Mark Twain is quoted as saying; “If Christ were here now there is one who is jesus christ.” The sad truth is the way many people who claim to be Christians today live their lives, Mr. Twain would be correct. A Christian by definition is a person who believes in and strives to live as Jesus Christ would live. Christianity is not an organized religion, it is not a certain denomination, it is a way of life.
Recently in the news, I’ve seen way too many news stories of child abuse, cruelty to children, and other disgusting actions. These acts are terrible in themselves, but what also really frustrates me is when the story goes on to state that the person committing the acts claims to be a Christian, or is a member of some church that lists Christianity as its foundation. Some of these people use Christianity as an excuse for their actions. Equally exasperating is when someone commits murder or other crimes, and then says something like; “God told me to do it!”
I see a major dilemma in America and the world, of people claiming to be of the Christian faith, but not acting in a manner that backs up their claims. People such as these ruin and destroy the name of God, and devastate the impression that the world has of true Christianity.
The problem is there are many people who know about God from what they’ve heard at church, things their parents have told them, and programs they’ve seen on television. However, just knowing about God doesn’t change lives. In order for someone to truly be a Christian, they must have a personal relationship with God.
Let me illustrate it this way. I have letters from President Bush. I even have several Christmas cards from the White House. I’ve read the President’s story, and watched him as he’s led our country. So, I know a lot about him. However, if I were to call up the White House, and say; “This is Joshua, patch me through to the Oval Office.” I wouldn’t get to talk to President Bush, because he doesn’t have a clue who I am. I know about him, but I don’t personally know him.
The same is true in regards to a lot of people’s “Christianity”. They know a great deal about God, about the Bible, and about certain rituals and traditions of their certain denominations, but they have no personal relationship with God. And that isn’t just referring to people who commit crimes and then claim to be “Christians”. There are even pastors, church leaders, and others who claim the name of Jesus Christ, but whose life hasn’t been changed.
The Bible even mentions these kinds of people:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you…” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Notice He says; “I never knew you”, which indicates there was never a personal relationship. So, just because someone “claims” to be a Christian, and even preaches or promotes the Christian faith, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are a Christian. There are some people who only are in it for the money or the fame, and then there are those who only think of Christianity as a “fire escape” from hell. There are also people who twist the Bible around to form their own version of Christianity. You can tell a genuine Christian by the way they live, and I’ll get more into that in a moment.