Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What kind of Christian are you?

What kind of Christian are you?

By this question, I do not mean what denomination you are, or if you are a strong or weak follower of the Lord, but rather, how you would be described in your approach to living for him.

We all process life through at least one dominant emotion, be it through pessimism, optimism, realism, or even romanticism. The list could go on. So the Christian, for instance, who sees the glass half full may be described as a pessimistic Christian, and so the logic goes for the other emotions listed. That is not to say that one person could not process life through multiple emotions in a balanced mentality. We might call that person a “Well Rounded Christian”. There is great value in all of the emotions that mold a person’s outlook on life, and especially as a Christian. I have found that when my pessimism has prepared me for the very worst, I was utterly delighted that the worst didn’t happen.

I first started thinking about this idea of processing life through a dominant emotion a few years ago when I was sharing a message from the book of the Revelation, and the Lord’s address to the early church about leaving their first love. I translated the Lord’s message through the fond memories of my wife before we married, and how over the years, we began to take for granted what once made our heart skip. After the meeting, a young lady told me that I was “such a romantic”. I have been thinking about this idea since then, and find it is useful to understand ourselves, as well as others, as to why we think and react to life in such different ways. Why we choose a particular church to attend, what programs are important, what issues we are pleased with, or mad about. I can see a “Romantic” Christian attending a Catholic or even a formal Protestant church because of the formal attire the priest or pastor wears, the rituals that are observed, and so on. The beauty of it moves the romantic Christian, and they believe that it is a fitting way to not just honor the Lord, but to worship him in beauty. The realist may lean more to a strict adherence to the doctrine of God’s word, and be appalled at the empty ritualism of the formal church. The Optimist may feel more alive in the Lord when in a church that preaches a positive message that reveals all of the good that God can and will do through the believer that allows him access. The pessimist is always making sure that we don’t make a mistake in the way we meet, pray, study, and fellowship.

Never deny the emotion that dominates your outlook on life, it is what makes you who you are. It is what endears you to others, and helps balance the church as a whole. Never forget that we are created in the image of God, and the very emotions we have, he has. Just take my little list. As a pessimist, he is seen in the Old Testament telling his people all of the good things he will do for them if they obey his word. At times, the nation is on fire, following him in victories over their enemies, possessing their land, offering sacrifices, but even as he tells them about all the blessings, he says in essence, But, I know you will turn from me, and disobey me, and quit loving me, and love others, and you will never see my blessing, but a curse instead. Wow, I get so bummed every time I read some of those passages, even though they always turn out the same way. But we also see him as an Optimist. Even after he tells them about the curse, he then tells them about the future, and how he will restore them, he will give them a heart of flesh in place of the heart of stone they now carry. He will make them the head and not the tail, and all the nations that he allowed to oppress them, will bow down to them. You may ask why he would go through great lengths to have this rebellious people with him in the future, and the only answer is his romantic side. He reveals himself in the very beginning of man’s history, when he created a woman for man. Look how he did it, taken from his side, near his heart, so much so, that man proclaimed her as WOMAN, bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh. We see the Lord with some of the prophets, having them take a wife, and uses that object lesson as a way to call his own beloved back to himself. And who can forget the greatest love story ever written, the song of songs, revealing a great king taken by the beauty of a lowly slave girl, much like the Lord’s love for us, so filthy with sin, a slave to sin and death, yet he loved the church, and gave himself for her.

Don’t get upset with your brother or sister in the Lord because they do not think like you do, or react to things the same way we feel is right, but rejoice that God has allowed us to be who we are, and desires that we approach him as we are, loving him for who he is, and what he has done for us, and where he will take us. Through all of man’s history, and all of God’s dealings with man, he will one day stand and watch as the bride, who has made herself ready to be presented to him, his heart skipping with excitement, all in anticipation of having you and me by his side forever. Now I don’t care what emotion you process that thought with, it has got to move you to devotion to the one who made you thus!