You know that surprising moment when we find out someone in our life is a Christian but we had no idea? Without fail, we get happy, and God suddenly becomes the focus of our conversations, but how could we miss such an important detail in their life, especially since it is supposed to be the biggest part? But what about us, are we undercover Christians to people around us because our lives are not transformed in an obvious way?
Do Our Lives Undeniably Radiate God’s Character
Sadly, this is an easy one, as the answer is generally no
Sure, we are obviously wearing a Christian label when we go to church, Bible studies, youth group ice-cream socials, etc…, but when we are out in the world, it is not very easy to identify who the Christians are
The reason for this is fairly simple, as, like it or not, most Christians’ lives have not been transformed to the point where there is no hiding their relationship with God
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind
Think about it like this, in your workplace, school or social circle, you know who parties, who is dating who, what vacations people are taking, who is a foodie, who went to what bar, what people are listening to, etc…, and that is even before we look at their Facebook news feeds
As a basic rule of human interaction, and also why Facebook exists in the first place, is we like to share, and talk about what is important to us, or what is important/relevant to the people around us
Jesus himself talked about this, as human nature has not changed since then
For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
Since people talk about, and focus on, what they find valuable, this is where the undercover Christian issue arises, as many are not walking intimately with God in a way that visibly shows a relationship they value enough to share, let alone demonstrate by example, as they prefer to talk, act, and think like the world in a way that keeps their Christian identity hidden
To be fair, it is not the easiest thing to open up and talk about our relationship with God, as we are not typically going to win any popularity contests due to the amount of negative opinions about Christianity, and it does not help that there are an abundance of hypocritical people out there misrepresenting the gospel, which is why we need to be careful how we conduct ourselves in front of others
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone
How Can We Be Representatives Of The Gospel If We Talk, And Act Like Everyone Else
Many Christians quote the scripture where Jesus said we are the light of the world, but he also said we are supposed to demonstrate our relationship with God so that his work in us may be seen publicly
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven
Based on this passage, we see Jesus was not simply stating we are the light of the world as some sort of pat on the back, he said we must live according to God’s truth, and also visibly demonstrate how a relationship with God can change people’s lives
A lot of people talk about how we should live in the world but not be of it, but the reality is, the world is all over us, and surrounds us in everything we do, which means we have to go out of our way to demonstrate what living apart from it looks like
It is important to understand Jesus’ instructions to share our light with the world did not mean we should just constantly post inspirational Bible quotes on Facebook, occasionally hit the “like” button on our favorite Christian authors as if it was some kind of radically important statement, or awkwardly listen to Christian music in the car when we drive around with friends, it means actually doing things (*gasp*) that show how much we love one another, and by living above the sins we were once held captive by before becoming Christians
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator
It seems like an overly simplified point, but loving one another, and living righteously in accordance with God’s power within us, is what the gospel is about, and we must do everything possible to privately, and publicly honor this message with sincerity, honesty, and gratitude in every aspect of our lives
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel
It is no secret people often speak negatively of Christianity due to the level of public scandals, hypocritical behavior, and negative experiences people have had at the hands of people who called themselves Christians, which is why it is so important to live in a way that reflects God’s character at all times
If we are truly thankful for God’s love, we should do everything possible to not tarnish his image in the eyes of the world
1 Peter 3:15-16
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander
We are all in various stages of spiritual growth, but it is important to be honest with ourselves, and objectively compare our lives to the Bible’s teachings, as we should be eager to change our lives to be more like Jesus, as he served as the ultimate example of Christian love by laying down his life for us, and by leading a sinless life
Living according to God’s righteous standards means we will enthusiastically work to overcome sin, and actively pursue opportunities to share God’s love with one another , not speak words or wear a label as if that is the extent of God’s work in our hearts
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth
What is incredibly sad, is how many Christians look for excuses to hold onto as much of their old lives as possible without going “too far”, when they should really be living the complete opposite way, by seeking to live for God in a way that seems crazy to the non-believers around them because they are so radically different
Also, what inspiration would anyone have to become a Christian if there is nothing interesting or unique about it?
I mean think about it, what makes Christianity different in the eyes of the average person if our lives look just like a non-believer or someone from another religion–that is not exactly the best representation of the gospel!
This means we must work hard to let go of all unspiritual things that anchor us to our old lifestyles like bad music/movies/entertainment/partying, etc…, and make every effort to love others, and God, in the same manner he loved us, ie: passionately, and without a second thought
If our lives are not transformed by the amazing power of God’s righteousness within us, we are just doing it wrong!
doing it wrong…I never thought of it that way!
I found this article very applicable to my life. “What is incredibly sad, is how many Christians look for excuses to hold onto as much of their old lives as possible without going “too far”, when they should really be living the complete opposite way, by seeking to live for God in a way that seems crazy to the non-believers around them because they are so radically different.” Reading this struck me so hard because I find myself doing this every single day. How far can I go without going “too far”?. It’s sad that I am trying so hard to hang onto my old life when I have been made new by the blood of Jesus.