Would God like our lifestyles?

Published 8:39 pm Saturday, June 21, 2014

By Larry Stover

The history of the Children of Israel is a fascinating story.  When they were obeying God and keeping his commands, the blessings just poured out of heaven on them. But, when they disobeyed God and chased after other gods and ideas, he disciplined them in many ways including being carried away into exile.

They had one major flaw. They kept forgetting who they were.  They were God’s chosen people.

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They took that to mean what they could get from God and not what they could give in return.  The result was that they thought they could live in any way and God would still bless them because they were his chosen people.

Many American Christians are still in that mode. We have forgotten who we are. We want God to treat us special while we choose to live any way we desire. “I grew up in the church so I’m a Christian,” some might say. “I got baptized so I’m a Christian. I joined the church so I’m a Christian.”

The examples are almost endless.

Ephesians chapter 5 uses the metaphor “Bride of Christ” to describe who we are.  When we think of our relationship to Christ, do we resemble a bride?

Image a bride on her wedding day. She is beautiful. Her gown is exquisite. Every hair is in place. As she walks down the aisle, she is a picture of radiance and perfection.  Every eye is focused on her. Her smile is contagious. A bride is the centerpiece of the wedding ceremony.

Paul uses this same context in describing the “Bride of Christ.”  When our Lord presents us to the Father, we are to resemble the bride of Ephesians chapter 5. As we read the final verses of this chapter, we discover that the Bride of Christ is to be glorious and holy.The Church he presents to the Father will be blemish free, spotless, without stain or wrinkle, washed in the blood of the Lamb. This is the Church that sent Christ to die on the cross. Are you a clear picture of the “Bride of Christ?”

Scripture is very clear that “being a Christian” involves a constant relationship with Jesus Christ reflecting his holiness and righteousness.

Christians, have we forgotten who we are? Have we been caught up in ideologies and theologies that have us missing the mark of the Biblical ideal of a Christian?

Too many believers today are at ease when they accept Christ as their personal Savior.

Jesus came with a mission that sets conversion as the beginning and not the end. We are called to be His disciples. That gives us a purpose and a destiny. Christianity is not to be a subculture; we are to be a counter culture. We are not called to become an eccentric group of individuals who love each other and meet once a week to remind the congregation of our place in that crowd.

As a counter culture, we are called to go into the world reflecting an image of Jesus Christ. Our friends and colleagues are to see us as the “Bride of Christ.” We are called to change our world one person at a time.  When we are actively carrying out our purpose, our radiant reflection of Christ is something beautiful.