“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
I have never liked this quote by Gandhi because it makes all Christians appear fake. I have met other unbelievers who quote this Gandhi assertion to me as if it brings them great joy to bring out the faultiness of our walk with the Lord. While I could just tell them they are wrong I think it brings up a valid argument that needs to be talked about…why don’t Christians look just like Christ?
The simple answer is that we aren’t Jesus Christ, the Savior, the redeemer, and the lover of souls.
Christ was a man here on earth but he is also a part of the trinity, the father, the son, and the holy spirit. As Christians we are included into the Kingdom of God but we will never take a place within the trinity. We are just humans, God’s creation, who have evolved into sinners that are only saved by the grace of God. The reality is that we aren’t fake but instead are trying to emulate our Savior. It’s not an easy task to put it lightly. We will never be as great as Jesus or nearly as perfect as him. But that won’t stop us from trying to be like him. So inevitably we will fail time and time again because it is a process to learn how to apply the things he taught into our own lives.
Also, as Christians we undoubtedly appear conflicting to the world as we strive to be more and more like Jesus. Our flesh encourages us to do things we weren’t created to do, the things we shouldn’t do. And that is how the world sees us. They see us when we are weak and struggling to follow Christ. I have no doubt people have seen me at my worst and have been judgmental as to who I truly am.
As disciples of Christ, we struggle as anyone would because there is a spiritual battle over our souls. This battle is real and it’s about whom we claim to love and follow. As unbelievers look at us Christians they may be confused because we talk about being a new creation but yet here on earth we are so unlike Jesus as we fall prey to habits and unhealthy desires. We appear to be so unlike him because we are NOT him. We attempt to do everything we can as he did while he was here but it’s hard. We are a new creation but we still struggle with our old habits and desires. And we are yet again reminded just how much we need Jesus, saved or not!
It’s also difficult when people expect Christians to be just as Christ was and we aren’t. We are not the Messiah, we are merely his disciples. We will fail so many times where Christ would of succeeded and that is why we look to the Lord for help. I know the Lord is with us as his word promises. We read in many areas of the bible how the Lord is with us. I think it is repeated so many times because the Lord knew that we needed that reminder.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” -Deuetronomy 31:6
“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” -Psalm 73:213-26
“A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” -Psalm 23:1
David himself wrote so many psalms crying out to God for help and also thanking him, praising him. If you look at David’s life though we can see how his flesh led him astray. He lusted for other women, specifically, Bathsheba, even though she was married to another man who served David. But, David’s weaknesses overpowered him and he slept with her and when she became pregnant and his other plans didn’t work out in his favor, David then issued orders for Bathsheba’s husband to be killed. His lust won and it took David time to realize how costly his unhealthy desires, his sins, truly were. David wrote Psalm 23:1 as he reflected on his own experience caring for sheep with how it relates with our relationship with the Lord.
Sadly, like David it is in our times of great weakness that people decide who they think we are based on how far we fall.
We are wretched sinners (all of us) saved by God’s amazing grace. Jesus did not sin and that is impossible for us as humans to do. We sin because unfortunately we live in a world that encourages sinful behavior.
As Christians we are all disciples of the Messiah but we are riddled with affliction and find it difficult to follow God’s commands with the discipline that Jesus did. We are students of Jesus and will never be greater than he is. Honestly, if people are looking for perfection in us as Christians they will be disappointed because we can only try to be more like Jesus but we will never attain that perfection while on earth as he was.
If you’re a Christian reading this I pray you don’t give up following Jesus. If you are an unbeliever reading this I pray you extend grace to us because we are doing the best we can and we desperately need Jesus just as much as you do!