“The creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves.”
– C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Believing in the Lord – how complex or how simple is it? From the outside, it looks like you need a certain mathematical equation, a recipe, a secret password to unlock a door. It’s common to think that you have to fit a “mold” to follow the Lord; after all, don’t all Christians wear sandals in the winter and know the right things to say in a prayer and have sad back stories that got them to where they are now?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
There is no mathematical equation to following the Lord.
We are not called to be a mirror image of other Christians; we are called to be a mirror image of Christ.
We were uniquely created by Him to be more ourselves when we are with Him. Together, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, but even more so: together, we are individuals. You don’t have to own a hammock, take “artsy” Instagram pictures, wear a t-shirt with a giant campus ministry logo screen-printed across it to be a child of God. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t guilty of all of these things. My shoes of choice happen to be rubber with thick purple straps across the foot. My favorite thing to do is write in my journal with my brand new pens and I tend to live behind my camera and my GoPro. When I first told someone how at home I felt at a summer camp: he called me “hippie scum.” Coffee is my guilty pleasure and the picture above is one I took yesterday morning. But these things do not define my relationship with the Lord. If they did, it wouldn’t be a relationship. It would be a counter of “likes,” it would only last until those pens drew their last marks.
The ways I express my faith are and should be completely different than the people beside me. Galatians 1:10 says:
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
There is no mathematical equation to following the Lord because God is the Word and not this world. By thinking you have to be a certain kind of person to be in Him would mean that instead of pleasing Him, you’re pleasing the broken sinners among you. Satan expects us to become of a certain mold, the Lord expects us to do one thing and that is: live in His image, and unconditionally love His people.
God doesn’t look like shiny laptops and coffee shops and concerts with lights flashing. No, He doesn’t. But He does look like the thousands of people you can find in those concerts, sitting in those coffee shops, typing on those laptops – and that is: none of the same. He looks like the people who fall to their knees surrendering to His name. He looks like the little boy giggling, like the girl who sits among believers, feeling unsure. Becoming like Jesus is nothing like wearing a WWJD bracelet, so stop trying to put checks next to earthly must-have lists.
The challenge here is to stop looking like this world and start looking like our God. The challenge here as believers is to make known the path to the Lord, and that is without a secret word or handshake. The challenge here is to show everyone – believers and non-believers alike, that the Lord only requires a few things of you:
“to act justly
to love mercy
to walk humbly with our God.”
That’s it. There’s nothing else. You don’t have to know a certain kind of prayer, you don’t have to hold your hands a certain way. Your faith isn’t determined by other’s appreciation of it. Oh, oh no. Your faith is fully in the Lord, the farthest thing from this earth. So, be open about your love for the Lord. Live it, scream it from the rooftops and tree-covered hills and valleys and oceans and everything in between. Let people see different believers. Strengthen your faith through sharing it with others; share it by demonstrating how many different ways you can love the Lord.
When you throw yourself towards the Lord, don’t get distracted by the people in your way. Don’t let them tell you how or what to pray, how or what to feel. The Lord asks you to walk humbly with Him and to serve the Lord in His image – so go, and do. Don’t let me tell you how to live out your relationship with our Creator because I am nothing but a fallen sinner – a fallen sinner reaching up to God, just like you.