Why Do We Label Ourselves Obedient?

Not everyone who wears the name “Christian” does so as if to say, “I’m obedient to God,” – but many do.  It’s evident in their attitudes.  It’s as if they’re saying, “God told us to repent and believe in Jesus, and I’ve done so.”  Listeners get the impression that if they haven’t done what this person has done, then they are being labeled as disobedient to God.

This kind of attitude is unfortunate…and wrong.  First, the person is implying that the repentance and believing was a fairly swift transaction.  And, indeed, for many such people it was: Pray “the sinner’s prayer” and it’s done!  That repentance could be completed with a sixty-second prayer is absurd.  Second, Jesus told us that even when we are at our most obedient we should not brag about that obedience.  Yet this is what passes for Christianity in many circles.

The solution is to abandon all such labels: Christian, born again, evangelical.  These are man-made labels that have nothing to do with the way God looks at us.  They are intended to imply to “outsiders” that they need to get on board, too.  Otherwise, they’ll be considered disobedient to God.

Instead of such labels we ought to simply try our best day by day to obey the Lord.  If we are obedient, let us be content with knowing that and not feel like we have to tell other human beings about it.  Besides that, tomorrow is another day and we’ll need a fresh portion of grace if we are to overcome the temptations therein.  It’s better not to count our chicks before they’re hatched.

If we can accumulate enough of these days, perhaps at the end of our life the Lord will pronounce us obedient.  Until then, we’re just one of God’s six billion children on the planet trying to do their best.


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