Mistaken Identity

Written by BG Howard

May 29, 2024

It’s a factor that this area of the country, though somewhat more liberal than times past, is still considered very much part of what has traditionally been referred to as the Bible belt.  If asked, most residents in the south will readily identify themselves as “Christian.”  The term as defined by Merriam-Webster: (a) one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.  (b) disciple. (follower of Christ)

By all accounts, every definition of what it means to be a Christian speaks to facilitation of a relationship.  Ephesians 5:23 states: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”  This is clearly indicative of an intimate relationship from a spiritual perspective.  Few relationships are considered more nurturing than that between a man and his wife which is demonstrative of the type bond the Lord desires with His followers.

Many who stake the claim of being Christian simply don’t embrace the necessity of spending time in church, prayer, or studying scripture.  For the most part, people who identify as followers of Jesus are ultimately lulled into complacency while thinking as long as profession of Christ as their Savior has been uttered they’re “safe.”  The Word itself denotes it isn’t sufficient to be a hearer only, but one must also be a doer of the Word.

In short, being a Christian extends far beyond the mere claim and embodies the same type intimacy (spiritually speaking) as required in a monogamous relationship.  It wouldn’t stand to reason for a man to say he loves his wife but not spend time with her.  Also, for a woman to assert love for her husband of twenty years but refuse to execute the traditional responsibilities of a wife would be living a fallacy.  How else do people get to know one another excepting that they spend quality time together…speaking as well as listening to the other person.

The closeness with Jesus is no different as Christians should desire the type relationship be evoked from time with the Son of the Living God as is consequential of experiences with their respective spouses.  It is the act of spending time in close proximity of one another that serves to nurture the bond between individuals and the Lord desires the same; for His children to draw closer to Him.

Instead, it most often comes to a point of Christians treating the Lord as though He’s a “genie in a bible.”  He’s placed in some obscure out-of-the-way place and never actually picked up or called upon until there’s a demonstrated need or perceived hardship.  That’s when the dusty King James, NIV, New Living Translation, or any of the variety of versions printed today is pulled out and dusted off; symbolic of rubbing a genie’s lamp.  The hope is that the Lord will perform, create, resolve, grant or rectify whatever issue mandating a requirement to “seek” the help of a magic potion.

And at the point He proves faithful and just to satisfy the needs of His favored creation, Jesus is conveniently boxed up or capped, and put away in spiritual storage until the next hardship.  Given the fact that the relationship with Christ is most comparable to that between a husband and his wife; when one considers the state of today’s church, it’s no wonder that the current divorce rate teeters at about forty to fifty percent.

Understand that being a Christian concerns more than simply “wearing a label” when it’s fashionable.  Jesus left word with His disciples that they would “do greater works” than His but taking up their cross also entailed “drinking of His cup” in that many of the twelve were martyred following the crucifixion. 

To systematically identify as Christian without either understanding or commitment to truly “walk the walk” serves to disgrace the gospel.  Knowing of Christ is the equivalent of association with the neighbor at the end of the street whose name you’ve never asked.  Truly knowing Christ is just an introduction to the real essence of what a Christian is.  I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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