Let me make a distinction – someone who plays golf for a hobby and a professional golfer. For one, it’s a hobby, or something that’s fun and makes them feel good. For the other, it’s a way of life; they eat, sleep and breathe the sport.
There are many people who go to church each week; some of them even go two or three times a week. Maybe they go out during Christmas and Thanksgiving to deliver food or gift packages to the less fortunate. Many wear crosses, WWJD bracelets, and have fish symbols on their cars.
For some, it’s a way of life, for others, it’s about how it makes them feel.
There is a segment of Christians who do it because it’s the right thing to do, and because they want to serve God and their fellow man. Then there is a segment of them who seem to do it because it gives them prestige and attention, and everyone praises them for the wonderful works they do. They have their reward!
Now, am I saying that feeling good about being a Christian is wrong? Absolutely not! What concerns me as I have stated is the intention. I realize we’re all guilty of being hypocritical from time to time, and when we are, we need to repent. But for some, it is all about self, it’s about what they get out of it instead of what they give.
I have more than once, been flipped off by someone driving a car with a fish symbol because I wasn’t driving fast enough. I’ve seen Christian business men behaving in a very unchristian way in their business dealings. I hear Christians who think because they use an euphemism for the “F” word that their salty speech is ok.
I’ve heard so many Christians gossip and speak terribly about another Christian because they had a falling out. Then I read statistics about how many Christians are addicted to pornography.
I realize that we are all sinners, and none of us are perfect. But where is our heart? As Christians, we need to hold ourselves, and each other, to a higher standard.
My reason for writing this post is to check myself against this standard as much as it is to help you check yourself.
Let me share a few scriptures to compare our walk with.
Romans 12:1-2, 9-17
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,”[a] “You shall not covet,”[b] and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[c] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
1 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”[a] 4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I could quote many more scriptures, but I think you get my meaning.
A real Christian walk isn’t something we do, it is who we are. It is something we need to eat, sleep and breath. If we want to wear that crown one day, we must put the same effort into our Christian walk as a pro golfer puts into their golf game. Do we owe God any less?
We must make God, and our relationship with Him, our top priority. I guess it might be the difference between being a spiritual hobbyist and a disciple.
Which are you?