When I became a Christian, I entered the process we call “sanctification.” For those who may not totally understand the meaning of this word, it refers to the ongoing process of our being made holy. Essentially, this is what Paul was referring to in the 8th chapter of Romans, specifically verse 29. It mentions that we are being changed into the image of His Son. In other words, we are continuously going through a process wherein God is making us like Jesus. Of course, according to Scripture, this is not our doing but God’s. He saves us, and then sets us apart for this process. Throughout this process, I see a continual struggle in my life between the good that God would have me do and the evil that I have a tendency toward (This is also mentioned by Paul. See Romans 7.).
Logically, what this means is that as life goes on we should become more and more holy. It should get easier and easier to turn from sin. It should be more and more of a reflex to shun sin and embrace holiness…right? Now…I don’t know about you…but this is not really the case for me. It has made me wonder about a lot of things…like, “am I really saved?”…or, “is God going to get sick of me?” Continue reading
I have something to admit. Sometimes (probably more often than not) I will be involved in a conversation with one or more person(s) and the subject will become…somewhat…how should I say…less than righteous. Perhaps it will be that there are off-color jokes being told, or perhaps some crude humor, or maybe even gossip…but nevertheless the conversation would not be something I would be comfortable with a lot of people hearing me involved in. It was said about the basketball legend, Bill Russell, that he did not like coarse humor or inappropriate discussions, and that when he came into the locker room, the language would clean up. So here I am…the pastor of an evangelical Christian church…and people don’t necessarily do that when I come into the room…and I wondered, “why?” Let me be clear…it’s not that I’m offended by these things usually, and it’s not that I think I’m anything special…it’s just that it makes me wonder if people are reacting this way due to the fact that they believe I’m not judgmental or due to the fact that they don’t think that I’m any different.
I’ve not always been a Christian. for years, I entertained different theories and beliefs regarding existence and the afterlife. I have been agnostic, atheistic, new age, etc… During that journey, one thing I came to believe was that Christians were all about conformity. I came to believe that all they cared about was making others like themselves. What I mean by this is that they seemed to only care about how people appeared or acted. My perception was that the Christian ethic was one in which all that mattered was that Christians didn’t drink, swear, watch R-rated movies, go to restaurants that served alcohol, dance…. the list could go on… But all in all I got the idea that Christians essentially didn’t have fun and definitely didn’t associate with anyone who did. One big thing they also didn’t do… they didn’t marry inter-racially or endorse it… I think it’s very fitting at this point to acknowledge that these are stereotypes into which not all Christians fit. For sure, I did not have the whole story in relation to the beliefs of Christians. Continue reading