I have been doing a lot of thinking on the relationship between Christian faith and everyday living. The Bible is crystal clear on this topic. There is to be a direct correlation between what we say we believe and what we do in our lives. James says it explicitly in his letter multiple times. Other New Testament writers also describe the indisputable connection between faith with works. And yet, it seems to me, that modern day American Christianity is increasingly separating belief and behavior. The Catholic Church has long been accused of this, but I increasingly see Protestant believers from many denominations following in the same footsteps.
One of the primary reasons, I think, that people are failing to live out their faith is that Christian faith is becoming increasingly marginalized and looked down upon by mainstream society and Christians feel scared and uncomfortable. Many of the foundational Christian morals of the past are deemed out-dated. If Christians live by a traditional Christian moral code they are labeled as hateful, old-fashioned, intolerant, bigoted, small-minded, ignorant, judgmental, sexist, or unloving. No one likes to be called these names and so Christians have become careful and soft. They have even begun to embrace ideas and behaviors as acceptable that were once thought of as sinful, offensive, abominable, and unholy.
Christians have even begun to lower the moral bar given in Scripture under the pretense that they are doing so for the reason of more effective evangelism. I understand the goal, but a) I don't think most of the people who say this really practice intentional evangelize, and b) the idea of making Christ more appealing to lost people through looser moral standards and evangelism based on a common love of Breaking Bad or The Bachelor is a really bad, really unBiblical idea. Proving to an unbeliever that you are relevant and hip because you listen to Jay-Z or because you too think Modern Family is funny doesn't awaken their dead spirit to a joyful desire for Jesus.
I know, I know, I am bordering on being a legalist and a fundamentalist here. I can see people's fingers twitching to leave me a comment. But the thing that annoys me so much is that I see all kinds of people throwing around Jesus this and Jesus that, but they don't back it up by showing any real commitment to Him or His Word with their lives. My Facebook wall and the comments people leave there prove this. Jesus is everyone's buddy but very few people's boss. He is their life raft when they're in trouble but he is not their Lord when they don't like what he demands.
I'm a pretty sound sleeper, but one of the things that keeps me up is the thought that I'm in some way dishonoring and disappointing Jesus. I hate my sin. I hate that even on my best days I screw up over and over again. I hate when I talk behind someone's back, when I rush to judgement, when I get angry too quickly, when I desire something I know is disobedience. The thought that I may fail to live righteously enough terrifies me. Don't get me wrong, I believe my salvation is secure in Christ and the cross, but I want to continually test my faith and strengthen my allegiance to Jesus by growing in holiness and turning over every area of my life to Him who saved me.