Summary: What happens when you stay in something long enough to make it a lifestyle while claiming a love for and complete devotion to Christ?
There is something that I struggle to reconcile as a church leader sometimes. It is the incongruency of the peoples’ actions with their claim to love and believe in Jesus Christ. Let me start by admitting that I have done some pretty stupid and sinful things in my life. I have made a complete fool of myself and surely made God cringe at some of my actions. But, what happens when you stay in something long enough to make it a lifestyle while claiming a love for and complete devotion to Christ?
What Jesus Says About This Claim
John 14:15-24 says this:
15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world is unable to receive because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. 19 "In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. 21 The one who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him." 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it You’re going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?" 23 Jesus answered, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine, but is from the Father who sent Me.
So much for living on your own terms, huh!? Jesus, in one sweeping statement, obligates all of humanity to familiarize itself with His way and follow it. Adherance to the type of life that Jesus outlines in His teachings demonstrates a true love for Christ, an appreciation for His sacrifice, and guarantees the favor of God. This is clarified in John 1:12 when John states,
12 But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name
The Children of God
That’s what I want to be called by Christ – a Child of God. Spiritual adoption is such a powerful idea, that God would take me as His own child. But, I can’t take my claim to being a “Christian” as my guarantee of God’s adoption. Read Matthew 7:21:27 carefully what Jesus says:
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, ’Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ’Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ’I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’ 24 "Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!"
Our only evidence of salvation, refered to as regeneration, is a genuine, active desire for and obedience to Christ and seeing the will of God accomplished. It is a death to self and a quickening into a new life where God is the motivation for living each day to its fullest.
We learn false love early on, as disobedient children. We rebel against our own earthly parents and excuse it by claiming youthful ignorance. But, in reallity, disobedience is a result of a lack of respect, honor, and depth of relationship. If we look at the I Corinthians 13 definition of love, we can see that it is a lack of true love.
Do you truly love God the way He asks to be loved? Can you, with clear conscience, claim to be a child of God after reading the scriptures above? If so, then I encourage you to explore the depth of that relationship with everything you have. If not, then you have some decisions to make about your priorities. Do you really love Him, or are you just fooling yourself?