Many people talk and write about putting Christ back into the word “Christmas,” but perhaps we should all put the word “Christ” back into the word “Christian” first.
Galatians 5: 13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
There’s a lot of talk these days about freedom and faith, and how these two noble human qualities are supposed to interact. Coming into work this morning, I was listening to a radio talk show. The host was encouraging his audience to talk about the separation issues between Church and State. As usual, each side was berating the other: Christians claimed to be persecuted by local, State and Federal laws; Federalists were claiming that Christians were interfering in school and county policies.
No one, however, wanted to talk about the freedom that Christians called to express – the freedom to serve one another. Some Christians believe that their religious freedom gives them the right to do what they want, but that’s not who we are supposed to be. Faith in Christ frees us from serving sin, Satan, and our selfish desires. We are freed from the bondage of boundaries, banality and belligerence, in order to effectively and compassionately help the broken and needy people in our communities.
When we use our faith to freely do what we want, we are showing a side of Christianity that Christ would not recognize. If we use our faith to get our own way and denounce others, then we are forgetting how to love the very same world that Christ died for. Christians can look like spoiled religious brats when they insist upon preserving their rights above all others. The world can’t see Christ because of the amount of self-serving Christians who stand in the way.
Many people talk and write about putting Christ back into the word “Christmas,” but perhaps we should all put the word “Christ” back into the word “Christian” first. A little more humility and a lot less hurt feelings would go a long way in enhancing our faith to the world.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive us for seeking to get our own way in the world. We forget that we represent You and not ourselves. Help us in our struggle with humility and teach us the value of serving You by serving others. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.