Practicing Christianity

I overheard an interesting discussion at work the other day. The gal who works next to me cutting hair was talking with one of her clients. There’s not much privacy in a shop like I work in, we all hear everything, so their conversation caught my attention. My co-worker was raised with multiple religions in her home. Jewish, Christian, and I think some others from step-parents, etc… She had a Jewish client in her chair and she was talking about Jewish traditions and celebrations. He asked her a few questions, and then I heard her say something about not practicing her Jewish faith…only on holidays, mainly. As I stood there, cutting hair, too, I thought about what she said. I wondered how it would sound if I said something similar about my Christian faith? “I’m a Christian, but I don’t practice it.” What exactly would that mean? It certainly got me to thinking…

This morning I read a verse in Ephesians 4:1 that says, “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” (NLT) The word “beg” really jumped out at me, so I looked it up in another translation. The NET uses the word “urge.” As I read on, it talked about our “responsibility” in verse 12, and in verse 15 about becoming “more and more in every way like Christ.” That sounds a lot like Paul wanting us to practice what we believe. A devoted doctor practices medicine his/her whole life. Should we do any less as Christians? In Ephesians, Paul is begging the people there to lead a life worthy of their calling. What does that life look like? It looks like a life that takes on the responsibility of being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. And in so doing, that life begins to look more and more in every way like Christ. It’s not easy, it takes practice, practice, practice. We never actually finish practicing our Christianity until we arrive Home and meet our Savior face to face.

So if I were to say that I am a Christian, but not a practicing one, where would that leave me? Probably where I was some 15-20 years ago…not knowing much about the Bible, not experiencing much Fruit of the Spirit in my life, not seeing God in daily happenings, not enjoying close fellowship with my Savior, and so on. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to not practice my faith, and it’s not what God wants for His children. It shouldn’t be what we want for our lives either. Why be a Christian at all if we aren’t going to practice it? Should we even call ourselves Christians? Should my co-worker call herself Jewish? If we don’t care enough to put some energy into what we believe and are interested in, what is it worth to us? I have a violin in my house, it’s mine, but I don’t practice it. So I am not a violinist. If we once believed strongly enough about Jesus to choose Him as our Savior and Lord, then practicing our Christianity is essential. If we’re not, then today is as good a day as any to begin.

Searching And Noticing the Divine takes practice, too—practice searching for, and noticing all that God is doing in our lives. It takes sitting at a stop light after years of practicing hearing God’s gentle whisper, and noticing when He says, “Practicing Christianity is your next SAND Room writing.” When we are asked if we are Christians, our Father in Heaven would like us all to say, “Yes, I am a practicing Christian!” When Jesus returns, we want to be among those He will call faithful. The Holy Spirit who lives inside of us urges us into a closer walk with Thee.

It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified
about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.

3 John 1:3 (NIV)