Tuesday I posted something I had written on Facebook about a situation I ran into recently in rush-hour traffic. Here's something I posted the next day referring to that earlier discussion.
about my traffic "rant" from yesterday morning. I'm wondering if I
might have come off as saying that you have to act right to be a
Christian. That is absolutely NOT the case. Our actions are not what
makes us Christians. Well, actually, there is ONE action that does make
us a Christian: accepting/confessing Jesus as Lord. After that, other
actions are irrelevant to our standing with God,
although if we live a life of sin we may FEEL far from God. The blood
of Jesus washes all of that clean, once and for all. Which, as the
apostle Paul would (and did) say, is no license to sin, but our sin or
lack of sin does not make or break our relationship as sons and
daughters of God.
That said, our actions before others DO
reflect on Christ. Our goal should be to let God transform us into
something we can't make of ourselves. It's not a matter of
white-knuckling it every time we want to sin and "being good" instead;
it's a matter of letting go of our sin and letting our actions reflect
what we already are. When I am tempted to sin, I have the option of
either giving in and doing what I know I shouldn't do, or letting go of
that worthless stuff and being the child of God that Jesus has
transformed me into. I'm not sure those who have not accepted Jesus
always have that option; the Bible seems to say that they are enslaved
to sin and can't escape it. Followers of Jesus are free from sin; we can
refuse to do it, or we can go ahead and make those mistakes. We have
the choice; that's our freedom in Christ.
So, back to the
highway thing. Let's say I'm the guy in the car who sees another driver
do something that makes me upset. My first impulse might be to honk my
horn, flip the middle finger, or even follow that person to wherever
they're going and have angry words with them. But I have another option:
I can put down that anger like putting down a rock I was going to use
to stone someone. I can take off that "old man" reaction to the
situation, and put on the "new man" reaction. I can look on that person
with love and forgive them.
Don't try to "be good". You can't
do it. It's not a matter of adding goodness to the situation; your
goodness comes from God. God's reaction to the situation is already
there. It's a matter of letting go of the bad to reveal the good that
God has given you. The old hymns talk about being "stained with sin"
which is "washed away" by the blood of Jesus; the stain has been
removed, so it's only a matter of getting rid of the muck and stuff that
might be clinging to you and revealing the cleansed person that was
always there underneath. That's the example of Christ that others need
to see. That's the person that reflects well on the church whose logo is
in the back window of your car and the God whose Bible verse is on your
T-shirt. Show others the person God has made you, not the shadow of the
person you would be without Him.
Is it important to "act right" to be a Christian? Should we just plan on following Jesus and hope our actions will fall into line, or do we need to put some effort into it? Sound off by clicking the
"Comments" link below this post!