Being a Christian is not about preaching. It’s not about testifying. It’s not about looking good to someone else so we can draw someone to the Lord. First and foremost, it’s about walking the walk; it’s about living the talk, what Jesus taught, in your life. It’s not about putting on some attitude or the other so that it can be seen. It’s about God’s Truth coming from deep within you, so that you are who you are without artifice.
I think so often of Francis of Assisi’s charge to his new disciples: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” We annoy others by telling them what’s right for them without even knowing who they are. We turn them off by not having integrity, by being hypocrites. We preach because we don’t yet have the deep relationship with God that shines through everything we do. We call out another’s sins as if we are without sin. We quote chapter and verse that we can’t as yet live. It’s a truism that the more adamant we are, the less we know of God from our own experience, the more we are parroting what someone else has told us, not our own deep experience of God.
Jesus above all had integrity: he was the same inside and out. He lived what he believed. He embraced all kinds of people. He certainly did teach, but I believe that what drew people to him was his love, his interest in the other person, his concern for what someone wanted even before he healed them. He didn’t shame people like the prostitute. He only told her to go and sin no more. And he challenged those who were without sin to throw the first stone at her. Everyone there walked away.
He stood up for what he believed. He didn’t let the Jewish or Roman authorities change who he was, even when his own life was at stake. He knew deep within himself who he was and whose he was.
Jesus is not just the focus of our beliefs, he is the model for what we can become if we will put ourselves in God’s hands and follow his lead. It’s not that we’re to do what Jesus did, but that we’re each to become who God created each one of us to be. The potential lies with us to become as loving, as integrated, as unwavering as Jesus was before his people and his enemies. Beliefs alone will not help us realize this potential within. It takes dedication, perseverance and above all the ability to partner with God, to listen and to heed what he says to us, to offer up our lives in their totality—heart, mind, soul and body—to the Lord. It takes attuning our lives to the One who created us, so that we will realize our created selves and leave behind all the cultural dictates that rule us now.
If our prayers are all about what we want or what we think should happen, if we don’t surrender our lives to the Lord, if we continue to be the kinds of people we’ve always been, if we’re only dipping our toes in the water rather than diving into the life in Christ, we will remain in charge of our lives and allow God only a little bit of space in us to work with. Since the Lord won’t come crashing in where he is not wanted, since his voice is the quietest one with in us, we remain in charge, nominally Christian, but not the transformed and healed, dedicated and surrendered people of God.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I walking the walk, living as Jesus taught us? Have I put my whole self in Christ’s hands? Or am I holding back so that I don’t have to change?
Check out this video on YouTube: “Does the Gospel Serve our Purposes or Do We Serve the Gospel? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wryesgONNXQ
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 John 8:1-11
 John 8:1-11