“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Ghandi
Growing up, my mom always taught me not to use the word ‘hate’. She would caution, “hate is such a strong, harsh, and unforgiving word…” Bumper-to-bumper traffic, windshield wipers on overdrive, music off, with both hands on the steering wheel; ten-and-two. Every thing inside me cringes at the thought of having to drive through Dallas in a storm. And with all that it implies, I can honestly say that I hate driving in the rain.
A few weeks ago, while turning onto a residential street in Dallas, my reaction time was put to the test. He came out of nowhere, in the middle of down-pour, and in front of my car…brake-check…they worked. I missed him by what seemed like inches. I felt absolutely terrible. As I rolled down my window to make sure he was okay, a very startled, elderly homeless man smiled and waved. He was carrying a bundle of clothes, and was wearing a tattered, white t-shirt. Ironically enough, the back of his shirt read, “Living The Dream.” Who in their right mind would give a homeless man such a thing. Was this some mean, practical joke?
I couldn’t help but think to myself: What an incredible visual aid. To some, this is what Christians must look like when we don’t walk in the authority and freedom we’ve been given. Their picture of Jesus is nothing more than a Pauper Christian.
We sit in our cardboard boxes built of competition, depression, and shallow legalism. We aimlessly walk around without a home, with grocery carts full of trash, in pauper clothing. Carrying bitterness, ruining relationships, swimming in debt, cheating our neighbors, and drowning in emotional poverty. The world looks at us like we’re a practical joke. Why would they want our lives? What about a homeless man on the street looks appealing? We promote Jesus like He’s the fix-all, end-all, solution-to-all. We say one thing, but represent another. Surely, we didn’t start out this way. How did we get here? Why is our fruit so different from Christ’s?
I dare say that the problem isn’t God; it’s us. Somehow, we’ve lost sight of who we are in Christ, forgotten His irreplaceable Love, neglected our place on earth, and abandoned our role in society.
And we aren’t fooling anyone. You see, our generation is unlike any other. This generation doesn’t give into fake. We struggle selling something that we won’t buy ourselves. We spend over 23% of our time interacting on “social” media. We want to be real. To sum it up, our generation is relational. Sure, you could say that we’ve lost our edge. Ruined our reputation. Tainted the church. We’re more often the excuse instead of the example. The list goes on and on about how ‘Christians” have misrepresented Christ.
The good news is that Jesus can still get to hearts without our help. And, I believe that there is a remnant arising. It’s not too late. There is hope! There is an army that yearns to represent Jesus Christ in every aspect of their lives: At home, amongst friends, in the workplace, and to strangers. We desperately desire that everything about our life mirrors Christ for every thing that He is. We want to walk in all that Christ has bought and made provision for. We want to be like Him. We desire to make His Name great in the earth.
When we keep our eyes on Christ, we can abide in unconditional Love, stand in freedom, and walk in authority. So run to Jesus. Throw off your pauper clothes. Rise above your present circumstances. Stop wallowing in self-pity. Love lives within you. Look to Him for validation. You were built to win. You have a direct- line to Joy. You were made to prosper. Declare your freedom. Change your perspective. You were destined to reign. You were made in His image. Your Daddy is King.
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'” John 13:35, Matt 28:18-20