I think there is sometimes a misunderstanding about true Christianity.
Non-Christians often think of Christianity as a crutch or a set of rules to guide behavior or a club of like-minded associates.
The media often suggests Christianity is a set of standards by which to judge others and condemn otherwise acceptable behavior.
Ancient Jews thought of Christians as troublemakers and heretics.
Muslims seem to consider us an enemy.
Even within Christian circles there is debate about what it is to be a Christian:
Can we/must we attain sinlessness this side of heaven?
Can we/must we speak in tongues?
Can we drink alcohol?
Should we sacrifice our children on the altar of public schools or should we sequester them at home to shelter them completely from being in or of the world? Maybe we should teach them to be white-washed tombs by sending them to private schools? (Yes, I deliberately chose the most caustic, negative view of each, perfectly acceptable, form of schooling.)
Can women wear pants? Bikinis? Teach?
And then what do we do about wealth? Do we have to give it all away? Live communally? Be good stewards and make sure we have enough? What if you cannot afford food? What if you have more money than you know what to do with? What do you do with the beggar on the street corner?
If we cannot even agree, in Christian circles, what this whole Christianity thing is all about, how on earth are we going to be winsome with the gospel?
Perhaps if we agreed to focus more on personal righteousness – both the sanctifying-growing-in-holiness and thankful-for-Christ’s-provision-of-right-standing-with-God kinds of righteousness – than on the do’s and don’ts we construct to define righteousness, others might be able to see what Christianity is all about.
I know, easier said than done, right? At some point you simply have to have practical actions to accompany your theology. But sometimes I think we end up bound in slavery to the theology of practical actions rather than freed by knowing God in Christ. And who, in their right mind, wants to exchange slavery to the idolatry of sin for slavery to the idolatry of rules?
Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.
Can I get an, “Amen!”?