Christian or not a Christian? That is the Question!
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
Is there a concrete way that we can tell if someone is a Christian? Is it by the way one talks or dresses? Is it by having a title or a position in the church? What about if they have a lot of money? Is that how we can tell? I want to share a short story with you from my life as we dive deeper into this question.
Some years back when I radically turned to the Lord, I started attending a church where I met someone who took me under their wing to “disciple me”. I held this person in very high esteem because I thought of them as super spiritual which made me want to be as spiritual as they were. Coming out of the world, I had a certain look to me that probably didn’t look very holy. As I spent more and more time with them, they began to teach me how to dress and how to conduct myself like a “Christian woman”.
Often times I would hear them say how a godly woman doesn’t do things in this certain way or that certain way. So when someone would act outside of the way this person was teaching how a Christian woman is supposed to “act”, I immediately judged them as not being a Christian. I also began to notice certain key words they used that were very spiritual in normal everyday conversation, as if saying them let other people know they were Christian.
I to began speaking this way as I spent lots of time with this person. You could say I was picking up on the Christian lingo. I began to notice that people felt uncomfortable around me at work and even in my family simply because the way I talked. I later found out that they did not feel uncomfortable because of how holy I was, like I thought, but rather because they felt I was judging and critiquing everything they did.
After certain things that progressed God separated me from that mentoring relationship and showed me I had to unlearn some things that were drilled into my belief system of how to "be" Christian. One of the first things Lord made me aware of was "the lingo". I formed a habit of saying things just because they sounded spiritual. The Holy Spirit began to make me aware of it. When it would happen it started to get on my nerves. After noticing that my prayer began to change, “God, I don’t want to sound spiritual, I want to be spiritual!” The Lord started to bring little things like this to my attention. I didn’t even know who I was because I had allowed the influence of this person to mold my outward appearance to look the part instead of allowing God do the work from the inside out.
You see, God does a hidden work in a person that comes through from inside the heart and manifest’s itself on the outside of the person. He shines out of your eyes. His fragrance begins to seep from every part of your life because you can’t contain Him anymore, He has taken over all of you. Samuel the prophet made the mistake of judging who he thought God had chosen for King by looking at the outer appearance. God Spoke to Samuel and corrected him saying, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."… (1 Sam. 16:7)
Jesus also taught the disciples how to tell if a person belonged to Him or not.
Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them”.
God is more concerned about the condition of your heart than the condition of your wardrobe, or how shiny and new your car is, or even if you sound the part of a christian. I have met many people who say they are Christians, but the fruit that is hanging from their tree does not match who they profess to be in the spirit. That puzzled me for a long time. I would think to myself “But all they ever talk about is Jesus”, I would ponder… But when I eat from their tree, I would get a mouth full of pride. You see, if I stand in a garage, it does not make me a car. In the same way, if I go to church and look the part doesn’t make me a Christian. Friends, the scriptures are true.
These are the fruits of the Gods Holy Spirit:
Galatians 5:22, 23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law".
A person can’t sound holy enough to be holy. They can’t look holy enough to be holy. And no matter how much money a person has, it can not buy holiness. Holiness comes through the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We repent and become born again by the Spirit of God. Then He takes up residence in us and as we yield to God everyday, He begins to transform us from the inside. I was so relieved when I found this out. Thank God I don’t have to look, sound or act the part. I can just be His by the price Jesus already paid. Everyday God does the work that needs to be done in my life by molding me and shaping me by His Spirit, not by my human effort. Friends it is relationship with Jesus Christ and His Spirit living in us that makes us Christian. Washed and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Himself.
Beth Holiman is a Christian teacher and minister. She is a worshiper and moves in many gifts of the Holy Spirit.
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