Some people might think there is a list of requirements you have to meet to be a good Christian. First, I want to stress that I firmly believe that we are all good Christians. We may have struggles, and trip at times, but we are good Christians no matter what. We love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind. And, we have opened our hearts to Jesus and try our best to let the Spirit guide our lives. Those things, to me, are the most important. What we do after that doesn’t exactly make us better or worse than other Christians. After all, God doesn’t show favoritism. Still, a lot of Christians feel pressure to do everything perfectly, in hopes that they will be seen as “good enough”, in the eyes of God, and in the eyes of other Christians. So I’m going to go down a common list of things that some Christians feel like they are required to achieve, that I really feel convicted to express that I don’t feel are actual requirements.
Going to church for every service. Okay, I know this is probably going to make some eyes roll, and I apologize, but please let me explain. Now, I try to go to church as often as I can. But honestly, I don’t get to go very often. It is mostly determined by my son’s sleep schedule. If I wake him up in the morning on Sunday before he’s ready so we can go to church, I am going to be called into the nursery every 10 minutes because he’s being a terror. Thursday nights, I work. Since I work for my mom’s business, and I’m the only one that holds my position, that makes it even more difficult to swing. I know some of you are probably thinking I’m making excuses, but that’s just the reality of my life. A lot of people find themselves in a similar pinch, and they feel guilty about it. But here’s the thing; instead of feeling guilty, there are ways to still be fed with God’s word when you just can’t go to church as often as you want, and need to. Read your bible, every day. The most important part of church is hearing God’s word. Well, it’s right there in your bible, so read it! Worship is a big deal to me, and it is to a lot of other people. So listen to Christian radio as often as you can to help lift you up. And, if your church offers web broadcasted service, watch it if possible. Before church was a widely available thing, people had to worship and be fed God’s word in other ways. We can do that too, and we shouldn’t let not going to church weigh down on our hearts.
Volunteering to go on a mission trip. This is something I would absolutely love to do, but it’s not realistic. As a single parent, I carry all the responsibility for my son. He is so young, I don’t feel it would be the right thing to do to leave for several weeks to go on a mission trip. It wouldn’t be ideal for me to take him with me either. Is that terrible? I really don’t think so. I commend people who can commit so much of their lives to that cause, because I think it’s amazing, and it is important for the gospel to be spread around the world, and for Christians to help those in third world countries. It’s just not something I can make happen. Now, when my son is old enough to do something like that with me, I would really love to make it happen. In the mean time, there are other ways to spread God’s word, without going to Africa. When you see a homeless person out on the street in triple digit weather, off him or her some bottled water and food. It’s offering them something they need, and you can take the opportunity to help soften their hearts. There may be plenty of places in the world where God’s word is not heard, but let me tell you, there are plenty of people in our own country that have no clue about God and what He can offer our lives. We can reach out to young people, our friends, our family. It doesn’t matter what part of the world you’re in. Spreading the word and helping your fellow man is spreading the word and helping your fellow man.
Living a sin free life. This, I believe is the most unrealistic thing ever. I’m not saying you should go around doing things you shouldn’t do without a care in the world. However, we are all going to slip up from time to time. Temptation is going to stare us in the face, and we will give in to it. There are some pretty important things I have been able to stay away from that were a real issue for me. Sex being the number one issue. I have promised to be celibate, for how long, only God knows. Love is another one. I used to be very hateful, and full of judgement. For the most part, that has been relatively easy. Little things are what get me. Like cursing, and letting my anger get the best of me. Humans are so emotional, God made us that way. Things that are a product of emotion can be pretty hard to control all the time. The problem with that is, almost everything we do that is sinful is the product of emotion. That is quite the pickle! Instead of feeling a tremendous amount of guilt because you made a mistake, ask God for forgiveness and move on. It’s not like he is keeping a check list of how many times you said you were sorry, and that at some point He’s going to cut you off.
Converting non believers. Is it important to help bring people to God? Absolutely. A wonderful friend helped bring me to God. If she hadn’t of done that, who knows how many years it would have taken me to surrender myself to God. I hope to do the same for as many people as possible while I’m here on this earth. Although it’s important, you don’t need to be a recruiter. God and Jesus are the number 1 recruiters. God just brings certain people into our lives to help us find our way. If there is someone in your life that needs God, yes, you should most definitely be there for that person, and offer up as much comfort and God’s word as possible. When God is making you compelled to do that, do it. That’s part of being like Christ, most certainly. But if you’re thinking back, and your “list” of people is sparse, don’t feel guilty. If you are loving, and kind, and helpful to people who need you, you and God can together soften their hearts.
Some of you might be thinking that this is some sort of justification for me not living my life a certain way. It’s not. The reason I wrote this, is because everyone needs to know that you don’t have to live your life a specific way to be a good Christian. Our walks with God are all uniquely different. God calls us in different ways, and we fulfill His will in different ways. Of course, this is just my personal conviction. Everything I do, I pray on. If I’m doing something wrong for my life, I know God will let me know. He is constantly nudging me in different directions, and when I feel compelled to do or say something, I know it’s Him nudging me to do so. My walk with God so far has been amazing. It has also been difficult and confusing at times, because it is part of human nature to please, and to want to feel good enough. The thing is, when it comes to God and His grace, we are good enough, just as we are. As long as we listen to our convictions, listen to God’s nudges, and do what the Spirit inside is telling us what’s right and wrong, we will do just fine. More than fine, we will be exceptional in the eyes of our God.