How should we act as Christians? For me, I distinctly remember my first interaction with a Christian Church. It was a Latter Day Saints Church that would bring a bus around our trailer park every Sunday, inviting parents and children to their church. This particular Sunday, my parents were still sleeping Saturday off so I made the decision to hop on the bus with some friends. The people on the bus seemed so nice and welcoming, and we were met with snacks and drinks on the bus. We got to the church and we were ushered in a side door to a room where we were sat down and given a lesson, said prayer, and then were allowed to go outside to a separate play area and had a great time. We then were fed lunch and returned home.
Christians “Acting” Good
Seems like the church did an amazing thing for us right? Yes and No. Looking back on this first interaction I began to notice things. We were welcomed on the bus with snacks and friendliness, however that seemed to end when we got to church and went into class. Notice that I cannot remember anything about the lesson, but I distinctly remember being separated from the “regular” churchgoers. It seemed to me they were embarrassed to have us in front of their church, so they snuck the dirty kids in around back. We were segregated in a different playfield from the kids with ties and nice clothes. I had the feeling that I had been invited, but I was not welcome.
I think this is true of many churches today. As the church, we want to do what Christ has called us to do, but we do it on our terms. We invite the poor people, but separate them from the tithers. We want Jesus to know we are checking the boxes, but in reality we aren’t really checking on anybody. So when asked the question “How should Christians Act?” and I say they shouldn’t, I should not see the look of confusion I normally get.
The Reality of the Act
The truth is, Christians shouldn’t be putting on an act, they should be doing what they are called to do. Jesus tells us that Christian Actors will abound:
Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20So then, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’
Jesus Tells it Like it Is
Jesus makes clear that there will be many “Christians” acting the part. What should make the theological hair stand up on the necks of true believers is that imposters and actors are not tolerated. notice in verse 21 who will meet the Father in Heaven, those who DO the will of the Father, not act like they do the will of the Father. In this day and age it seems try so hard to circumvent the Will of God to act like Christians. We have this smooth outer vernier of piousness but are rotting on the inside. As Christians we want the crown without the cross, and the blessings without the doing. We desire to be actors so everyone will know we are Christians, the problem is acting does nothing to show Christ you are a Christian.
The Consequences of an Acting Church
Very simply- do the Fathers business, don’t act like your doing it. Either decide to do the will of the Father or walk away. The consequences of a church that acts and does not do is what we see today. Pastors abusing church members, child abuse, mental abuse, acts of violence in the name of God. Those that do the will of the Father are so rare that society is shocked when they meet them. Listen to what I just said; The world is surprised when Christians do what they are supposed to do. Acting like a Christian has become the norm. Doing the will of the Father is too grimy, so the acting Christian doesn’t get their hands dirty.
We must be about the Fathers business, not worried about what we get out of it. We act like Christians because we can play Christian without putting skin in the game. Jesus put all of His skin in the game, including His life, for the grimy of us. It shocks me that we cant be bothered to do anything, but surely want to act like we are. You can do the Fathers will or not, but acting like your doing is detrimental to not only yourself, but the ones hurt by your acting. Stop acting and do!