Trying to Understand Christianity and Christian behavior

Both religion and politics are of this world. As a believer in Christ, though I am in the world, I am not of this world. That’s what my Bible tells me. Christianity is about a people, a people with a belief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God whom He sent to this world to save a people from the surety of eternal death. Will every human believe this truth? Sadly, no. Still, how does the layman begin to understand the complexity of the living God? Scripture says that no man can know the mind of God (1Corinthians 2:11). Through the centuries many an individual has claimed insight into both the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. As Rich Mullins is often quoted, “We were given the Scriptures to humble us into realizing that God is right, and the rest of us are just guessing.” That’s how I often feel. The more I look at the behavior and attitudes, actions and reactions of Christians that I have walked alongside for the last thirty-plus years the more I question whether we were reading out of the same Bible. We believe in the same God, the same gospel, but to me they look like cult followers. It’s as if they are incapable of independent thought. And yet, that’s how I probably appear to them.

I can imagine Jesus looking down to the earth weeping and laughing at the thoughts and actions of man. If anything were beyond His knowledge, I would bet he would be scratching His head. But I am confident that God, the Creator of all things, is not on His throne wondering what the heck is going on down here. So many preachers and teachers are busy playing politics and plotting to establish a moral world that will never exist outside the heavenly realm. These preachers and teachers are too busy fighting for their worldly entitlements, supposedly Biblical entitlements, and for the life of the unborn, they ignore the cries of the born, the ones that need to hear the message of God. They are busy condemning a world for its immorality that they don’t see the log in their eye. All they accomplish with their sanctimonious battle cry is to mock God. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

How did I get to this place where all I see is the church as a political machine for extremist religious politics? The church is failing its mission to share the gospel. Instead, it spews out religious rhetoric about the sanctity of life as it throw in infusions of hate in the name of God. It should not surprise me when church leaders defile themselves and the sanctuary. That was my experience with the church thirty-plus years ago. Deception in the church is pervasive (2 Peter 2). It always has been. The preacher wants me to believe that my battles are against flesh and blood. Many of these pastors teach that I need to be defending life as if life were in the hands of mankind. Marching the halls of the Capitol, protesting godless laws, none of these actions will deter a determined enemy. But how many Christians know the enemy? As a Christian, the ability to recognize the enemy is in Christ. As a Christian, my faith is in God alone.

From what I see, hear and experience, Christianity has been redefined, or rather, it has been hijacked and it represents a Jesus that pops out of a bottle and in His name gives believers all their heart’s desires. As a Christian, to be accepted I have to accept that God gives everyone life, a prosperous life. He wants to give me a prosperous, healthy and happy life. All I have to do is claim it. When things go wrong its because I have little faith. It’s because of something I did wrong, not because God is working in my life to transform me into His image.

The church seems to represent a God that will destroy the wicked right here on earth and create some kind of exclusive utopian society where only the perfect are welcomed. As long as I am in this world, I know these are lies straight out of hell. Tribulation and persecution is on the schedule of every true believer. If the love of any has grown cold, it is the love of God’s people for the lost. God indeed does bless His people, according to His will. He gives life and He alone takes life. But as in all things God, it is He we should be praising and not His creations. Life is one of God’s gifts, but the greatest gift is salvation.

God can heal the brokenhearted. He can heal the sick. God Almighty can do what He wants, if He wants, but God is a merciful God. God is a loving God. All that God has ordained will come to pass, according to His will and on His time clock. I believe that. Yes. He hates sin, that’s why He sent Jesus. And to God, sin is sin. Only Jesus would accomplish the one thing no human could do, die for the sin of all. And to the cross, Jesus willingly went.

Jesus Christ is Christianity

Christianity is love and compassion, and grace and mercy.

“Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.” ― Rich Mullins

Christianity is sacrifice.

Hebrews 13:16 “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

Romans 12:1-2
“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. 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.”

Never forget what Jesus did for you. Never take lightly what it cost Him. And never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won’t also cost you yours.” ― Rich Mullins

Christianity is is available to all, but not all believe.

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

“The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart — it is a book full of all the greed and glory and violence and tenderness and sex and betrayal that benefits mankind. It is not the collection of pretty little anecdotes mouthed by pious little church mice — it does not so much nibble at our shoe leather as it cuts to the heart and splits the marrow from the bone. It does not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions, but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask.” ― Rich Mullins

Christianity is about surrender. Matthew 16:24; Philippians 2:12-13

“We do not find happiness by being assertive. We don’t find happiness by running over people because we see what we want and they are in the way of that happiness so we either abandon them or we smash them. The Scriptures don’t teach us to be assertive. The Scriptures teach us—and this is remarkable—the Scriptures teach us to be submissive. This is not a popular idea.”
― Rich Mullins

“We were given the Scriptures to humble us into realizing that God is right, and the rest of us are just guessing.” ― Rich Mullins

Rich Mullins (1955-1997) expressed these thoughts over twenty years ago, but twenty years later they continue to ring true. The church today, more than ever, is infested with false doctrine, false teachers, false prophets. Jesus told us the wolves in sheep clothing had already infiltrated the church. It’s interesting that Rich Mullins encouraged folks to read their Bible, and go to church “because those folks care about you“, still he was critical of evangelicals. Back twenty years ago when Rich Mullins expressed his thoughts, the church environment was vastly different that it is today. The megachurch and evangelicals had not yet risen to the status they hold today.

Truly who are the blessed? Jesus gave us a list in the Beatitudes Matthew 5:5-11

5 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Be blessed.

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