Doing Christianity

James 1: 22

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves.

You might like The Passion Translation of this verse, “Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception.” You should read the NIV version too. They are all getting to the same point but by a little different route. Jesus’ brother shows us that Christianity means discipleship of Christ. In being disciples of Christ, we do what he did and follow his ways. Surely a key part of that is in doing the Word.

I think if I moved to another state it would be Missouri, The Show Me State. I love their slogan. Perhaps I live in that state of mind now. I think about our Christian practice and think it should be less about telling people about Christ and Christianity and a whole lot more about showing them. Hopefully, when we live our Christianity, it opens up doors for us to tell people about the goodness of God and his son.

James said we are deceiving ourselves when we call ourselves Christians but don’t do what the Word says. For example, we saw last week a proverb that told us not to lie. So, that one is pretty easy. When we “do” the Word, we become truth tellers. We install that verse into the mechanics of our lives. How about another example? Matthew 5: 15 – 16, “Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.” This one seems pretty simple too but the point we might miss is that we are to do good unto others. In other words, Jesus is not leading us to showing off or bragging because he explicitly told us not to practice our righteousness in the sight of others in order to be noticed by them (Matthew 6: 1). Instead, let our light, the light of Christ, shine by showing the kindness of Jesus and Yahweh to others. One more? “Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on (Matthew 6: 25). Don’t worry! When you practice Christianity, you must divorce yourself from worry and fear. These are an insult to God who is our provider and strong fortress. Jesus wants us to put our faith in our Father and not worry nor fret.

I could go on and on. Many verses are direct, explicit instruction. Others may need more meditation to discern how they should affect your life. Each Word of the Day is an invitation to see what God is saying to you. You can ask yourself, how should this change my life?

The bottom line is that as Christians we should demonstrate the meaning of Christianity. What are disciples of Christ? People ought to be able to look at our lives and see Jesus. Of course, the number one principle Jesus taught us is that in showing love, we prove ourselves to be disciples of Christ.

Let your light shine for all the world to see. Help others to light their candles. Let us stand up and be counted as followers of Jesus, the Christ, who gave his life that none should perish.


Colossians 3: 12 – 14

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also. In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

We can keep this simple today. Earlier in the week we saw what Paul said we should not do as children of the King. We are being called to put off the old dead self and to take up the garment of a new life in Christ Jesus. That new life, well, it looks like this. We are going to loop back around to this idea next week, but I think it is obvious. Don’t tell me you are a Christian. Just pretend I am from Missouri, the “Show me” state. Show me.

These are the characteristics or behavior traits of a child of God. Do we show and act out of a heart of compassion? Are we kind? Where is humility in our words and actions? Am I gentle? Patient? Can I show tolerance to another and forgive anyone? It all boils down to love. If we are not those who act in accordance with and motivated by love, then we ought not be so bold in declaring ourselves Christians because this is how Christians behave. Unity isn’t just a cool idea. It is a mandate. We do not have a choice. But then, unity is simply a byproduct of love. If love is our motivator, then all of the traits in today’s verses are ours and increasing.

Require this of others. Require it of the church! Without love, we are not the beautiful church. Without laying down the old man and picking up the new life in Christ, we cannot follow in Christ’s footsteps. It is time we looked to ourselves and strengthened ourselves as a body in Christ. This is the path that Paul laid out for us. This is the way.