Christian. Failure. Fake. Which one of these words doesn’t belong? That’s a trick question, if you ask me. Someone, somewhere, one day decided that the word Christian was synonymous with the word perfect and it appears the whole world has bought into this idea. I’ve never been accused of being the sharpest tool in the shed but this is horrible for a couple of obvious reasons. First, no one on this Earth has ever been perfect except the Son of God. Second, even it it were possible to attain perfection, the definition of what that looks like is a moving target. It’s like you tell people you are a Christian and people immediately place unrealistic standards on your behavior that set you up for eventual failure. Now here my out when I say that I absolutely think Christians are held to a higher ethical and moral standard and people should see us as ‘different’. What I am talking about here are the unrealistic standards of perfection people seem to hold you to when you mess up and are *gasp* human. And what’s worse, we Christians do it to other Christians all.the.time. They look something like this:
- You are a Christian but you lose your temper and post something on social media out of anger/hurt/betrayal. *Let the stone throwing commence.
- You say you are a Christian but you are in a bad mood (because we do occasionally get in those), you’ve been waiting in the check out line at Walmart for thirty blessed minutes and your hormones are all out of whack because you messed up your birth control (again). You lose it on your kids in the check out line when they ask you for a Skylander/Shopkins mystery box for the fifty ninth time in three minutes. *Elderly couple from your church standing in the next line whisper about how you need to “get yourself to the alter next Sunday” because surely you are a backslider with a temper like that.*
- You are a Christian and you stand your ground and tell people when they are participating in sin or refuse to buy into the idea that if the world accepts something, we should too. Even at the cost of going against our own biblical standard. *You are a judgmental, hypocrite and need to get off your “high horse” and recognize your own sin*
- You are a Christian but you stand up for yourself when someone wrongs you and cause a disagreement. *You must not be a Christian at all because no Christian would ever cause a disagreement or speak up for themselves*.
The list could literally go on forever. Maybe you’ve been in one of these situations I’ve mentioned above. People love to use the word hypocrite, judgmental and self-righteous; just to name a few. But here’s a news flash for all you folks reading this blog. A Christian is a sinner SAVED by grace. That’s it. And you know what grace means? It means “the free and unmerited favor of God”. So basically, we get the favor of God, even though we don’t deserve it. Even though we sometimes do things we shouldn’t. Even though we sometimes say things we wish we hadn’t. Once we accept Jesus into our spirit, he resides there. Our spirit then, by default, is perfect because Jesus is living there and he makes it new. It’s our flesh that we wrestle with daily. We sin, we fall short, we are undeserving. It seems like this grace would be easy enough to accept and also give but we’ve placed these unrealistic expectations on each other and our enemy uses them like a deadly arrow, piercing us right through the heart.
I often think of my walk with Christ more like a run in a race. I imagine myself running along, the sun shining on me, the wind blowing my face like a cool breeze, I can see the finish line and I am feeling great but then out of no where, and I trip and fall over a giant rock right in my path. It’s not just a graceful fall either, it’s a dramatic, somersault, broken bone, bloody shins kind of fall. I almost got to the finish line but got the wind knocked out of my sails and didn’t make it. Can anyone relate? Those rocks in our path as we are running our race with Christ can be the lies the enemy tells us when others place unrealistic expectations of our Christianity on us. He takes what that elderly couple whispered behind your back in the check out line and he manifests it until it takes up so much room in your thoughts that you believe you are a fake, a failure in your walk with Jesus. Pretty soon you aren’t focusing on the task the Lord has for you on this Earth, or the talents he has given you. You are focusing on other lies that the enemy is feeding you through this measure of perfection that we hold each other to.
Maybe nobody has told you this today but I’m here to tell you that the devil is a LIAR and the father of it. As a matter of fact, the bible says there is no truth in him. Let me say that again. There is no truth in him. So that means that all those lies you believe about yourself, all those measures of perfection and criticism that we hold each other to, they are all lies. The bible tells me Satan is literally incapable of telling the truth. Any negative emotion or feeling you have about yourself is an untruth from the pit of Hell. You feel worthless because Satan is using others to convince you that it’s true? Well, sister, let me tell you, you are worth far more than rubies in the eyes of the Lord.
I have felt like a failure in my own walk with the Lord recently. I have been made to feel like I am a fake. And it has been a terrible struggle of spirit and flesh ever since. I questioned who I was in Christ. I pondered my walk with him and reflected on my words and actions to see if I had veered off the path of righteousness. This morning, I was even contemplating going to church at all. I was having a pity party in the largest fashion. But as I was talking with God, he reminded me of Peter. Peter was a disciple of Jesus and his list of accomplishments was great. He was one of Jesus’ inner group of three. He wrote two books in the bible. By all means, he was a true follower of Christ. But you know what else Peter did? He also often spoke without thinking and was impulsive. He DENIED Jesus three times, even after Jesus told him he would do this. What a failure and fake he must have felt like denying Jesus as he was being nailed to the cross! Peter was a human and by all standards, humans are subject to the attack of the enemy. I can’t be sure but I can bet that the devil had a hay day playing with Peter’s heart and mind over the denial of Christ. If he would have believed the lies of the enemy and given up on his walk with Christ, he would not have been able to go on and preach the gospel after Jesus’ ascension into Heaven. And what a shame that would have been.
I am a sinner. Through and through. I’ve never claimed to be perfect or to know it all. I will mess up again probably before I post this blog. BUT I am also saved by grace. I have a God who gives me forgiveness and mercy especially when I don’t deserve it. You are a sinner too. You can also be saved by grace, if you aren’t already. But let’s agree on something, ok? Tomorrow let’s wake up and begin truly seeing others through the lens that God uses. He knows we are sinners. He loves us anyway. He knows we are sinners. He gives us grace we don’t deserve. He knows we are sinners. He forgives us even when we don’t deserve it. My study bible describes Peter and sums his life lesson up like this: It is better to be a follower who sometimes fails than one who fails to follow.
John 8: 44 ” He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for their is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for his a liar and the father of lies.