Beware Of The Mean Christians
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…”
See 2 Corinthians 5:20
Nobody likes to be told they can’t do something. I was the worst with this, especially when it came to Christianity. “Who do you think you are, telling me what to do?!” was how I thought. And then, in my immature thinking, I’d do the opposite, just out of spite. My flesh won too many battles in regard to dealing with legalistic Christians, and guess what? I was saved. I was a Christian then, and I am a Christian now.
Laws excite sin. Rules excite rebellion. Just like the container of slime in the movie Ghostbusters II, as they all sat around the table, yelling at the slime, it started to bubble up and go crazy. Our flesh is the same because of the power of sin. Sin is like gravity, you can’t see it, but it is a force in this world that our flesh reacts to and with. Paul explains how sin works to the Romans while letting them know the only way to not excite sin, is to not have any laws to abide by:
“For sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me…” (see Romans 7:11)
Do you see how sin deceived Paul? Do you see how it came to life?! Through the commandment! What commandment was Paul referring to in this instance? One of the Ten! Namely, jealously! Paul was being told, “Thou shalt not covet,” through the law, and guess what Paul’s problem was?…COVETOUSNESS! This is why he said the only way live for God is to be completely dead to all the law! (See Romans 7:4, Galatians 2:19, 3:10).
So my rebellious choices, when it came to dealing with today’s Pharisees, were simply the power of sin being excited in my flesh. By being told, “Stop doing that! You ain’t living right! No man of God would do such a thing!” sin was being stirred up in my physical being.
What I should have done was just ignored it, but because I hadn’t yet grown in my relationship with Jesus, or began to have my mind renewed through understanding my true identity, I rebelled. I did exactly what I was being beat over the head for. As an immature Christian I was learning and growing, and I let them get to me when I shouldn’t have. Believe it or not, this happens a lot.
So many of us have had our relationship with God established by the fear of hell rather than on the good things which come from a loving relationship with Christ. I’m here to help you get this in order.
We must stop being afraid of hell after we accept Jesus’ forgiveness, and instead, enjoy an actual relationship with Him! How do we do this? By finally realizing our actions and attitudes didn’t get us saved–either good or lack of bad–only our faith in Jesus’ forgiveness did (see Ephesians 2:8,9). We have to learn who we are–Children of God–and then be that. Our actions and attitudes then flow organically.
However, my old, unrenewed thought life was still too full of prideful cobwebs to understand this. I needed my mind to be renewed through God’s graceful truth, and I needed the Holy Spirit to teach me who I was inside. This would be the only way I’d be able to make any serious changes in my life.
I had to stop focusing on what not to do, and instead, live out who I was in my spirit. My spirit was saved, but my mind, words, and emotions had some catching up to do. The good news is, the Holy Spirit is a wonderful teacher and He’s very patient with us.
***Side note: So many preachers teach that once you get saved, you will immediately change your ways, or else you aren’t really saved. That’s not necessarily true. Your spirit is saved immediately, by grace through faith, but your soul and flesh need to learn how to live BY your new spirit, which is Christ in you! He is actually infused with your spirit! (See Ephesians 3:16, Acts 2:17, Hebrews 13:5). For example, if you approach a prostitute on the street who has been turning tricks for years and you tell her, “You had a long lost uncle who died. He left you five million dollars,” that won’t immediately change her THINKING. She still has a prostitute mindset even though she doesn’t have to walk the streets any longer. By saying her old thought processes will instantly go away because of her inheritance is not fair to her, and it’s a lie. She needs time to grow into her new life. She needs to learn that she doesn’t HAVE to prostitute any longer because she has something so much better! Her mind has to be renewed, little by little, day by day. Same with us when we become a Christian. Our faith takes our spirits off the streets and gives us a new identity: Child of God (see John 1:12). We instantly become royalty, but then the Holy Spirit begins to move within us, teaching us how to live out our true identity as heaven-ready people! For this reason, you must be easy on yourself and keep your WHO separated from your DO! Sure, royal people can go live in the slums, but that won’t change their heritage! They are rich! Going back to poverty is just a bad decision, it doesn’t make them NOT royal.
I had a lot of maturing to do. The Counselor was teaching me who I was, and that I didn’t have to fight with those who misunderstood God’s grace. However, fighting was all I knew growing up–it was my go-to for defense. So trying to look “normal” and “behaved” was not natural for my thinking. My upbringing was that of a nightmare: divorce, custody battles, 10 different schools, children shelters, foster homes, being abused by employees of the state–it was bad! I had to have my mind renewed and it was not going to happen instantaneously! This is why Paul said:
“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (See Romans 12:2)
Renewing means ongoing. So for the people who I considered “mean Christians,” what they were saying might not have been incorrect, the problem was their delivery was very forceful. Me, being forced to do something, never turned out good. Sin was always excited and my stinking thinking bucked up as a reflex. However, choosing to sin was not my natural reflex because I was dead to sin! I was holy and blameless in my spirit! (See Colossians 1:22). The renewing of my mind was being played out, I just had to give it time.
Of course, I take full responsibility for my poor choices, but back then, huge contributions to the religious frustrations in my life came flooding in from certain Christians who were attempting to teach me right from wrong. Their approach was terrible. It was an approach of, “Be like me, or else.”
That won’t work! The world doesn’t want that! What they want is Jesus! We don’t have the ability to force-feed the gospel to anyone. Instead, we must show the world who Jesus really is so He will be appealing to them. Self-righteousness is not attractive, but unconditional love is. Fear is a flash in the pan, but relationship is lifelong.
We haven’t earned anything. Everything we have has been given to us for free. This isn’t about you, this isn’t about me, the gospel is about Jesus. Sure, we are partners in this mission–He wants us to use our personalities, gifts, talents, time, and resources for Him–but we must always have the spotlight on Christ in us. It’s not so much what we are saying to people, but how we are saying it. For example, I have a guy on my Facebook friends list who is a Christian and he really wants to post stuff about God. I’m all for that.
***Side note: Facebook was not simply Mark Zuckerberg’s idea, just like the telephone wasn’t simply Alexander Graham Bell’s idea. These were God’s ideas which were placed in man for the advancing of the gospel to the ends of the earth (see Mark 16:15). And now, because of all of this amazing technology, the Bible is coming true before our very eyes! The world is getting smaller as we use this outlet to spread the gospel. Social media ministries are booming! We are no longer confined to a building, or sitting in front of a radio, or even having to watch a television to hear about this Good News! The gospel will soon be global in the deepest parts of this planet’s jungles, deserts, and ice-capped villages! Once this happens, Jesus is coming back! (See Matthew 24:14).
We all need to let people know about Jesus, and even use words if necessary, but my Facebook friend’s approach to doing so is in a non-loving, very aggressive way–and not just toward non-believers but also with other Christians. Even I have to keep scrolling sometimes, thinking to myself, “C’mon man. Please start doing this in a loving manner.” His approach is wrong because it’s extremely disrespectful. It’s very self-righteous, graceless, full of thou-shalts, and it makes Christianity only look attractive to exclusive do-gooders.
Each of us Christians are representatives of Christ. The Bible says, “we are his ambassadors,” and that, “Jesus himself is making his appeal through us” (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). So when we are not being loving, even while being truthful, we are not truly representing Jesus. We must stop telling people what to do, and instead, start letting people know who they could be once they accept Jesus as their Savior: Royalty! Coheirs with Christ! (See Romans 8:17).
So today, my friends, know this: Christians aren’t mean. We might have attitudes and actions that look mean, but we are not mean. We are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and full of self-control (see Galatians 5:22,23). Let’s all begin to show the world the true Body of Christ! Nobody wants a set of rules to live by, remember, rules excite sin! But absolutely everyone wants a loving relationship! Jesus gives us this for free! Let’s show others how amazing this relationship really is, and let’s all be ourselves!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, we want to show people who you are, and you were personified in Christ. As we get to know Him in Spirit, give us the graceful strength we need to let others come to know Him too–through us. Help us to understand who WE are IN you! You say that we are holy, so help us to believe this truth. Help us to live it out. Reshape our minds as we learn how to love others as Jesus loves us. Teach us to represent you well by being who you’ve made us to be! In Christ’s name, amen.
For more of my teachings pick up my books!