When the world thinks of the word “Christian”, is the word “new” the first thing that pops into their mind? Is there something new going on here; something fresh, something better, something I would like to get in on? Unfortunately, the response is often just the opposite. Christianity is associated with old, narrow, conservative…words that carry a negative connotation in today’s marketplace of ideas. We like to say that being misunderstood is just the cost of following Jesus, but could it be we who have misunderstood our own message?
The world will never paint Christianity in a positive light as it operates under the influence of the Evil One (II Cor 4:4). However, all too often we conclude that there is some nefarious plot on the part of the media, academia, the entertainment industry, or our “enemies” to make us look foolish. There is a plot, but it is orchestrated by the Enemy himself and our so called “enemies” in the press and elsewhere are not enemies at all but prisoners of the Enemy as we once were. Our concern is not to silence them, but to set them free.
As for us, is it possible that we have contributed to Satan’s arsenal by our own narrow thinking? Is the Christian life we advertise a new covenant experience or a law-keeping, old covenant approach to spirituality? The ideas of putting on the new self, walking in the Spirit, loving as God loves are all, quite frankly, somewhat nebulous concepts. We prefer a systematic , list-keeping religion. We prefer something we can measure. I can measure lists. I can measure knowledge. I can’t measure love. I can’t measure the movement of the Spirit. The old covenant approach reduces our Christianity to law and takes the supernatural out of our spirituality and, in so doing, removes the exhilaration, the mystery, the breakneck excitement out of the Christian life. Let’s talk more about living into the mystery next time.
5 thoughts on “A New Freedom”
Great post! Very thought provoking. Christianity does, in fact, come across to some as a bondage to rules, rather than a freedom from them!
Really good post. I like that line “Our concern is not to silence them, but to set them free.” Another thought: should we use another word other than Christian instead of trying to explain what we mean by Christian each time?
William, Good question. I often use the description “those who embrace the gospel message of Jesus Christ” in place of “Christian”, but that’s a bit wordy. Any suggestions?
Loving your posts! I feel that the only thing Christians can do, is to live by example, rather than attempt to dictate to others what “rules” they should follow… I have been in churches where Sunday school was about what not to drink, where not to go, why other religions or cults are invalid. There was criticism, judgement, stereotypes, arrogance to name a few… and correct me if I am wrong, but none of these are listed as fruits of the spirit!
Regarding what we should call ourselves, “Christian” simply defines a “Christ follower”, and unfortunately, there is no way to control or influence how that word is interpreted by the person we talk to. “Christian” can mean Baptist, Methodist or Catholic; it can mean Conservative, Anti-abortionists, religious; or “oh, like the guy I used to go to school with that did not drink wine”… depending on the person’s background and their experience with “Christians”, their interpretation can differ and we therefore need to explain, testify, show them through our lives what Christianity is about.
Just like if I say “I am French” to people… that could bring up Paris, Choux a la creme and eclairs, baguette and beret, froggies, non-shaving-non-deodorant-wearing-people, who knows??
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