Is your form of Christianity the real thing or is it more like what is seen outside of the church? Don’t mistake my remark for an accusation, it is not, but there are many in the world who have a “form of Christianity but deny its power” which is why there are people who claim that there are hypocrites in the church.
There are many in the world, about two billion or so, that claim to be Christians but if we all were doing the things which Jesus commanded us to do (like love our neighbors as ourselves) the world would be very different from the way it is today. Evangelism by a quarter of the world would have a tremendous impact, especially if it did not involve bombs or killing in any way. How much good could be accomplished this way?
Here in America, some over-the-counter allergy medication has been changed so that you have to have a prescription for the “real” thing. The stuff that you buy OTC just doesn’t work like the real thing and that is what I am referencing about Christians here. Are you for real or are you a Christian in name only?
Being real about your faith and the hope that you have is necessary because fakes can be seen by all. Anyone who knows a real Christian, one that lives their faith every day whether they are at church or at home or at the grocery store, can tell the difference. Your friends can tell the difference too, because when you claim Christianity and don’t live it then it is evident that you are a hypocrite.
2 Timothy 3:5 mentions people who “look like they are religious but deny God’s power.” (It also says, “Avoid people like this.”) Being religious and appearing to be a Christian doesn’t cut it, just like putting on a uniform and giving the appearance of being a police person doesn’t cut it either (and is illegal). True, you won’t go to jail for impersonating a Christian, but if you try to get by with it for long enough you will pay a price.
What do I mean by “pay a price”? Your appearance to others and to the outside world of being a Christian my help your reputation, it may allow you to do many good things for people. But if your heart has not been changed by the presence of Jesus then when your time comes to meet God at the end of your life, then all of the things that you did and the time you spent in church will convict you before Him.
Why will it convict you at that point? Because if you have never asked Jesus into your heart and allowed Him to change you, then all of the truth that you have heard in church washed over you but never penetrated your heart. Like being baptized but not really being saved, you just got wet. I went through these motions a few times and it makes you feel good for a while, but if the commitment to follow Jesus is not present then it doesn’t last long. A Christian that has never accepted Jesus as their Savior is not a Christian. They were just present in church in body not soul and they occupied a seat. Some may even have been deacons or teachers in Sunday school.
I have even read about some pastors or bishops who had been filling their positions for many years and yet became convicted at some point of the emptiness in their life and their heart and finally came to the point of asking Jesus into their lives. It was at this point that their ministry truly became effective and real to them and to their congregations. It was hard for me to understand how someone that had been teaching from God’s word and performing the duties of a preacher and yet they had never really given their heart to Jesus!
Make sure for yourself and for those who come in contact with you, because they are watching you to see if you are for real. If you claim Christian ideals and beliefs then people are really going to watch and listen to every word and deed, to make sure that you are real. So make sure for your sake now and for eternity.