like, what we read, what constitutes our entertainment, how we handle our finances – should I continue?
Think about the concept of what we read. In recent years, we’ve seen great controversy over certain books and whether or not Christians should read or have anything to do with them. Most people are familiar in concept, at least, with the Harry Potter books. Now, please know that I have not read them, so I cannot comment on the content of the books. I know only what I’ve heard, and I will not base judgement on hearsay, even from reliable sources. But, I would like us as Christians to consider one thing – why are we bothering? Does fighting against the books honor Christ? Does arguing for the books honor Christ? Does reading the books honor Christ? That’s for you to answer for yourself, but as for me and my household, entering the controversy would not point to Christ but would simply put us on one side or the other of a worldly argument. So, for that reason, and that reason alone, we will not delve in to Harry Potty. Now, am I going to tell my children they can only read Christian books? No! There are several books already on our school list and in our family library that are not decidedly “Christian.” But, I can tell you that there have already been so many times when my girls have taken something they’ve read or that I’ve read to them and have used that as a springboard for questions and comments about serving Christ.
Essentially it boils down to this. We are not called to apply religion to the things of this world. We are called, instead, to be “little Christs.” Nothing in the life of Christ originated in the things of this world. He was different. He was unique. The things of Christ are antagonistic to the things of this world. So, whether in our churches or in our personal lives, let us make sure that everything we do is done out of imitation of and to the glory of Christ our Lord!