After I wrote last week’s blog post, I began thinking about some things. I was talking to the girl that I mentor about my testimony. She and I are starting a ministry for young adults in their late teens and early 20s and I just began to share my heart with her about why I’m so passionate about that age group.
Some of you have heard my testimony and some haven’t. I grew up in church. My family was in church almost every day of the week. I knew of God but I didn’t have a relationship with Him. I just went to church. Once I hit my late teen years (17,18) I was over church. I was tired of church people. Also, I wanted to “do me” and to live life the way I wanted to live life. I wanted to do what made me happy and didn’t want to feel guilty about it. In my mind, I couldn’t be one of those people who went to church but lived lives that were completely opposite to what God wanted for them. In my mind, I had a standard of living that a Christian was supposed to uphold. And at the time, I was not trying to live that life!
When I got pregnant with my daughter at 18, that was it for me. I was pretty much done with church. I would go occasionally but I pretty much gave up on going to church. Yeah I loved God and if you asked me, I was Christian, but I wasn’t trying to live that life.
The thing is that I was sending mixed messages. Calling myself a Christian yet not living as such. I was doing exactly what I set out not to do. Well, to be honest, I didn’t care about how it looked. I really didn’t want to feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. By naming the name of Christ but living the way I wanted to live, I was perpetrating a counterfeit Christianity. I was a walking, talking contradiction.
Once Christ arrested my heart and I had that Damascus experience, God began to show me how messed up I was. He was showing me the counterfeit life I lived. He showed me that I was a lukewarm Christian. It sparked a passion in me to really challenge people to completely sell out to God.
I titled this post “Authentic Christianity”. Another word for authentic is genuine. I believe that many people are living lives with the moniker of Christian but their Christianity is counterfeit. I know it because I was one of them.
Have you ever seen the movie “Catch Me If You Can?” It’s about a guy who lived the life of a con artist. He was so good that he conned his way into being a pilot. He was counterfeiting checks and doing all kinds of illegal stuff. After he got caught and served his time, he ended up being a resource for the FBI to help catch counterfeiters. He was good at it because he knew what to look for. He knew what to look for because he was one.
I believe that your Christianity should be visible. People should be able to tell that you’re a Christian before you even open your mouth. Your conduct should exhibit Christlike behavior. When we come to Christ, we go through three stages of renewal.
The first stage is justification. Justification means that we’ve been separated from the penalty of sin. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are removed from the stain of sin. God sees us as righteous. He sees us as if we’ve never sinned. I’ve heard it said that you can think of justify as “just if I” never sinned.
The second stage is sanctification. This is the place that we live out our entire lives. It means that we’ve been separated or from the power of sin. We are set apart as God’s holy and His chosen people. Romans teaches us that we are no longer slaves to sin. Therefore, we are able to be renewed into being like Christ.
The third is glorification. When Christ returns, we will be removed from the presence of sin. Sin will be no more. Although sin’s power has been broken, we still must deal with the repercussions of sin. We live in a sinful world. We still must war against sin daily in our own bodies and in our own flesh. But when Christ returns for His people, we will no longer have struggles in with sin.
We must remember that we are no longer held to the power of sin. As we walk out our lives as believers, in order for the world to be attracted to our Christ, our lives must reflect Him in every way. We can no longer afford to have a Christianity that doesn’t glorify our God but that glorifies ourselves, our wants, and our desires. We must have an authentic Christianity. Counterfeit Christianity must die.
Are you finding yourself struggling with being authentic? Is your life representing Christ or is it representing something else? Ask yourself these questions and allow the Holy Spirit to walk you through it.
In next week’s post, we’ll talk more about sanctification and talk about how to live out this authentic Christianity. If you’re not subscribed to the email list, make sure you do so you don’t miss this post!
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