Is My Jesus That Different?
Fact: I have been toying back and forth with today's post for some time. (If anyone tells you that blogging is easy, I'm telling you they're straight up lying to you.)
I didn't want to approach this topic in a judgmental, condescending, or a prideful tone ( so please don't read it as such). Whenever believers begin to share their views of the Word of God and the relationship one has with Christ, there tends to be a tone that puts other perspectives down. This is not the place for it. Again, we are a family of love, compassion, and respect. We are all growing, and we are here to support each other's growth. Now moving on...
I recently started noticing that a couple of people I had encountered in my life (all 24 years of it) who claim to be believers of Christ, who I struggled to have fellowship with had a common saying either when they stopped speaking with me or during the attempts to fellowship. Each person began talking to me because they enjoyed hearing or seeing my faith in action (and vice versa). We would get excited to have found another brother or sister in Christ only to sit down and find out that my faith clashed with theirs. How is that possible?
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
I've been asking God, "if we're all believers of Christ and we all love you, then why are we struggling to fellowship together?" I used to think that it was because I'm bombastic and can come off overly zealous at times because of my passion and joy for Christ and the love of God. But that made me realize, why do other believers pull away from my joyful and passionate self? Is my perspective demeaning of others and their faith? (I believe we ought to check ourselves especially when it comes to the case of different views.)
Now, as I'm writing this, I don't believe I have the exact answers to the questions in the paragraph above. Though, I do think that one of the main reasons as to why believers experience conflict with one another doesn’t just start with whether or not someone is a quote on quote, Christian.
See, while I was at Liberty studing the difference between a Biblical Worldview ( shout out to all my professors during my years at LU ) and the rest of the worldviews, I noticed that as believers we tend to focus and protect ourselves from being “unequally yoked.” But I don’t think that being unequally yoked is as black and white as we make it seem. I used to see this phrase as “do not get in an intimate relationship with those who aren’t believers.” But it’s deeper than that just like everything when it comes to Christ.
I had to speak with a couple of my mentors and Christ before I got to the conclusion that just because someone claims to be a Christian, goes to church, tithes, participates in communion, volunteers in ministries, goes on missions trips, knows how to quote Scripture, and seems to be holy and sanctified doesn’t mean jack! (I know that’s harsh but the truth is harsh my loves, and that’s what I will continue to live in.)
Before, whenever I found out that someone was a believer, I would get fired up and do everything in my power to make sure I created a bond with them. I mean in this world, it’s difficult to find someone who claims to follow Christ and actually goes to church or is even baptized. But I wasn’t listening to the Spirit of God when I would meet these people. You know that Scripture says…
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Just because someone says they’re a Christian doesn’t mean they are following Christ the way you are or even following him in their private lives. Now this isn’t faulting anyone and their faith, but instead, I’m pointing out the words that Jesus said:
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’'
Be careful (cue Cardi B cause girlfriend is a queen 👑; sorry for my craziness, let’s get back to the post)! Be on alert! I know it’s fantastic to find a friend in Christ. I know the feeling of happiness and excitement that fill your heart when you meet a man or woman who says, “yes I’m all about Jesus.” I know the feeling all too well. But don’t allow yourself to jump into a friendship or a relationship just because Christianity is their religious belief on Facebook or some dating site. Prove that spirit! Let me tell you the ways God has helped me to understand if my Jesus is the same Jesus someone is talking about:
1| How does this person talk about their friends, family, and others when there is a conflict of any kind? Do they gossip? Do they use harsh language? Do they put down someone you don’t even know of? How do they treat people who aren’t in their presence? Remember what God said:
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
2| What is the response you receive when you bring up attending church, Bible study, Sunday school, or anything that involves getting intimate with Christ? If you’re in a relationship (or thinking about getting in a relationship with someone) are you the only one that is suggesting these activities or is it a mutual thing?
3| Can you hold a ‘Jesus talk’ with this person. Remember how I said I get hyped about Jesus? Well, so many times, all I want to do is spend hours talking about Jesus. However, I’ve come to learn people who aren’t on the same spiritual wavelength as I am cannot handle (or at times refuse) to continue having these conversations with me. ( Luke 6:45 )
4| When the crap hits the fan, how do they treat their relationship with God? Do they get mad at God? See this is a tricky thing because some believe that they have the right to be upset with God But, based on my relationship with Christ, I don’t agree with that perspective (again this is based on my connection). After knowing about some of the things God has protected me from, what he does for me in spite of who I am, and the awareness of how he unconditionally loves me, I believe it’s childish and disrespectful to even get mad at God. Like the heck?! Who do I think I am getting mad at the one who loves me the most. Okurrrt! (I told yall I love me some Cardi!)
5| The testimonies! Listen carefully to when someone is sharing their testimony with you. Their love for Christ will shine through their story and the experiences they share with you. If you sense resentment, hurt, pain, or anything that makes you feel like this person isn’t over the negative parts of their story that’s a red flag that God is still is working on them. Do not play missionary friend or missionary girlfriend or missionary boyfriend! That is not your job! You will lose yourself in the midst of trying to save someone. Let God do that!
6| Can they be happy (genuinely happy) for you in your achievements, goals, or spiritual experiences? If someone struggles to get as excited for something you know Jesus is jumping up and down about for you, then their heart isn’t where you can be connected to them. Be very attentive to this.
7| How do they treat the blessings God has given them. Blessings such as their job, their possessions (oh be careful with that too; if someone allows materialistic things to change their mood, run), their spiritual gifts (are they using them), and the visions God has given them? This a spiritual responsibility. If we do not prioritize the gifts and blessings, God has given us then do we really love and respect him (I know, harsh)?
For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’'
Bonus #8: Do their actions and words match up with the two important messages of the Word of God?
So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
Now in everything that I am saying, this list above is for myself too. I cannot emphasize the importance of making sure you keep yourself in check and not display anything that isn't pleasing to God. It’s easy to see the wrongs in others and say that they are wrong for this and that. But, I will tell you that it takes a great deal of Jesus and the Holy Spirit for one to be able to take a look at their soul and see all the things they ought to work on. As I conclude this post, I want you to remember these words from the Book of Jude:
But these people blaspheme anything they do not understand. And what they do understand by instinct — like irrational animals — by these things they are destroyed. Yet when Michael the archangel was disputing with the devil in an argument about Moses’s body, he did not dare utter a slanderous condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, have plunged into Balaam’s error for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion. '
But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. Have mercy on those who waver; save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. '
Let us be honest in our actions and words. Let us show each other the love that Christ left for us to live in. We must be attentive to all spirits and all people; Christian or not. We must humble ourselves and understand that our relationship with Christ is going to be different from the relationship other believers have with Jesus.
Though, knowing this means that when we do meet those who are running the good race at the same pace as we are, let's hold those people close and not let them go. Those are the people God has purposefully knitted into your life's tapestry. Be aware if they are seasonal strings and lifetime threads (the Holy Spirit's got you there). But that discernment post is for another day.
P.S.: No matter what my list consist of, you can never truly prove a spirit without the Holy Spirit. Case and point🤷🏾♀️💁🏾!
Until next time...