Sunday 23 August 2015

As a Christian what do I stand for?

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I had an amazing time at church this morning; I was really in need of a good dose of worship, Christian fellowship and sound bible teaching and I didn't leave disappointed. One of our Pastors has been on a sabbatical for the last 11 weeks and this morning he came back and started to share with us what God has been speaking to him about during his time away.

You could tell just by looking at him that he was glowing and had had an awesome time; he was literally bubbling over full of the Holy Spirit and it was infectious. I'm sure most of us went away feeling renewed and refreshed by his teaching about Christ being in each of us and that being our hope of glory.

There is no other answer, Christ is it. He is enough.
"...The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple.."" Colossians 1:27 (Message)

The sermon was deep and carried many messages and opportunities for further study, I came away reaffirmed knowing that Christ lives in me, I am saved and He loves me for who I am, not what I do or what I can bring. Even if I never did anything again He would still love me in the same way. How reassuring and freeing is that?

There is no need to strive - position means nothing, title means nothing, recognition means nothing, wealth means nothing and I do not need to prove myself to you or the world. I am enough.

Part of the sermon that really made me chuckle was when San told us all to go out and cultivate ourselves as love machines. Not in the sense of 1960's free love but as in Christ loves us unconditionally and now go and love others in the same manner.  Whilst I can't quite get on board with his terminology, I love the sentiment and this did provoke a good conversation between my husband and myself.

My husband had spent much of the night awake not feeling well but this had allowed him the time and space to really contemplate a few things. One of which was how Christians tend to be portrayed and often we are painted in a very negative light. The media picture is that we are against people in a same sex relationship, against abortion, against civil partnerships, against contraception, against women being held as a equal. To be honest I expect many people, many Christians even are against all these things but is it right that Christianity be portrayed in this negative light? Shouting out what Christians are against, should that be our strongest message?

Surely what we need to do is to change our image to a positive one. Not built on gloss and a PR effort but one built on truth. The truth of all the wonderful things that we as Christians are for. The elements that define who we are and how we are shining Christ's light into the darkness.

So in my effort to help people understand a bit more about what it means to me to be a Christian, here is a list of the things that I am for and I suspect most other Christians would be too -

  • Love - This is the big one - this is the foundation for it all. "We love, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19 NIV). I want to love you and not hate you and that love tends to pour itself out in practical ways, like feeding you or giving money but also in other ways like showing tolerance and acceptance.
  • Encouragement - I know from experience that we always get the best results by encouraging people rather than chastising them
  • Generosity - If we all share what we have and freely give away our money, time and love generously then there should be no need for all the poverty we have in the world currently. 
  • Good Stewardship - OK so I've said I stand for generosity but let me just add, not stupidity. I'm not going to give a drug addict £200 as I know what they will do with it. Part of being generous is also being wise and being a good steward of all that God has given to us.
  • Compassion - We live in a broken world, there is so much wrong with our world and it breaks my heart and as it does so I feel filled with compassion and this means I take action and play my part to put an end to injustice and to help see all people saved and set free.
  • Kindness - If I'm honest this one does not always come easy to me, I don't think my natural stance is to be kind. However it is a trait I value highly and therefore I try to cultivate it and act in a kind and loving manner.
  • Forgiveness - We all make mistakes and I don't want to bear any grudges. Christ forgives me every time I sin, how can I hold anothers mistakes against them?
I'm sure if I spent days pondering this I'd come up with more or maybe a more refined list but anyone that reads my blog regularly will know I am a kind of instant girl. So this is today's perspective of what I stand for as a Christian but that's not to say any of those above would change on any other day.

I know lots of people reading this won't be Christian and don't share the same views as me but many people ask me what it means to be a Christian and how if affects the way I live. So I'm going to be doing a series of posts to try and give more insight to what being a Christian means to me. I'd love to hear your thoughts, lively (but polite) debate is always encouraged.

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