How NOT to be a Good Christian

Being a good Christian sounds nice.  But to me, it  is trying to feed the ego so that I can feel better about myself.  It is trying to build up churches, ministries, fellowship, etc. in order to serve the self.  It is worshiping pastors, doctrines, denominations, and convenient interpretation of Bible verses, not serving others like Jesus taught us.  It is not even about Jesus or God, it is simply about the self.

Being a good Christian is  looking for “salvation,” waiting to go “up there” in heaven, or hoping to have some miraculous revelation from God.  Not being a good Christian, on the other hand, would be to stop looking, and simply being.  It means to stop following the church, and start following Jesus.  Now, my personal experience of being is to embrace what I have learned is good and practice it everyday.  It is not to do what I have been told many times is expected from church (even if they say it is what God wants).

What follows are a few tips on how Not to be a good Christian.

Stop Attending Church.  Yes, you read it right. It is truly a waste of time, unless you go to learn more about how to feed the hungry, visit orphans, shelter the homeless, fight for justice, and make peace. But if it involves singing, greeting each other, praying, and listening to a sermon that promotes religiosity and indoctrination of the denomination, like I have witnessed all of my life, then Jesus is being left hungry and naked.  Many times, and  I recently visited one which confirmed this, churches are basically a celebration, like a pep rally.  And people experience the same excitement and pleasure as when people go to concerts, movie theaters,  political conventions, and sports events.  No difference.

Dare to doubt. Question what you were taught to believe, especially if it only helps the church to grow, not promote justice.  Dare to believe in making peace, loving our enemies, forgiving, feeding the poor, being humble, and other perfect selfless characteristics that Jesus taught us at the Sermon on the Mount.

Accept change. It is all about Transition.  It is all a transition from one stage in life to another.  I have learned in life that we must lose some in order to gain some.  When we hold on to specific ideals, people, jobs, etc. without the state of mind that nothing is eternal, then we would be stagnated.  We don’t grow.  People die, jobs are lost, friends leave, opportunities change, simply because life goes on.  I should not hold on to an ideal for too long, because then the reality of the inevitable transition of life will surprise me and the result is disillusionment, chaos, and depression.  On the other hand, when I start accepting the fact that we are all evolving, that nothing is eternal, and that some things end so that others begin, then when change occurs, it is easier to simply embrace it and move on.

Love the Unloved.  Do you love those who agree with you, share the same interests as you, and love you back?  That’s nice.  However, that is just being a good Christian, not what Jesus taught us to do.  How about praying for terrorists?  How about genuinely serving the mean boss who micromanages you?  What about forgiving the robber, rapist, or murderer that just messed up your life? Impossible?  If you are a good Christian, yes it would be impossible.

I consider myself a Reflective Christian, and those of you who have visited my blog before probably have read what I mean by this (Please read What is this Kingdom? page).  My experience has been that it is not about me.  This life is not about following the right denomination, building churches, saying the right things, or religiously reading the Bible and pretend we have a ticket to go to heaven. It is not even about going to heaven, but actually living heaven by doing what Jesus taught us to do: serve others unconditionally.

Do you want to follow Jesus for real?  Then empty yourself from all selfish agendas, “take the cross” by accepting the selflessness of the Kingdom of Heaven, and reach out to others.  Do this and you will be just like Christ.  Anything else would simply mean being a good Christian.

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About Noel

I am a person who has realized that the teachings of Jesus are centralized in the genuine care and service of others. I have evolved from fundamentalism to a moderate spiritual approach. I am a reflecting person who has grown to not fear doubt but to embrace it as a means to growth and increasing closeness to God. View all posts by Noel

12 responses to “How NOT to be a Good Christian

  • Larry Who

    Noel, I read your comments at Marianne’s site (God’s Promises Are Real). What exactly did Jesus say would happen to people who did not believe in Him?

    • Noel

      Larry, thank you for commenting. The Gospels say Jesus spoke about loving our neighbors as ourselves, which is next to loving God (they are equal), as the most important commandment. But “whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. ” Furthermore, Jesus continued by saying that ” This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because THEIR DEEDS WERE EVIL. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed” In other words, people loved darkness more because they did not believe and therefore practice the Kingdom of Heaven, not because they did not confess Jesus as their Savior. People can claim their faiths all they want, but if their lifestyles do not reflect it, their claims mean nothing. James writes very clearly that faith without works is dead. No, I am not implying that we are “saved” through works alone. I am not even talking about “salvation” but about living Heaven on earth (which by itself is salvation). And Jesus did not even talk about Hell like today’s Christians do (but Gehenna, a dump outside of Jerusalem that burned trash and dead bodies). My point is, today’s Christians quickly jump into conclusions that we must follow specific church doctrines in order to avoid eternal damnation. This is not the loving God that Jesus attempted to teach us.

  • Larry Who

    I believe most of the church does not understand the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of heaven as stated in the book of Matthew). Sadly, we’ve had bad teachings over the years.

    Okay, I agree with that.

    But actually, Jesus did talk about a burning, fiery Hell (Hades) for unbelievers. He even gave an illustration with the rich man and the beggar, Lazarus. I wouldn’t want to trade places with the rich man. Would you?

    Now, if you would have made the point that we don’t know exactly what happens to all unbelievers in foreign nations who have not heard the gospel of the Kingdom of God, I would have agreed with you.

    • Noel

      Larry, and that is exactly the point I was implying in my concluding sentence. Sorry about the lack of clarification. It seems we agree about church’s failure to teach what Jesus meant.

  • amracu871012

    I personally do not practice any religion myself, but I think it wise to call attention to the fact the religious institutions are a greater part of the secular superstructure in this increasingly global world. And, that as you mentioned, the laundry list of items that are imposed upon and asked of “good Christians” by the said institution, in many respects, is a self-serving, self-preserving mechanism of the power of that institution. I do want to say though, that for the record, I am not meaning to imply that all or any religious policies, fellowships, charitable efforts, etc lack good will and/or good intentions.

    (Read: I agree with the sentiments expressed in this post and in a way I felt you were touching on this idea in a less explicit manner. I apologize if that was a rather grandiose interpretation.)

  • silverylizard

    just want to share this with you too, noel. i have never been one to adhere to anything except the Word of God. its how we get inside His head, so to speak.
    this blog i read really says it well.
    http://mybroom.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/q265-will-you-please-tell-me-what-to-do/
    k☼

  • duanetoops

    Reblogged this on The Alchemist's Imagination and commented:
    Here’s a great post a read not too long ago from one of the blogs I follow called “Living the Kingdom.” This was a striking piece for me as it seemed to hit very close to home and greatly mirrors not only much of my own thoughts and feelings on the subject of religious institutions and particularly Christianity but, is also very similar to the writings and reflections of my own work. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  • (dis)Placing Christian Origins « The Alchemist's Imagination

    […] week I re-blogged a terrific post from the Blog “Living the Kingdom” entitled “How Not to Be a Good Christian“, which you can read here or here.  This essay outlined many of the most common […]

  • Marianne Lordi

    “Being a good Christian is looking for “salvation,” waiting to go “up there” in heaven, or hoping to have some miraculous revelation from God.”

    You could NOT be more wrong with that statement. A true Christian is not looking for salvation. A real believer has alreay come to the knowledge of salvation through Christ alone. A good Christian is now led by the Spirit of Christ. The Holy Spirit dwells in him and guides him to do the work that was planned for him long before the foundation of the earth. You can do good works until the cows come home and you can’t earn even a step in heaven. It is only when Christ dwells in you and he does his work through you that you know that you are saved. Loving our enemies, feeding the poor, helping others are fruits that you should exhibit when the Spirit is living in you. It is by his will and power that you do them so you have nothing to boast on. The rich young ruler who approached Jesus to ask him what he had to do to be saved was not given a litany of good works to do. After all, the young man said he kept the commandments and did good to others. He wasn’t saved because he was not surrendered to God! He was willing to give up that which was more important to him (money) over a relationship with Christ! It wasn’t his money but his great value of the money. It meant more to him than Christ as he was able to walk away instead of choosing to follow Christ. Good Christians are those who surrender their will to Christ.

    Noel, I know you heard this all before but I pray some day you will have the understanding. True believers aren’t hoping to have some “miraculous revelation” from God because every second of our lives we do get revelation from God. The Holy Spirit lives in us and guides and convicts us. He speaks to our spirit. We have God’s word in Scripture to give us all that we need in revelation. I don’t know why you would think any true believer needs more than that?

  • Tuned in: Testing God once again | Living the Kingdom

    […] Roller coaster,  Is this all there is to Life?, Am I Losing Faith?, Embarrassed by the Church, How NOT to be a Good Christian,  Religiously […]

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