What do you think of when you hear the word ‘church’? What’s the first word that comes to your mind? Does it have positive or negative associations? 

This past week I was listening to a guest speaker at my church, and he mentioned that an exercise he’d assigned to his students was to go to a mall. They were to take a clipboard and ask random people what was their one-word answer, the first word that came to their mind, when they heard the word ‘church’. They came back with all sorts of answers… boring, irrelevant, arrogant, a building, pointless, religion, judgment… but by far, the most popular answer was this one word:

hypocrites.

Take a step back for just a minute and think about this — Everything we do as individuals ultimately shoots back to our parents and the way we were raised. It may or may not paint an accurate picture of them, but either way, it gives others an idea about your parents… whether or not it’s true.

In the same way, as God’s children, we’re painting a picture of Him with everything we do and say. It may or may not be an accurate representation of who He is, but we’re painting this picture with our lives just the same.

When we become God’s children, we take on His name. Just like when we’re born we take on our family’s name, and just like a woman takes on her husband’s name when she gets married. We’re now associating ourselves with God’s name. We’re accepting a responsibility to have a reputation that reflects Him… 

So… look at the picture that we as the church are painting of God. Look at the inconsistencies between our the Bible and our lives.

Jesus commanded us to love others. We are told to love other believers. “By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves]” [John 13:35, Amplified Bible]. We’re also told to love our neighbors as ourselves [Luke 10:27]. Our neighbor is not just the person who lives next door. Our neighbor is anybody who is in need… no matter what kind of need. Everyone is in need of something, even if it’s as small and simple as a smile.

If we’re professing the “Christian faith” but not living it out, then we’re hypocrites. There is no nice way to say it… We’re just fake. Our actions have to back up whatever we claim… whatever name we live under. 

“When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine” [John 15:8, Amplified Bible].

So… what’s this fruit we’re supposed to bear? 

“… the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence)” [Galatians 5:22-23, Amplified Bible].

When we’re exhibiting these qualities in our everyday life, we’re going to be reflecting God in the way we are meant to. We’re going to be living a reputation that paints a picture of who God really is.

Advertisements