There have been many times in my life when people have cut me down for being too religious. For talking about God too much, applying faith too seriously in too many “unimportant” areas or decisions of life, and holding too higher view of the standards that mature Christians should attain to.
[Just to side-track for a second, I’m very, very, very far from perfect in life and faith. I can’t explain why or how I’ve developed this excitement about God except that He placed it in me.]
When I was a teenager, I even had leaders in my church comment things along the lines of needing to relax about putting God and faith into every little situation and event and thought about life. But while I felt embarrassed about my “over-commitment” to Christianity, it was never a habit I could successfully shake. Even this year I have heard comments from people close to me in my life about needing to take breaks from, or toning down, the constant commitments to worship, because it didn’t match with what their own faith looked like.
To be honest, I’m a little shocked that it took me up until this morning to realize that I am not the one who should be embarrassed by this.
In Christianity we like to talk about giving our life to Jesus, but I wonder how serious we are about that statement. Are we actually committing to give all of our life, even the areas and relationships we don’t really want to, to God? Or are we committing to tacking Jesus onto the end of what we do?
I don’t want to give a little of myself to God. I made a commitment when I was very young that I wanted to give everything, all of me, to Jesus Christ, and I have never swayed from that deepest conviction. There have been times it hasn’t been easy. There have been times when I have dwelt on how much easier and smoother and happier my life might be if I wasn’t a Christian. But I am.
Faith in Jesus as God, King, and Saviour is not an outfit I can put on and take off. It is the blood that runs through my body; it is the fibre that holds my very being together. Do I always live like that? I’m ashamed to say no. But mistakes and failures are nothing to be ashamed of compared to my willingness to downplay my passion for Christ – and His passion for us – because it might make other Christians feel uncomfortable.
Luke’s gospel makes clear that commitment to Jesus Christ will cause tensions between even the closest of friends and family members. While I do believe that part of being a Christian means learning to accommodate others by not being overbearing, and by reflecting on oneself in prayer with willingness to be changed by the Holy Spirit, I also believe that living life according to the convictions and passion that God has placed in us, and of course, according to His word in scripture, is always the right thing to do.
I would rather be shamed by the world and glorified by Christ, than be glorified by the world and deny Christ in me. May God grow in us the strength and courage to stand firm in our convictions and knowledge of the truth to glorify Him with our lives.