“I guess I’m kinda half a Christian.” Her admission caught me by surprise. I had met the woman only a few moments before, as we both were traveling. We started talking about my vocation and it led to her admission of her non-involvement with her church. She went on to say, “I guess it’s time to make a confession …” and then spilled some of her story which included choices she knew were wrong. I tried to help her understand that one cannot be ‘half a Christian’ though it is possible to miss the best that Christ offers by living cross purposes with God and His will.
Are you living a ‘half Christian’ kind of life, professing faith, wanting, at some level, to be a loving, whole person; full of joy, generous, pure, and holy; yet unwilling to make Jesus your Lord as well as your Savior? Do you feel the tug of the Spirit of God, but excuse yourself from doing what He asks? Having one foot in the world and one in the realm of the Spirit creates a special kind of misery. When how we act and what we say don’t line up, it creates pain – in us and for those around us. James tells us, a ‘double-minded man becomes unstable in all his ways!’ If we ignore the Word, refuse the Spirit, blur the lines with compromise – we lose clarity and can no longer know where pretense ends and reality begins.
The women who told me she was ‘half a Christian’ admitted that she had stopped going to worship, but quickly followed up by pointing out that she ‘just didn’t get much out of going to church anymore.’ No wonder, honestly. How could she experience the joy of being in God’s Presence when she was doing things she knew, full well, were outside of His will for her? How could she expect to know the uplift of turning her heart towards the Spirit when she would not respond to His leading about her day to day choices?
There is a way of wholeness. The Bible says, “It is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:10, NIV) In other words, a person right with God has heart and mouth aligned, belief and action unified. They will not be imposters, simply acting like a Christian, nor will they delude themselves with the lie that being a Christ-follower is just a matter of knowing a few right things about theology. Do not misunderstand me and read that we can somehow ‘save ourselves’ through efforts at goodness. Salvation is a gift of God, by faith through grace, given us freely in Christ Jesus.
However, there are choices to be made, if we want to know the fullness of that life, if we desire to become a whole person; spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. When we believe God’s promises and act, in faith, on them, we are ‘saved!’ Salvation is not just a change of eternal destination! God wants to transform us, inside out, starting with our most basic values. That inner realignment leads to a visible change in both our words and actions. Jesus calls it being ‘born again of the Spirit.’ Paul calls it ‘renewal.‘ “Jesus Christ,” he writes, “saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5, NLT)
Are you, like my friend on that airplane, feeling like a ‘half Christian?’
Are you rejecting the call to discipleship, refusing the leading of the Holy Spirit?
Are you trying to keep your ‘faith’ separate from your actions?
Are you able to do theology, but keep it disconnected from how you live?
That is an awful way to live, one that makes pain and problems for you, that brings dishonor on Christ. Do not stay there for another moment. Invite the Spirit to begin a truly transformational work and become authentic – no more than you are, no less than God purposes you to be. Your life will become a thing of true beauty. Your mind will be at peace. The world around you will be influenced by your real faith! “Believe and speak!”
Here is a word from the Word that points the way to wholeness. “Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” (Romans 10:9-10, The Message)
Praise God! Amen.
Take time to be holy
Speak often with God
Find rest in Him always
And feed on His Word
Make friends of God’s children
Help those who are weak
Forgetting in nothing
His blessing to seek
Take time to be holy
The world rushes on
Much time spend in secret
With Jesus alone
By looking to Jesus
Like Him thou shalt be
Thy friends in thy conduct
His likeness shall see
Take time to be holy
Let Him be thy guide
And run not before Him
In joy or in sorrow
Still follow thy Lord
And looking to Jesus
Still trust in His Word
Ronn Huff | William Dunn Longstaff © Words: Public Domain