Thursday, August 25, 2011

Radical Behavior!

Philippians 3:17-21

     Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. Their future is eternal destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and all they think about is this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same mighty power that he will use to conquer everything, everywhere.

     Paul followed hard after Christ. He tried to pattern his life in the exact image of Jesus Christ so that he could be the ultimate example that others could follow and replicate. He knew that to become a Christ follower, one must die to self and unfortunately, many in Paul’s day weren’t willing to do that and so they rode the fence when it came to living and acting like a Christian. They acted one way when they were surrounded by other Christians, but then lived in total opposition to Christ when they were off in their own world.

     Paul also understood the philosophy that heaven was his real home, and that time on earth was only a mission or job that God had entrusted to him. So he lived in accordance to that philosophy, building up treasures in heaven rather than on earth.

     In today’s day and age, Paul would be considered a radical Christian. He had no earthly possessions, wandered around the world preaching and teaching about a God and His Son that were basically invisible, picked up work wherever he could, and spouted off concepts that most people could not even understand, much less put into practice. I believe he would be ostracized and ridiculed if he lived in our present society and world. But the truth to the matter is that Paul was and still is the ultimate example of what a Christ follower should look and act like. His behavior and actions should be the norm, not the exception to the rule.

     True Christianity is supposed to be a radical lifestyle, one where we act and think differently than the world around us. If we blend in with the world, tell the same jokes, model the same behaviors, hoard up the same possessions, and value the same priorities, then I believe we need to reevaluate what we consider Christianity. Paul calls those that behave in the same way as the world, enemies of the cross of Christ.

     Wow! When you think about it in that way, it brings a whole new meaning and responsibility to carrying the title of “Christian”. It’s no wonder that we “Christians” have made a bad reputation for ourselves. We throw the title around, but don’t have the actions to back it up. We are unfortunately known as stingy, unfriendly, judgmental hypocrites. That is not what Jesus Christ intended for us. I believe all we need to reevaluate the true meaning of Christianity and whether or not we are truly walking it out in our own personal lives.

     Do you call yourself a Christian? Do you believe your actions line up with what it means to be a Christian? Are your behaviors and actions different than those in the world around you? Spend some quiet, reflective time today, contemplating and reevaluating what it really means to be a Christ follower. Ask the Lord to show you the patterns and behaviors that you may need to work on in your own personal life as a Christ follower.

Have a great day!  

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