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Churchgoer or Christian?

Some people claim to be a Christian based merely on the fact that they attend church on Sunday mornings. Attending church occasionally or even faithfully on Sunday does not make you a Christian any more than owning a musical instrument makes you a musician.

Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, choosing to follow His instruction and commands in the Bible, and actively pursuing a relationship with Jesus is what makes you a Christian.

We cannot attend church on Sunday and live our life however we choose the rest of the week and think that we are a God-fearing, God-loving Christian. We cannot expect for God to speak to us or work in our lives if we are not reading His Word, the Bible.

There are many people in the world that will claim to be a Christian but cannot explain what they believe or why. Many will claim to be a Christian and yet deny that Jesus is the son of God, was crucified on the cross, resurrected on the third day, and will return again.

Some will claim to be a Christian yet have never read the Bible. Some will say they are a Christian and then make claims about who Jesus is that are untrue.

There are many self-proclaimed Christians in the world that are misleading people by their actions, words, and lack of true understanding.

My point in this is just because someone says they are a Christian does not mean they are following the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Just because someone attends church on Sundays, does not mean they are saved or any more of a true Christian than someone who has never attended church.

Are you a churchgoer or a Christ following Christian?

Let me just say, it is okay if you are finding that you fall into the latter of the two. I attended church for many years and never read the Bible outside of the four walls. I found that I was a mess six of the seven days of the week because only one day was filled with Christ and His guidance.

I found myself ‘buying in’ to many secular views of Christ, the church, and myself. I found that I was grasping on to false doctrine and half-truths at best and basing my entire worldview on them.

How could this be possible when I was a self-proclaimed Christian?

Simply put, I was putting more of the world into my life and my mind then I was of God and His Word.

I was trusting in people of this world to teach me who God is, to satisfy me, guide me, instruct me, and love me, instead of the one who created me and truly knows me.

The one who has plans to prosper me and not to harm me, the one who has my purpose and days already laid out before me. The one who is always near, never leaves me nor forsakes me, the one who saved me from the depths of despair and sin.

The one who gave up His life to give me mine and the one who redeemed me and gave me new life in Him.

Have you found yourself in a similar position? Perhaps you have discovered you are taking in more of the secular world than you are Jesus and His Word.

When we find ourselves in this situation we need to stop, repent, and refocus our life and attention to the Bible. There is great danger in claiming to be a God-fearing Christian and yet living your life as if you do not know Jesus at all.

One of the biggest dangers in this is misrepresenting who Jesus is and the price He paid for each of us. All while misleading yourself and others in their spiritual life.

When we praise Jesus in one breath and curse his creation or will in another; we are misrepresenting Christ, His power, and His authority over our lives.

We are portraying that there is no real reason to follow Jesus when we ‘look’ like the rest of the world in our speaking and actions. Ultimately, we are portraying that there is no real, life changing power in accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

There are also self-proclaiming Christians who are believing in the Jesus that the world has taught them about, instead of the Jesus from the Bible. This is dangerous because these individuals may mean well, but their lack of knowledge of the Bible causes them to easily fall prey to false doctrine and then begin repeating and spreading such things.

This is where the widely accepted ideas of the culture come from. Someone takes something they think they heard from the Bible, adds their own spin on it, and then regurgitates the garbage for others to grasp on to as truth.

Planting seeds of doubt and deception and spreading a false gospel without even realizing it.

I can’t even begin to explain to you what it felt like to open the Bible and begin reading God’s Word for myself. There were so many emotions and so much ‘garbage’ I believed that needed to be removed.

The saddest part is that a lot of the garbage I heard and believed about God and His character came from others claiming to be Christians! Some of these things are even taught in local churches.

We often times grasp on to what others say as if it were the gospel itself, never considering that they could be simply regurgitating what someone else has told them or even speaking from a place of hurt or trauma from their own life.

We put way too much weight on other people’s words, treating everything we see or hear as absolute truth. The Bible tells us to not believe every spirit, but to test the spirits, to know if they are of God. (1 John 4:1)

As children we are often taught to ‘do as we are told’, to not question those in authority, and given reasons of ‘because I said so’. Although I do understand where these thought concepts come from and have even said some things like this myself; I now also understand that this can be a tool used by Satan for many things.

A tool that can cause us to explain away everything without any evidence or research. A tool that keeps us trapped causing us to never seek and find the real answers that are available in the Bible. A tool that Satan uses to keep us bound and trapped in sin and darkness.

The good news is that God has given us His Word, and it is the most powerful tool in our toolbox. Let’s look at what the Bible says about God’s Word.

2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Isaiah 40:8 – The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

John 17:17 – Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

John 6:63 – It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

I leave you with these last few thoughts.

I lived most of my life believing things that my father taught me without ever questioning any of it. Things about myself, relationships, God, and life in general. Only to find out in my late twenties to early thirties that it was all a lie. He was not the person he pretended to be, and it all exploded in my face when he laid his hands on me and I decided I was done with the abuse and control.

It was one of the hardest days of my life when I had to walk away for mine and my son’s own well-being. It hurt because I loved him, he was my father; but God showed me what love truly is and it is NOT abuse and control.

When we are first born into the world, we know nothing and trust and rely on everyone to provide our needs. Before we even know it or realize it our inner belief system is being created and formed by those who care for us.

We begin to grasp on to the ‘realities’ in front of us and take everything at face value, we form our worldview by our experience’s (which aren’t always pleasant) and begin to form the foundation in which we will stand upon for the rest of our life.

It is so easy for us to accept things like, because I said so, do as I say, or my truth is the truth in even the smallest areas of our life. We accept and never question these things without any real evidence.

Often times we find out later in life that these experiences have led us to false beliefs about ourselves, others, the world, and God.

Just as I use to compare my earthly father to God the Father without even realizing it. Expecting that God was always mad at me, punishing me, and trying to control my every move. Taking my father’s action’s as what love truly is and how God is as our Heavenly Father; instead of allowing God, the author of love and creator of all things, to show me who He is and what love truly is.

When eternity is at stake, is it really worth taking someone else’s word for it? When it comes to life or death, are you willing to gamble your life on the words of someone else? Isn’t it worth testing these ‘truths’ you live by against the unfailing, unchanging, powerful Word of God?

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Lord, we thank you for Your Word. I repent of my sins and ask for forgiveness for following and believing the world about who you are instead of reading and seeking You for myself through Your Word. Lord, I pray that you would open our mind to Your truth, our ears to Your Word, and our hearts to Your love. I pray that you would give us discernment, knowledge and understanding when we seek you. I pray that your presence be with us to guide us and correct our paths. Lord, I lift up each person today that is seeking truth, seeking to know the real Jesus of the Bible. Lord, help them to see Your hand in their life, help us to forgive ourselves and others for past mistakes, just as you forgive us when we truly repent. Lord, I ask that you direct our steps and protect us from the attacks from the evil one on our minds, hearts and souls and above all I pray Your will be done in each of our lives, it is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

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