10 Years of Sanctification

This April will be a special one. It will mark 10 years that I have been following Christ.

I truly can’t believe this anniversary has come so soon. That fateful day feels like just yesterday.

Many of my anniversary posts are just a recounting of my testimony, and while those are great, this time, I’d like to do something a little different.

Because while God opened my eyes to His glory and Lordship on April 25, 2010, I am not the same person I was in 2010, 2011, 2012, and so forth.

God gave me some kind of spirit of discernment early on in my walk (I never like prosperity gospel preachers and, back then, I really couldn’t explain why, but something [the Holy Spirit] told me to be weary of their teaching), but that same gift and zeal for sound doctrine was abused for a few years as I bullied brothers and sisters in the faith for not holding to the doctrines ol’ important me thought were most important.

I thought I was strong and able to “handle difficulty”, but I didn’t realize just how powerless I was until I was thrown into a barrage crazy trials some years ago. And yet, during some of the darkest times of my life (as a believer), I realized I wasn’t nearly as hopeless as I had been during an earlier trial in my life (one that happened before I was truly saved).

And those trials humbled me. I began to realize some of those Christians I disagreed with understood the love of God better than my own “clique” did. I began to realize it is okay to disagree on certain things. We are a family. Family will never agree on everything, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are all brothers and sisters.

10 years is quite a vantage point.

From here, I can look back at things I asked of God and say “I am so thankful You didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted You to”.

It’s encouraging. And humbling.

My pastor recently said “I am not where I want to be, but thank God I am not who I used to be” and I couldn’t agree.

10 years ago, I thought I’d be this well learned theologian. I thought I’d written a book, be some kind of teacher, etc.

But 10 years ago, I was also too zealous for John Calvin and wasn’t zealous enough for Jesus Christ.

Am I still reformed? You bet.

Do I still think TULIP is the most accurate interpretation of scripture? Yup.

Am I still Cessationist? Well…I don’t really know. I’m beginning to lean Continuist, but I don’t really understand how the gifts work for the modern day church.

And that’s okay to say I don’t have all of the answers.

I do have one answer though: the Word of God is living and active, inerrant, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and is the foundation for all of our lives.

As long as it doesn’t contradict something clearly laid out in scripture, we can have some friendly debates on things, but let’s remember that our unity is more important to God than getting to say we won an argument.

“Nobody has ever been argued into the Kingdom, but many people have been loved there.” – Chad Moore

Grace & Peace Saints,

Christina

Fulfill Your Ministry

One of my favorite Matt Chandler clips is the one where he talks about Mark Driscoll.

Chances are, most people nowadays don’t know who Mark Driscoll was. If you do, that’s awesome. But if you don’t, he used to be the pastor of Mars Hill Church. He was also the founder of the Acts 29 Network (which Matt Chandler now leads, ironically.)

Any who, if you do know Driscoll, you also know he had a pretty aggressive way of preaching (which I won’t get into now because it’s besides the point).

Well, in this clip, Matt Chandler is coaching pastors and, in essence, he tells pastors that, though Mark Driscoll is very good at what He does and God uses it, we are not all called to be Driscoll.

We can not emulate him and expect the same results because God didn’t call us to be Driscoll.

God calls us to be ourselves. 

We aren’t called to fulfill Driscoll’s ministry. We’re call to fulfill OUR ministry.

God has shaped you specifically for a specific purpose. Though it may be tempting to look at “success stories” and want to emulate them, the truth of the matter is that what worked for Matt Chandler, Beth Moore, John Piper, etc, may not work for you.

You’re not called to fulfill their ministry.

You’re called to fulfill YOUR ministry.

Your ministry may be at home, with macaroni and cheese covered fingers. And yes, do I know it gets tiring changing diapers and trying to constantly entertain children, but it may be where God is calling you for this season. 

Your ministry may be at that job you don’t like, surrounded by those people who always gossip about their sins around the water cooler. Sure, you can’t wait to get out, but maybe, you’re called to be the light in a dark place. You’re called to point one of God’s future saints to the light. 

Your ministry may be in a not-so-great marriage. We’re not meant to divorce one another at the first offense. Maybe God called you to a marriage that starts a little hard, but as time passes, you grow from the trials and your love becomes an example of God’s power and healing.

(And don’t read what I am NOT saying. I’m saying that, for some, the trials serve to strengthen a marriage. I am not saying not to divorce an abusive spouse. Just throwing that disclaimer out there).

Simply put, we are all called to different ministries.

Fulfill YOUR ministry.

All Things Work Together

This isn’t the first time God showed me that He kept me from something for a reason.

A couple of years back, I realized something I thought to be perfect wasn’t so perfect after all. It was almost as if I could hear Him saying, “See? That’s why I didn’t let you go down that path“.

And a couple of days ago, I got that same revelation from a different circumstance: What can sometimes seem to be a punishment from God is actually protection.

I know this isn’t a new revelation for some (or even for me). I’ve often referenced in the past that God’s protection is much like a parent protecting a child. A parent will say “no” to a child who wants to run in the street to protect them from getting hit by a car. Even if that child wants nothing more in that moment than to play in the street, the more loving thing to do, as a parent, is to protect them from danger.

But a few days ago, that truth hit me a bit harder.

Through a conversation with a friend, I realized that, during a tough time in my life, God isolated me, not to punish me, but to prevent me, in every way, shape, and form, from doing something I would later regret. At the time, I was too emotionally vulnerable to realize that heading down certain paths would lead me away from God. So, being a loving Father, He isolated me.

It wasn’t punishment. It was protection.

Also a few days ago, the church we were attending decided to go in a different direction. I could write an entire blog post on this topic alone (I won’t, so don’t worry), but suffice it to say while some Christians would be perfectly fine with a decision they recently made, I am not one of those Christians (and we can love each other, yet respectfully disagree).

I tried to join this church multiple times (In other words, get involved, serve, lead groups, etc), but something always came up. The night service we went to as a family would be suspended for summer, my husband’s work schedule changed (making him unable to attend morning services or small groups), etc. I kept wondering why God was seemingly putting up road blocks at every chance to prevent me from getting involved with this church.

Once again, something I thought to be perfect wasn’t so perfect after all. And again, I could hear Him saying, “That’s why I didn’t let you go down that path“.

Back to square one we go.

But this time, I’m not so dismayed.

Even though my church made this decision, it is still a great church led by amazing people who love God and love the city of Phoenix. I still learned and grew as a follower of Christ there.

I don’t know where God is leading us, but I do know one this: All things work together for the good of those who love God.

All things are working together still.

 

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

The Road Is Narrow

Yesterday, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across an article about Michael and Lisa Gungor. Honestly, I probably would have scrolled passed it had one word not been in the preview; Atheist.

Surely, “atheist” and “Christian artist” typically don’t go together, so I clicked the link and decided to see why this publication chose to use that word. They used it because that is what he considers himself now; an atheist.

This isn’t a blog post bashing Gungor (by all means, please spend time in prayer for him and his wife and pray that God opens their hearts and eyes to Himself once again). What this post serves as is a sobering realization that no one is safe from falling away from God.

I don’t mean to say that salvation is dependent on us or that we can lose it (because I think both of those are false), but what I do want to point out is (1) we are never in a “safe zone” with our faith and (2) there is no leader, celebrity, etc that is immune from sin.

To be honest, it hurt to see that someone like Michael Gungor had turned away from the faith. Someone who wrote songs like “Beautiful Things” and “Dry Bones” now would renounce those very words (based on my understanding of a few of his tweets and an article from his wife, but nonetheless).

It a sobering thought; any one of us could easily head down a slippery slope that could take us away from Christ and bring us to believe lies.

Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14

As much as we may look up to Christian artists, pastors, teachers, etc, we need to realize that, at the end of the day, they are human beings with their own struggles and temptations. They are far from perfect, just as we are. They need community, the church, and most importantly Jesus Christ, just as much as we do.

I’ve often thought about those I started my Christian journey with. For those who don’t know, I had a blog on Tumblr and joined a community of fairly well-known Christian bloggers (within our own little community, of course). We were all young, restless, and reformed, ready to lead “the resurgence” in our own cities and spearhead this giant “revival” of sorts.

Many of those people have fallen away from the faith. Some have joined strange sects (that the reformed community would call heretical). Others just lost their passion for the Word of God.

Early in my walk with Christ, I met a group of college students who were passionate about the Word of God. I thought “surely”, these will be my life long friends who I stand with side by side to preach Christ to the world (or, at least, the city of Miami).

Some of those have also fallen away, lost interest, claimed heretical doctrines, etc.

And yet, some others have fallen into sin and fallen away from ministry (which is part of my husband and I’s story, if you didn’t already know that).

The road is narrow.

Man, pray for your leaders. Pray for those “celebrity pastors” that you listen to (Matt Chandler, John Piper, etc). Pray for the artists you enjoy music from. Road life is hard and the temptations are plenty. Pray for those you admire in the faith. Pray that your church stays away from false doctrines. Pray, pray, & pray, because only God has the power to keep a person. We get to contribute by praying, serving, loving, etc, but only God can keep a heart in His hands. Only God can change a heart to begin with.

May God keep us all until the very end so that we may hear those words, “well done, good and faithful servant”.

 

 

 

Fear Is A Liar

“Fear, he is a liar.
He will take your breath.
Stop you in your steps.
Fear, he is a liar.
He will rob your rest.
Steal your happiness.
Cast your fear in the fire,
‘Cause fear, he is a liar.” 

Have you ever felt afraid?

Maybe you were afraid for you life. Maybe you felt anxious, your palms sweating and your lungs short of breath.

Maybe it wasn’t such a “dramatic” moment, so to speak. Maybe you were afraid of what others would think of you. Maybe you were scared that nobody liked you and you were alone in this world.

Let me drag that fear into the light and say FEAR IS A LIAR.

Our feelings are real, but fear twists our perception and distorts the truth. It lies to us, shames us, and deceives us into making the situation 10X worse than what it is.

I remember the first time I heard that song I quoted earlier on the radio. It was as if God Himself wrote that song and sent it to the radio with a note attached that read “one of my daughters currently feels scared and anxious. Play this right now“.

At the time, I was feeling scared. The devil had whispered a lie in my ear and I took the bait. I was driving in my car, a million thoughts racing through my head, but when this song played, it’s as if God had said, “Daughter, none of that is true. You’ve been lied to. Just trust Me.” And He was right. It was a lie. Fear had taken something small and distorted it, robbing me of my peace and joy (If even for just a moment).

Today, I was looking at old pictures of myself and I realized something. (I’m about to get really transparent, so bear with me). See, I bought the lie that I was somehow unlikable. I truly believed, for years, that people just didn’t like me and never truly would. I believed that lie as recent as a few hours ago. People liked everyone but me, and because of that, I retreated. I didn’t go to events with friends, I spoke very little around people I didn’t trust fully, and despite being an extrovert who needs interaction with others, at the first sign of rejection, I completely abandoned friendships (for fear of them outright rejecting me first).

The fear of rejection had completely crippled me. 

But the pictures I found told a very different tale than the one I had chosen to accept as reality.

Here were a ton of pictures with groups of people. Tons of events I had been invited to, that I showed up to, had been documented. Things I had completely forgotten about. I was a bit saddened that I had chosen to hide these pictures in the first place, but it also brought me joy to know that it was a LIE that I was completely unlikable.

Had some people rejected me because I “fell” and wasn’t a “good Christian” anymore? I’m sure some did. Had some people stopped talking to me because I no longer had anything to offer them? Maybe. Do I think some people tried to rekindle a friendship with me after years of pretending I don’t exist because I was suddenly married to “Lawren” and it would benefit them? I think so.

But even so, it was not as prevelent as I thought. A small percentage of my “friends” were like that. Most weren’t.

I had been lied to, but the revelation of the truth felt like FREEDOM.

What lies have you been believing brothers and sisters? Where has the enemy managed to warp your worldview and steal your joy? We have FREEDOM! Look behind you! Your chains have been BROKEN! Fear can no longer hold you captive; neither can shame, sin, doubt, etc! Nothing can cancel out the cross!

Brothers and sisters! Read these verses from the very Word of God and take a breath from the fresh air of freedom!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” – John 14:27

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” – John 16:33

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” – Psalm 34:4

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1

Confess your fears and rip them of their power over you.

Lay your fears down at the cross.

Choose freedom today.

Grace & Peace,
Christina

Phases

I’ve always loved flying in planes  For me, the best part is getting to see landing and takeoff from the window seat. These last two plane rides were no different; well, except for one thing.

I could tell very clearly that I was entering a new phase in life. 

While I was sad to see Miami, my hometown, get smaller and smaller as we ascended into the sky, seeing Phoenix right before we landed made me proud. Here was my new home and, for the first time, I was really happy to call it that; “HOME”.

It made me think about the many phases I’ve been through in life, both before and after knowing Christ. We all go through phases, sometimes for the better, and sometimes not so much.

For instance, when I was first saved, I found myself at a church that would scoff at the doctrines I hold close to now. But for the phase I was in on April 25, 2010, the day everything changed for me, that church was more than okay. It, too, has gone through its own phases. It has a different lead pastor, associates with a different group of people, and seems very different from the one I attended back in 2010.

When you have children, you can see some of these phases more clearly. My youngest daughter is a little over a year old, but I can clearly see how much she has grown when I look at newborn photos of her. The same can be said of my eldest daughter. This past week in Miami, many family members who hadn’t seen my almost 4-year-old for a while said the same thing upon seeing her; “wow, she has grown!”. Each phase has its blessings, but each phase also has its own unique set of challenges.

Politically, we can go through phases as well. In 2008, when I first started college, I was a proud “College/Young Republican”. I read conservative sites, watched conservative news, and thought Democrats were stupid and naive (we’re talking Pre-Jesus here, so please give “B.C. Christina” some grace). Now? I don’t consider myself a Democrat, but I am certainly no Republican. Both parties have issues, especially along their retrospective extremes. I think there is some good in both, but also some bad. I consider myself a Christian Independent who leans left on some things, but leans right on others.

Marriages go through phases. Relationships start with two people not knowing each other very well and, through time and work, getting to know each other better. Then you get married and you really get to know people! You grow as a person when you realize God can (and does) use your marriage to make your own flaws obvious. And while I’m not there yet, I know that marriages can (and do) blossom into lifelong partnerships that have withstood the test of 25, 50, even 75 years!

Friendships go through phases. In 2011, I had a core group of friends that I believed I would stay friends with for several years to come. Now? I’ve lost touch with many of those same people. Moving throughout the years, to two cities no less, has made it harder to not only keep old friendships active, but create new ones. I just now am beginning to feel more “settled” in Phoenix, but trying to create friendships that last as a stay at home mom of two kids, with one family car, who lives 20 minutes away from church is proving to be a bit difficult (to say the least).

We even go through phases in our walks with Christ. When I was first saved, I knew little about theology and doctrines, but like a young infant, I was hungry to get to know my Lord and Savior. I read every book I could get my hands on (which is a good and bad thing). I was always in the Word, any chance I could get (a blessing of being single with no children? Time). Then there was a phase when I knew of sound doctrine, but I belittled every person who didn’t agree with everything I believed (because Christina always knew better than everyone else). Not exactly the most “Christ-like” way to approach theology, but thankfully, the cage-stage is over. Now? I still believe in those same five points (jokingly referred to as “7 points”), but I don’t belittle those who don’t. I can feed the homeless alongside someone who believes in “free-will” and know we are both glorifying and serving God. I’d love to have a conversation with them about election and how the Bible supports it, but I’m not going to condemn a brother or sister in the faith because of it. And “election” shouldn’t dominate all my conversations with others; Jesus should be at the forefront, not simply doctrine.

Life goes through phases. Sometimes, we do need a friend to point our flaws in our thinking and lovingly guide us back to Christ (and Gospel-centered teaching). Sometimes, we’re that friend to someone else. Sometimes we’re right. Sometimes, not so much. Sometimes, we can feel loved just sitting with someone else over coffee for a few minutes and talking about trivial things like music or movies. Other times, we can be in a crowded room for hours and still feel completely alone.

The body of Christ will never all be in the same phase together…and that is a good thing. How can we learn from one another if we all have the same strengths and weaknesses? If I am prideful, it will take a humble Christian to point that out. If I am angry, it will take a level-headed Christian to help me with that. If I am selfish, only a selfless person could guide me. If I am prone to gossip, the one who isn’t will be the one to keep me accountable. If I want to learn about doctrines, I go to the one who has already known for quite some time. And if someone else wants to learn, and I know, I can teach them. If I am straying away from the Bible, it will take someone who hasn’t to bring me back. And if I see a brother or sister straying from sound teaching (on those “close-handed issues” that the Bible is very clear on, it is my staying firm but loving with them that may, indeed, bring them back. And if we begin to disagree on an open-handed one? It’s not my place to become angry and see them as suddenly unsaved, but to love them despite our differences and come together for the sake of Christ and the Gospel.

We all go through phases and, while I am sad to see some come and go, I am excited to see what God has in store for me and my family, in our new home, here in Phoenix, AZ.

Grace & Peace.

My Top Three Online Christian Resources

You may think it’s odd that a blog writer would tell you “Hey, go see these other websites instead of mine”, but I’m a Christian before I am a blog writer, so I think it would be wrong of me to withhold valuable resources from you that would help you grow in your faith.

These three websites have really encouraged me and helped me in my walk with Christ, so I am sharing them with you as well.

  1. Desiring God: What can I say about Desiring God? It’s a collection of John Piper’s articles, sermons, videos, etc, but there are also incredible contributing writers. This is a website I find myself visiting at least once every other day (if not everyday). It is an incredible resource for anyone looking to really grow in their faith and, at times, be challenged. There is a field to search for different topics and, more times than not, there is an article for every topic possible. There are even videos under the “Ask Pastor John” series with commonly asked questions and John Piper’s responses. It is a good theological resource I would recommend to anyone and everyone!
  2. Blue Letter Bible: I don’t remember who first introduced me to this website, but I absolutely love it. What makes Blue Letter Bible special is its Greek and Hebrew Lexicon. Search any Bible verse, click Interlinear, and you’ll find each and every verse broken down in its original text. Let’s say you search Genesis 1:1 and you want to know more about what “In The Beginning” meant. You’d find that it’s translated into the Hebrew “re’shiyth”. Click on the word and it will not just give you valuable resources, but also show you where else that very same word is used in the Bible.
  3. Got Questions: The resource I have been using for the longest has been Got Questions. I even think I was using it before I was saved, but I’m not entirely sure about that. Regardless, this website has a Biblical answer for just about any question you can possibly think of. Whenever I need a quick answer for a question of mine, I use this website. The answers are in-depth with Bible verses to back up every single answer. I like to do a bit more research after finding any answer, but for a quick question, it’s an incredible resources.

Those are my top three. What are your top three resources? Let me know in the comments!

Grace & Peace!

No Longer Slaves

April 25, 2010 was the day I was born again. This year, it will mark a seven-year journey of knowing God. I usually write posts around this time reflecting on my walk with Christ over the past year, but I feel like this one needs to be a bit different. 

Yesterday, my church sang “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music. I’ve heard it sung a couple of times, but this time, it really resonated with me.

My pastor’s message was about placing small “gods” on a throne meant only for God Himself. Even good things likes spouses and children can become sinful if we build our identity on them. As he said, “sin is placing our identity in anything other than God”. 

This past year (and all seven of my years as a Christian, plus a few before my conversion) really drove that point home. Looking back, I can see God lovingly prying my hands away from things I was clinging to instead of Him. At the time, I didn’t understand. Much like a small child who has been told they can’t play in the street, I was upset, wondering why God would allow such things to happen to me. I thought these painful events would end up being the death of me…but to the contrary, they ended up leading me closer to the true source of life; Jesus

In these past seven years, He has resurrected things. He has restored things. He has renewed things. He has breathed life into dry, dead bones and killed deadly, sinful habits that were once viciously alive. I have seen Him do miraculous things, things that couldn’t possibly have happened without Him.

There is no joy apart from Him. Suffering with the promise of being in His presence tomorrow is greater than trading Him for a short-lived happy moment. I can trust in Him during a storm because He will be there in the morning when the sun is shining again, arms wide open.

I’ll make this one short, but I’d like you to reflect on the lyrics from the song I mentioned earlier. They really ministered to me, so I hope they do the same to you:

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

We are no longer slaves to fear, brothers and sisters.

We are children of God. 

Grace & Peace.

The Terrible Lie

This past week, I bought my daughter the Jesus Storybook Bible (which I highly recommend, by the way). We’ve been reading a couple of stories each day and one particular line really stood out to me.

In the story of Adam & Eve (named “The Terrible Lie” in her Bible), after Eve encounters the serpent and takes a bite of the fruit, it says:

“And a terrible lie came into the world. It would never leave. It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every one of God’s children: ‘God doesn’t love me’.” 

God. Doesn’t. Love. Me.

I can’t tell you how many times I believed this lie in my heart, both before I came to really know Christ and after. Sometimes, my jealous heart sees people experience certain things that I never did (and probably never will) and that small, cruel voice whispers once again “See? God just doesn’t love you like He loves ______“.

But it’s a lie. A terrible lie.

Adam & Eve, people who had direct contact with God, sinned against Him and hid from Him in fear. Even after this, God loved them enough to make garments for them so that they would no longer be naked. They sowed together fig leaves to make clothes that probably barely covered them and God lovingly made them better clothes, even after they sinned against Him.

It says in Genesis 3:21 that God made “garments of skins” to clothe them. If you think about it, God had to take an animal, a sacrifice, to be able to clothe Adam and Eve. Something had to die, because God loved them so much, He didn’t want them to be naked. God would, once again, send a sacrifice to cover His chosen ones, but this time, the sacrifice would be His son and He would lay down his life to cover (and pay for) their sins once and for all.

God did this because He loved you that much.

I hate saying the phrase “everything happens for a reason”. It’s really cliché and, when someone is suffering, it’s not something they want to hear. Nobody wants to hear “everything happens for a reason” when a loved on has passed away or when they are going through a tough trial, but the truth is the Bible preaches a similar truth (though the differences are noteworthy).

It’s actually my favorite verse.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

This is not true for those who don’t love God. But for those who do, for those who are called by Him, all things work together for good. It is so very hard to see that sometimes, especially when we go through the toughest of trials, but this rich Biblical truth is there for the taking.

It is God Himself saying “Don’t believe the terrible lie. I love you.”

But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, freely give us all things?” – Romans 8:32

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

Don’t listen to that voice. God loves you.

Don’t believe the terrible lie.

The Instagram Gospel

Like that Bible verse. Retweet that Christian quote. Share that story about global missions. The perfect formula to “look like you believe in Jesus”.

But looking like you believe in Jesus doesn’t save your soul; actually believing in Jesus does.

I’ve often written about the dangers of social media, but I haven’t put much emphasis on the Church and social media. I love social media, and I think it could be a great modern tool to reach people, but it can also lead people to put on masks in order to get the most likes, retweets, and shares. The truth is, social media often portrays a life that doesn’t exist. 

There are just some of the unattainable ideals I often see portrayed on social media by the church:

  • Everyone has time to read the Bible for hours, despite having spouses, children, and responsibilities. And they always hear the voice of God every single time. Every single time I open the Bible, angels come down and worship God with me. That must be what reading God’s word is like.
  • Nobody ever sins. Ever. Not even once. They’re not even tempted. If you’re tempted, something must be wrong with you. That must be what following Christ is like.
  • Everyone has a perfect spouse. Nobody ever argues with their spouse. They get spoiled by their spouse every single day. That’s what marriage must be like.
  • Kids never act out. They’re always perfect. They never fight with each other. That’s what having kids must be like.
  • Friends are ALWAYS there for you, always ready to hang out somewhere, and the relationships are always perfect. That must be what community is like.
  • The church doesn’t judge. At all. If you do happen to be the only person on the planet that is tempted (or worse, that sinned), then you will lose no friends (ever), everyone will look at you the same, and people will pour in to pray for you and love on you during dark times.

I’ve seen more over the years, but that covers the basics. The truth is, none of these things are real. That’s not to say these things don’t happen from time to time. Surely, they do happen, but not as often as social media may make it seem. Sure, there are days when I have a good hour to read the Bible or a book, but there are also days when I don’t have time for a cup of coffee, let alone time to read. I have days when my kids are great, but I also have days when they drain me of all my energy. I’ve had some great friends who stood by me through thick and thin, but I’ve also had friends who left me the SECOND they found out I sinned (and the truth is, years later, I still haven’t fully healed from having such close “Christian” friends treat me like a stranger).

Ed Stetzer has a great phrase pinned to the top of his profile that says “Beware of practicing your righteousness before Twitter.” Personally, I feel like many people use their social media to portray this Christianity that simply doesn’t exist. Following Jesus isn’t a piece of cake.

Following Jesus is hard. Relationships are messy. Marriage is difficult. Kids go crazy sometimes. Friends aren’t always true friends.

Don’t practice your righteousness before Instagram for the likes. Don’t practice your holiness before Twitter for the retweets.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” – Matthew 7:21-23

God isn’t going to be looking through your Twitter feed or your Instagram story on the day of judgment. He’ll be looking at your life. Saying you believe in Jesus won’t be enough.

You must actually follow Christ.