Have you ever been let down by a Brother or Sister in Christ who seemed to take advantage of the notion that every action and reaction is covered by grace? Are you the Christian who thinks you can do whatever you want and have no consequences because our God is a God of mercy? These thoughts have been bouncing around my head lately after being underwhelmed by some of my interactions with other believers in relationships, business, and daily life. I am not a perfect friend, family member, business partner, or person in general, but I do strive to be more like Christ every day. I believe that’s what God is expecting from us.
On a phone conversation with a friend, I was mentioning how I used to have this naivety about other Christians and felt that “We’re all believers, so we unquestionably have the same standards.” That rose-colored phrase has proven to be wrong time and time again. If it was so easy to live a holy life, everyone would do it. I’m open to seeing how I can be a better steward of this life. If you are as well, I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned so far.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3)
I’ve had enough planks to build a small house, so in no way am I willing to approach someone–or the internets for that matter–about holding yourself to a certain standard if I’m not willing to do the work myself. There have been many times that I’ve pointed the finger only to realize “Wow, I do the same thing!” I ask God to help me examine my heart on a daily basis so that I do not conform to this world or become content in my own well doing. We’re called to renew our minds daily, and that means seeing the nitty gritty for what it really is.
Now that I’ve babbled on about that, let’s get to the standards, mmmkay? There are three that have really stood out to me, and I’m hoping that shining a light on them will help everyone reading this–and writing this *wink wink*–to hold true to a righteous lifestyle.
1. The standard of relationships.
I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of terrible relationships. There were times that all I cared about was my work, and what I could do at church to make people like me. It was a very selfish time in my life and all of my relationships suffered for it. There are certain family members and friends who have put their selfish needs above the call to have community, and I’ve been on the sidelines left wondering “Do they care if I live or die?” That’s not a question I want anyone asking of me, and I’m committed to make sure that doesn’t happen again, especially knowing now what that feels like. It wasn’t until I had my baby girl that I realized the importance of family and dedicating time to friendships. I had to slow down and ask myself “What really matters?” God is at the top of my list, and I can say assuredly that these past two years of being a mother have proved to be my closest time with Him.
Nothing is more important than hearing God’s voice. No task, job, money, promotion, event, etc. is more important than caring for the people He placed on this planet. Your loved ones will not always be there, and yes it will be very inconvenient at times to make it to that birthday party or one-on-one girl talk sesh over coffee, but people will always appreciate you making time for them. Time is the most valuable currency we have, so how will you spend it? If you say you’re going to be there for people, mean it. If you say you’re going to be a vessel for God, mean it. Let your yes mean something.
But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. (Matthew 5:37)
2. The standard of business.
Honesty. Integrity. Excellence. You would think that when you enter into a working relationship with a Brother or Sister these things would be a given. Unfortunately, it’s not. I consider myself a person who gives her all and does things in an ethical manner, and I assumed this would be the case with other believers I was blessed to work with. Throughout the many years of mine and my husband’s career, we have a handful of colleagues that stood out to us and it wasn’t until recently that I saw the pattern.
People who have an amazing business practice with happy clients, associates and customers–even in the secular world–usually put others first. (Just look at Google.) Even more so, as children of the Most High, we should set out to understand how we can serve God by serving others. If you’re willing to fudge the numbers so that you can take more money to the bank, if you’re willing to take credit for doing something you didn’t, if you’re willing to slap a project together hoping that everything will work itself out, and if you’re willing to throw someone under the bus to get a pay raise then you’re forgetting that the Lord is your provider and any blessing you have comes from Him. When you know who you really work for, it’s easy to come to Him first to help you do things in decency and in order as you move forward in your career.
Whatever work you do, do it with all your heart. Do it for the Lord and not for men. Remember that you will get your reward from the Lord. He will give you what you should receive. You are working for the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)
3. The standard of daily life.
This is actually a huge one. This considers your entire lifestyle of what activities you enter into, how you relate to random strangers, and how you present yourself. If there’s anything in there that doesn’t fit into the category of “Christ-like”, I urge you to get rid of it. There are plenty of things that you can do that don’t break the law, but break God’s commandments. If He says it’s not okay, it’s ultimately for your benefit. For example, I had to learn the hard way that making jokes at people’s expense, gossiping about people I didn’t like, easily judging others because of my pride, satisfying the lust of the flesh, and countless other things were not okay. They were ruining my witness.
If someone is surprised that you’re a Christian, please take a step back and ask God to show you why. This is coming from someone who has just recently–Thank you, Jesus–been delivered from anger management issues. I assure you, the drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, revealing clothing, selfishness, pride, gambling, witchcraft etc is NOT worth your salvation. You can do anything your heart desires, but believe me when I tell you there will be a time when grace runs out. Being outside of God’s covering has consequences.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial. (1 Cor 10:23)
If you have anything to add about the standard of Christianity, I’d love to hear it. There are so many areas to life, and I’m sure there are other lessons we could learn about doing things God’s way.
Kytia L’amour is a writer, performer, and photographer spreading God’s love in all art forms. Reaching out to young women and sharing her story is what keeps her heart beating for Christ.
Kytia lives in sunny Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.