Christian. Really?

Men are a very poor reflection of God. The basis of true Christianity is the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the Son of God, the infinite and eventually incomprehensible Creator of life. All of the Old Testament leading up to the birth of Christ and everything that has happened since are subject to the One who was born homeless, in a borrowed barn, and laid in a troth. Whether an atheist, a Buddhist, or anyone else believes this is true or not is irrelevant to the point that this is the foundation of Christianity: the character and being of God was revealed to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ here on earth.

With the foundational belief that Jesus was God revealed in human form, it is perfectly logical to place great emphasis on the actions and teachings of Jesus Christ as being synonymous with the characteristics and wisdom of God. While here on earth Jesus taught, fed, healed, and served. His daily life was humility and selflessness manifested in human form and he instructed His followers to live the same way:

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

“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 25:37-40

“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” John 13:14-15

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

The failure of most Christians to embody these teachings, characteristics, and values in their daily lives is undeniable, but, the fact should be recognized for what it is: humans are imperfect, human reflections of a perfect God. If I didn’t know anything about Jesus and I only had the lives of Christians to go by as a testament to Christianity, I fear that I would also think of the Christian life as foolishness because of the gargantuan gap between the way that Christ lived on earth and the way that so many Christians, including myself much of the time, live now. Pompous piety will achieve nothing without the embodiment, through grace, of Christ’s character and teachings in our daily lives.

3 thoughts on “Christian. Really?

  1. Hey Mark,

    I enjoyed this and it made me think of the Apostle Paul, who though he knew he missed the mark daily, continually strived still to reach it and I think that is and what makes all the difference. Not that we have attained the goal but that we want to and that we try. That we realize, “God, often I fail you,” but “I don’t want to. I don’t like to fail you.” Making our prayers, “God help me to live like the reflection of Christ that you want me to be.”

    Anyway, hope all is well with you and God’s blessings to you and your family!

    ~Jen

  2. Greetings Mark,

    First things first… a hearty thank you is in order for adding the Inklings to your blogroll! I enjoyed your essay immensely (orthodoxy is always refreshing) and I’m impressed with the captivating landscape of ‘Meanders’ and plan on spending time here enjoying your view. I agree that ‘our daily lives’ is what Christ desires to transform (and it takes time…a lifetime). Sadly the Church has reduced Christianity to a moment of conversion (the wedding) forgetting that Jesus desires a long-term relationship (the marriage). Of course it begins with us accepting the proposal and embracing the One who can and will change our very lives here & now and on through eternity. Is there a better way to live? Narnia and Middle Earth are merely teaser-trailers for the Epic Tale that awaits us at the end of all things. Almost there…

    Jesus promised us mansions with many rooms…I hope mine is in your neighborhood.

    Blessings,

    -Darren

  3. I didn’t realize I was on your blogroll either and that’s really a nice compliment.

    I think that the biggest failure of Christians is that we forget to care about each other simply because we need to. We look at someone and out of some sense of duty, piety or because the right people are watching, we do something “nice” for them.

    We forget how to really love people by just sitting with them and listening. Only then do we get the right to show them Jesus. Hopefully they’ll see him without us opening our mouths too much and screwing it up!

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