Friday, February 20, 2015

Christian doesn't mean perfect

Courtney who blogs over at Women Living Well shared this great analogy last week:
"No one joins a Health Club and expects to walk in the first day and find perfectly fit people.  If we see someone terribly out of shape and not using the equipment that isn’t the gym’s fault.  The gym is filled with all types. They are there for different reasons and at different levels of fitness.  Some want to be healthy or lose weight. Others need a place to belong or attention, to be seen as beautiful or to find a date.  Some are young, some are old.  Some are leaders, some are followers.  Some seem to know everyone in the gym while others are newbies and clearly look uncomfortable in their skin."
The analogy described people in the church as she discussed people being wounded by the church.  I LOVE this analogy!  {I think everyone should read that post because it is one of my favorite blog posts ever written!}

I want to take it a bit further because I am tired of the lines I constantly see online like:
"That wasn't very "Christian" of her."
"My atheist friends are nicer than my Christian friends."
"Christians think they are so much better than everyone else."
...and on and on the undercutting attacks towards Christians.  Just because we are Christian, doesn't mean we have it altogether.  We aren't perfect, we have bad days, and we make mistakes!  Like people in the gym, we are at different "fitness levels" spiritually.  And some days we fall off track.

When a person who is on a diet goes to McDonalds, they aren't put down.  They are encouraged to try again the next day.
The health nut who is seen eating a triple scoop ice-cream cone isn't seen as a hypocrite.
A person who just quit smoking and is committing to a healthier lifestyle, isn't ridiculed for slipping and having a smoke.

Yet the same grace isn't extended to Christians.  We are "suppose" to always be perfect and anything less makes us fake and then people use that as an excuse to avoid Jesus.  They justify the failures and mistakes of a few people as evidence that Christianity is a big double standard.

But people who are living the Christian lifestyle CONFESS they are NOT perfect.  That is the whole reason we need Jesus!  We aren't fit and we need the gym!  He is our example... Our perfect Fitness Trainer. He is what we strive to be like.  But our sin nature constantly rages within us.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. {Mark 14:38}.  I mean who likes to work out, even though we know it's good for us?  {Actually don't answer that because I do know some people like that - haha.. but you know what I'm trying to get at!}

This week in Exodus 32, when Moses was on Mount Sinai and the Israelites waited for him at the bottom of the mountain, know what they did? They turned away from the way God commanded them to live.  {Exodus 32:8}. They were "stubborn and rebellious" {Exodus 32:7} people.

Even the people who witnessed God's miracles first hand {release from Egypt, protection from plagues, parting of Red Sea, etc}, messed things up!  People who love God are not better or any worse than anyone else.  We need compassion and love and grace just as much as the next guy.  And we need encouragement when we fall, not a kick while we are down.

And to fellow Christians... Our sin nature constantly battles against the good life God has for us.  We are quick to lose course and must constantly look to Jesus, daily.  We must check in with the great Fitness Trainer.  It's like we are on a treadmill.  If we stop walking, we will fall off the back!  This Christian life requires effort on our part as we battle our "stubborn and rebellious" ways.  We all have things that distract us from God so we need to stop making excuses and keep walking!

To close I'll leave you with a great hymn "Come thou fount".... and specifically these lyrics:
"O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above."
Full song here:

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