“Is she a Christian? Because she’s one of those people where I just can’t tell,” my sister-in-Christ asked me. We were in the middle of what can best be described as a very authentic and unfiltered phone convo centered around our shared love for Jesus.
It was a very honest and real question to inquire about as well as one that I ponder too often.
It’s one thing to wear a cross necklace or to wear a faith-inspired tee. Or to have a bible verse or other symbolic Christian tattoo on your body. Or to have scriptural art on display in your house (which, pretty much describes my house!). Or to speak in Christianese. Each one of those examples is not bad and can be a good thing. It’s an entirely different thing, however, to talk the talk and walk the walk.
We’ve all been guilty of this at least once in our life where we do something like go to church and then go out for brunch and day-drink our afternoon into oblivion. (Hello, mimosas!). Or we proudly wear some type of Jesus memorabilia and then run our mouths in gossip or lies or profanity (or all of the above).
I believe all of the faith-décor, clothing, jewelry, etc. can hold us all accountable to our actions and beliefs. For me, I have to be intentional in my walk and I need the constant reminder of who I belong to (God) and what I am living for (eternity). It sounds silly for someone who calls themself a Christ-follower, but if I’m being honest, it is true. I need to be surrounded with things that convict my heart and encourage my soul. Likewise, I need to interact and have relationships with other followers of Christ so I don’t resort back to the comfortableness of my former self or behavioral habits. All of this accountability is something I desperately need each day and ultimately it leads me closer to Jesus. When I am clothed in the Spirit, I feel strong and confident to do what I am called to do – to help grow the Kingdom.
I have mentioned this before in previous blog posts as well as on social media, that serving the Lord, seeking Jesus and striving to live like Him do not come naturally to me. At all. I must be intentional and I need accountability – daily and often times constantly throughout the day.
I don’t think this is a bad thing because I know this is an area of my life where I am weak and the enemy has been known to take advantage. I do find the more I am in the Word, the more I am listening to praise music (music is my love language!), and the more I am interacting with other Christ-followers the more I am in tune to the Spirit and God’s presence all around me.
Do I act differently when I’m not wearing a Jesus t-shirt or my cross necklace or when I’m not at home surrounded by the plethora of bible verse art pieces that adorn my walls or the Christian music that fills the house?
Can I be real with you?
Sometimes I do act differently.
Yup. Sometimes I do wear a different face – my ugly face.
What I find, though, is that I know this face all too well because I wore it during all of the years I didn’t follow Jesus. I don’t like this face when its ugliness shows up and I acknowledge that it is not my identity in Christ being seen but rather my weakness in allowing the enemy to be present.
Yes, I need accountability and I need to be intentional in my walk with Jesus and devotion to the Lord and yes, I do have an ugly face that occasionally (and thankfully, less frequently) shows up. But enough about me – let’s go back to the question my sweet sister-in-Christ asked. The question we’ve all wondered about someone, and maybe even ourselves, at some point in our lives.
Is she (or he) a Christian?
Sometimes, the answer is as visible as a plain and simple “N-O,” in which case, those are the ones who need to see the light of Jesus shining through us the most. However, those who I do not have an answer for are the ones that I can’t stop thinking about. The ones who are lost and nobody even knows it. These are the people who keep me up at night.
I’ve had several incidents happen to me where someone has asked me to do something on a Sunday morning. I always give the same answer – my family goes to church on Sunday mornings. During one occurrence, someone asked me if “so-and-so” also went to church. In my mind, I was both shocked that this person did not know that answer and saddened that the person they were referring to didn’t make it as clear as day that they are not only a church-goer but also a Christ-follower.
I’m not just talking about those who occasionally go to church or who say they believe in God (i.e. believers/seekers). I’m talking about those who claim to be Christians and who vocalize they are followers of Christ (i.e. followers).
Following Christ is not something you can hide from. Following Christ and walking His path is something the outsider should see from miles away. The light of Jesus should shine from you and radiate from every aspect of your being. The outsider should be able to see Jesus in you because the life you live is counter-cultural and other-worldly. It should never, ever, be a question someone has to wonder about you.
Most people won’t ever ask the faith question for fear of offending you and that is okay. They should be able to recognize that you are different than the average Jane (or Joe) because of how you live your life.
If you purposefully and intentionally follow the Way, people will notice you are not like the majority of those who are lost, confused, angry, bitter and quite frankly, running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Naturally, people gravitate towards Christians who live counter-culturally because they tend to be joyful, peaceful, respectful, kind, compassionate and content. They want to be around Christians, if only for a brief reflection of light, hope or love.
That, my friends, is the best way to witness to someone – following Christ by actually following Christ.
So instead of wearing two faces and living like two different people, let’s choose to live like Jesus and show His face rather than our own. Showing Jesus to others through our own gifts, talents, and purposes will expose our found identity in Christ. Talking the talk and walking the walk will encourage others to seek Jesus while also shutting down the question of whether or not you (or someone else) are a Christian.
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”Ephesians 5:15-17 (NLT)