Christianity can so easily become a nicely packaged religion where we believe and get baptized, but our life only changes a little bit.
This problem is becoming more noticeable in our modern churches, where rather than standing out from the world, we seem to be trying to fit in. (See Romans 12:12; 2Cor. 6:14).
Even our church marriage counselling efforts seem more concerned with how we feel or whether our ‘love tank’ is full or empty, than denying self, honoring each other and honoring the vows we made before God and our families.
William Booth was concerned with the church losing its distinct Biblical values over 100 years ago. The quote below looks very much like modern Christianity.
Jesus said, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me…‘ (Matt 16:24).
Christianity begins with conviction of sin and repentance.
When the crowd felt convicted on the day of Pentecost, they asked Peter what they should do. Peter told them in Acts 2:38, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’
The word ‘repent‘ in the Greek means to change your mind. In the Hebrew, it means to turn back. True repentance is followed by decisive ACTION. You change your mind on the way you were living, you turn around and you start to live a different way.
As Christians we are called to stand out because we are different from those who don’t yet know God. The Bible says we are the ‘light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket…‘ (Matt 5:14-15). We are also the salt of the earth as we ‘shed abroad the love of God.‘ (Romans 5:5).
When you’re a Christian, your life must significantly change – you are on a journey of transformation – to become like Christ. You and I may be the only true light & love some people will see. We need to shine brightly the glory of our Lord.
Being salt and light is not about our great church programs, it’s about lifting up Christ, the cross and the resurrection. Jesus said, ‘If I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself.’ It’s about becoming like Jesus (Romans 8:29) and walking as he walked – in love.
Being salt and light is about dying to self, taking up our cross and FOLLOWING HIM!