While I had been trying to point out to my friend that he should be the same person in front of his Christian friends as his non-Christian friends, and the same person in front of his well-mannered friends as the ones who tend to be rough around the edges, I realize now the message the Lord put in my heart that day and the way He showed it to me was as much for myself as it was for my friend.
The Lord was reminding me that I am called to apply the Bible to my life on a daily basis, regardless of my circumstances and regardless of my company. I need to love people no matter how they treat me. I need to help people regardless of whether or not I feel like it. I need to give even when I would rather receive. I need to be patient even when I desperately want to be further along.
Christianity isn’t a costume I put on to go to church. It is not a costume I put on to hang around my Christian friends. It is not a costume I wear just when I am around nice people. Christianity is a way of life, and it is not contingent on anything other than the Lord Himself and His Word.
For those of us who have struggled more with treating Christianity like a costume, I believe there is often a root of rejection underneath. Are we afraid people won’t like us if we follow Christ? Are we afraid people won’t approve if we don’t join in the gossip around us? Are we afraid we won’t look “cool” if we don’t curse along with the crowd? Are we afraid we won’t fit in if we choose not to have sex before marriage, if we show kindness to someone who has hurt us, if we forgive someone nobody else will forgive, or if we help the man on the subway who smells because he lives on the streets?
The Bible teaches that we cannot be servants of Christ if we live our lives based on a fear of man and what man thinks of us. So putting on our Christian costume to go to church, and taking it off to fit into the world around us, is now how we are called to walk. The Lord calls us to walk by faith, irregardless of how the world chooses to walk. It may not be the most popular path, but it is the right one.
Why not do a spring cleaning, go into your closet, and toss out the costumes you no longer need? Make a decision for Christ that is not merely a decision to believe in Him. Make the decision to follow Him, and put on the new man or woman He has created you to be – for His glory.
Gal 1:10 “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
Eph 4:24 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Col 3:10 “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”
2Co 5:6 “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”