Lose Your Religion, Christian
I have an exercise for those that call themselves Christians (that’s me too). It won’t be easy. But it’s exactly the kind of thing we need these days, since the term has lost some meaning as you look across the landscape of our culture.
Christians, I challenge you to: Resist the urge to be yourselves.
More specifically, I challenge you to peel away the term “Christian” from your mind and remove it from your vocabulary. That’s right, ban it from your mind.
Stay with me…even take it up a notch from there.
Allow yourself to speak about your faith only when you’re asked about it. Now, I know Jesus has called us to have an influence on the culture around us, but can we do that without trying to ‘convert’ people with conversations we control? It seems impossible, but I think it can be done. In fact, it’s an echo of what the early church did after the death of Jesus. It’s as if they took to heart His words when he said to them, “All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” -John 13:35
Remember, the challenge is that you can’t initiate conversations about God or the like. So if no one’s asking why you’re different, you probably have some work to do on yourself.
Your actions and attitude will have to be the catalysts. But when people do ask about how you handle anger, stress, hardships, failures, successes, leadership, authority, and submission, you’ll have your chance to talk. When they wonder why you’re so forgiving and patient, why you won’t compromise, why you remain respectful, why you always have time to talk, why you always have time to just listen—you’ll have the opportunity to explain.
And since you can’t use the term “Christian,” you’ll have to creatively explain what’s going on in your life—and why. You’ll have to find different ways to describe it. It may take some thought, but you can do it.
And if people happen to say, “Oh, you mean you’re a Christian,” that’s fine. Don’t make a scene. Just go with it. It’s accurate. If they ask why you didn’t just say that before, be honest. Tell them you’re trying to redefine the term in your own life because of the bad reputation so many Christians have given Jesus and God.
This challenge will be difficult, but I believe it will work. And I’m willing to bet something revolutionary can happen, both in you and those around you.
If you really want to influence others in the name of Jesus these days, it will take desperate measures. You’ll have to redefine yourself.
So I challenge you to remove the term ‘Christian’ to describe yourself for a season, while still fulfilling The Great Commission (as it’s called). Do it for more than a week. Make it hard; do it for three months. That’s a good test. Even mark it on your calendar as a reminder.
Lose your religion, Christian.