It is not uncommon for people to love Jesus but hate Christians. Spend anytime with a non church-goer. Listen to their story. Then you will start to hear repeat patterns. These patterns give insight into why they love Jesus but hate the church.
- I used to go to church, but so and so said something awful.
- I grew up in church, but then so and so did this to my family.
- I loved the church as a kid but then my mom or dad was the biggest hypocrite.
Typically in response to these accusations Christians will say things like “we are all hypocrites.” This phrase, while absolutely true, cannot be used as a Christian get out of jail free card. We must do a better job of behaving in such a way that our lives point people to a loving, beautiful Savior. (Matthew 5:16)
Our beliefs will always be offensive, but our behavior doesn’t have to be. –Click to Tweet
We can become better. We must become better. It all starts with individuals like you and me changing. A better me makes a better we.
Over the course of the next two posts, I want to help you become a better Jesus follower. This post is all about starting. The next post is all about stopping.
Start loving your enemies.
Jesus said very difficult things about loving your enemies. (Matthew 5:43-48) I have always wished we could just throw these verses out of the Bible. I mean come on, Jesus!
Pray for my enemies?
Love those who persecute me?
It would make following Jesus so much easier if those words weren’t in the Bible. Regardless of my feelings, Jesus calls us to start loving our enemies. This means…
- Love those of different faiths (including Muslims)
- Pray for those who voted differently than you.
- Show compassion to people you normally judge.
This doesn’t mean we change our beliefs to align with those opposite us. It means we start treating people the way Jesus would have treated people.
Start loving your neighbor.
In a fast paced, production minded society we fail to love the ones who live right next to us. Life is busy. Our neighbors are busy. We don’t have time to care for our actual neighbors. There is too much to do.
Recently my neighbor started a brand new job at the local hospital. I happened to run into her as I was taking the recycling outside. She told me about the new job. I couldn’t have been any happier for her. So I asked her if I could pray for her.
She said, “I would love that.” We prayed together right there. She left and later that day she told me, “I don’t normally let people pray for me. Thank you for praying, though.” Little things like praying for your neighbor can go a very long way.
Make a change today. Start loving your neighbor.
Start reading your Bible.
Love without knowledge is like a house without a foundation. It will crumble quickly. The scriptures are where we learn and grow in our knowledge of how to love others.
I’m amazed at how often people claim to be followers of Jesus. Yet have no desire to pursue him through the Word of God. Your love for God should produce in you a love for the scriptures. As you pursue scripture, your behavior towards others will start to change.
If you don’t know where to begin, start with my free seven-day devotional.
After you have finished that devotional, then start reading through the New Testament. Read a chapter a day and you will see God begin to radically move in your life.
Start praying for others.
Praying for others should seem like a basic. It feels like “Christian 101”. Yet I am convinced prayer is a lost art among Christians.
Rather than pray for our annoying coworker, we would rather be upset. Instead of praying for our kids or spouse, we just drone on with the normal routine of life. Prayer is the last thing we think about until there is some kind of major tragedy or big decision.
Prayer shouldn’t be a back burner discipline. It should be at the forefront of everything we do. When we pray we pour gasoline into our spiritual engine. If every Christian in our country, became absolute committed to prayer we would see a movement of God happen like never before.
Every movement started with one. Why don’t you start the movement today? – Click to Tweet
What are some other things you believe Christians should start doing today?
What have you started to do recently that has made the biggest impact on others?
Share your thoughts by commenting below.
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