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Monday, May 13, 2013

Lifestyle : What Gives the Christian Credence



That Christianity has lost credence in the Pseudo Post Modern world of the Western Hemisphere, in 2013, is evidenced by the decline in the number of professing Christians, increase in atheism, and by the slump in Church attendance. But why does anything that once held credence in the eyes of people lose its credence? The answer can be found in real life examples, such as when a preferred brand in food or clothes disappoints you, and you don’t prefer it anymore; or a respected public personality messes up in their personal life, and you don’t respect them anymore. When a person or people who once did something that brought them respect, cease to do that something, and start doing something else, maybe the very opposite, they lose any reason to have credence in the eyes of people. When you look at Christianity today, and ask the question of the Church, and the Christians who make up the Church – “Have we stopped doing that which gives us credence?” – I am compelled to say, that presently, we have indeed.

What is it that we have stopped doing that gives the Christian credence though? In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” The good works are a visible outward reality of an invisible inward transformation. That transformation happens by coming to Christ, and beginning to live out the inward realities He describes in the Beatitude statements: being poor in spirit, pure in heart, meek, peacemakers etc… These inward qualities of a heart transformed by Jesus are what make us salt and light.
 Just before commanding us to shine our lights so people see our good works, Jesus said that his followers, Christians, are salt and light. Our lives are lives that stand out in the midst of darkness and dust. We are not people who follow the lifestyle of the world, but set the lifestyle of the world right by living lifestyles which are distinctly different – that have the properties of salt and light. This lifestyle of the Christian is so different that it can be perceived one of two ways by the watching world. It can either be attractive or repulsive. If we live wisely and winsomely so that over time people are attracted to us because of the way we live our lives, then they notice a difference – a difference that creates a thirst in them (what salt does) for that specific life component they lack, and we have. This thirst then draws them to the light, as it were, in which the truth about their life is exposed, and the truth on how to live life is learned, as we lovingly guide them to the Source of our transformation – Jesus Himself. The rest of His Sermon on the Mount is about what those good works are: our behavioral responses to the world and situations we encounter in life. The entire Sermon on the Mount becomes our lifestyle guide which helps us live out the inward realities.

We as Christians must admit that Christianity has lost credence in the eyes of many because we have begun living the lifestyle of the world, instead of standing out. We have allowed the world to influence us instead of us influencing the world, becoming part of the prevailing dust and darkness. We have lost our credence as Christians because we are not living as Christians are expected to live – both by the world and by the founder of Christianity himself – the Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to be salt and light amid dust and darkness. Though it is very difficult, we do not have to live in the world thinking that we must blend in. We can live quite confidently, being distinct, and being assured that the world out there, needs us to be who we are: Christians who live Christian lifestyles. When the Christian lifestyle is lived out, Christianity and the Christian will have begun to regain credence and the Gospel will transform lives even before it is preached verbally!   

© Kenny Damara, 2014

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