This past weekend I got to spend some much needed time with one of my best friends. We were standing in her kitchen Saturday morning, drinking coffee, and talking about Jesus. What better combination than that??
I wouldn’t call myself (or my friend) bandwagon Christians…we don’t really follow the latest trends in mainstream Christianity, like “I am Second,” “Coffee and the Word,” or whatever the latest hashtag and Instagram Christian thing is. We are pretty traditional in our styles, in my opinion. Anyway, I mentioned something that really has bothered me lately with the mainstream: Claiming to love Jesus but openly and willingly sinning with pride. I keep seeing “Christian” shirts with sayings like “I love Jesus…but I cuss a little.” I get that the as Christians we want to relate to people in order to share Christ with them, but I am pretty positive this isn’t the way.
I’ve noticed over the past couple of years, especially in an attempt to get the young adult generation involved, people tend to mold Christianity to fit their lifestyle instead of changing their lifestyle to fit the image of Christ. We go to Bible studies and group prayer meetings to learn about Jesus but instead we are playing my horse is bigger than your horse with our sin. I’ve witnessed this too many times to be comfortable with it. We sit there and talk about our latest sin in life, whether it be having sex out of wedlock, lusting, selfishness, greed, porn addiction, whatever it may be, and try and outdo one another in sin. We add to the end that we aren’t doing much to try and change that habit but Jesus died for our sins so it’s okay because we are all going to sin anyway and this is just the particular sin I choose to do. I’m guilty of doing just that because it’s easier to sin than repent and turn away. I get it. And I am not saying people are purposefully doing this it is just something that became the norm over time; however, I have had people blatantly tell me that the Cross was to cover their sin so they are going to do what they want to have fun (there is so much wrong with that!).
Brothers and sisters, we MUST stop doing this. We are called higher as followers of Christ and we cannot allow ourselves to fall into the desires of the flesh and be okay with it. We are to be set apart and to not look like the world. We cannot use Jesus as a crutch to justify sinning but still want to claim Him as Lord over our lives. As Lord, you are to follow Him, obey Him, and adhere to His teachings. Our flesh is weak, yes, but He is bigger than that. He has struggled through it with you and will carry you through it.
We must deny ourselves and our flesh daily. We MUST choose His way over our own.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone were to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life?” Matthew 16:24-26
People tend to think when you become a Christian that you are automatically going to become perfect, like it’s some magic spell cast on you and you no longer sin. Boy is that a HUGE misconception about what being a Christian is like. Since my salvation, and according to the testimonies of my friends after their salvation, it’s even harder to not sin. I don’t desire to sin since it’s an act against God but my flesh still wants things of this world and Satan attacks all things good. He will do everything in his power to work against God and persuade you to sin. I find myself struggling more often the stronger my relationship with the Lord is but I find more peace in seeking Him during that time. I am not a slave to sin but a slave of righteousness and I must choose the righteous path no matter how hard it is.
We must have a community of believers around us and supporting us. We can’t be complacent to their sin or our sin either and do nothing about it. If someone is sinning, in love correct them. Do not tell them it’s okay to sin but encourage them to repent, pray for them, pray with them, hold them accountable. Brothers and sisters, we MUST live a life that sets us apart. We cannot surround ourselves in the way of the world. I am so guilty of this and I admit I give into my flesh more times than I deny it some days. I am a sinner but I am saved by grace but I know I cannot use that as an excuse to continue in my fleshly ways. Always seek the Lord, pray to Him, He will NEVER FAIL YOU. Don’t give into the lies Satan plants in your mind, don’t let a temporary pleasure cloud your eternal joy.
There are times in life the non-Christians will challenge us as believers and throw our sin in our faces. I know that has happened to me several times before and it will always be something that comes up. My friend said something that really stuck with me as a way to reply to that type of statement. It’s a thought I’ve had but could never put it into words and she says it so beautifully. We are hypocrites, we say we shouldn’t sin, but we do sin, it’s inevitable. We cannot deny that and if we do, that’s saying we have no need for a Savior. However, the difference between a believer and non-believer is that “I have chosen to follow Christ and have been saved by His grace. And because of that grace, I’m driven to obey His commands and follow Him. But it doesn’t mean I won’t mess up.” Thank God, we are covered by His AMAZING GRACE.
I hope this encourages you to reevaluate your walk with Christ and the things in your life that you feel aren’t aligned with His teachings and the morals He has for us. Yes, He died for our sins so we could live eternally with Him but do not take that for granted and use it for your own personal, worldly gain. Sin is NOT OKAY. Let what He did on the Cross at Calvary be a reminder to always seek righteousness and let what His flesh did for us guide you to deny your flesh for His glory.
And to my friend Jesse, I love you. Thank you for loving me through my flaws and always pouring coffee into my cup and Jesus into my heart.