How to Be a Christian in an Anti-Christian World




Being a Christian is difficult, especially when you are surrounded by anti-Christian hostility. Sometimes, the hostility is due to misconceptions of who and what Christians are. Other times, the hostility is due, not to misconceptions, but to truth. So how can we be faithful Christians in a culture that grows increasingly intolerant of who we are? Below are some points to get you thinking in the right direction.

Recognize Your Identity

The Bible says that those who have accepted Jesus as their King belong to a new family. God adopts us as his own children. This means that the moment you accept Christ you are no longer a member of earth-family, but a member of heaven-family. Your identity is no longer attached to this planet. Your identity is now in heaven. This means that you will live forever with all those who love God. But it means something more. It means that that "forever" has already begun. So when you encounter intolerance and bigotry because of your faith, remember you are a traveler in this world. You do not belong. So don't expect to always be treated as though you do.

Embrace Anti-Conformity

Because of your new identity life does change. Your life will now be in harmony with your identity. This means that you will no longer fit in to the status-quo of earth culture. You will swim against the current. You will go against the wind. You will walk opposite the crowd. You are an anti-conformist: one who refuses to conform to the norm. Embrace it. And if you really think about it, its pretty cool. The most memorable people in history were often anti-conformists. Moses who chose to side with slaves instead of empire, Daniel who refused to pray to a King, John the baptist who was not afraid to challenge authority, Jesus who stood against everything the religious powers of his day lived for and you. You who belong to a family of wayfarers. Sojourners at variance with popular culture. Your heritage is steeped in non-conformers. Brave men and women "who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and... who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground" (Hebrews 11:33-38). This is your heritage. These are your ancestors. Anti-conformity.

Live with Fearlessness

Being an anti-conformist is not easy. Jesus lived a counter-cultural life and if we follow him we too will be counter-cultural. This doesn't mean we reject or demonize culture, but it does mean that we influence it in a different direction. Where the culture is intolerant, we embrace. Where the culture is exclusive, we include. Where the culture is indifferent, we stand up. Where the culture objectifies, we uplift. Where the culture is sinful, we are holy. This kind of life requires courage. And God has promised all of his children that he will give them a spirit of "fearlessness". So live with fearlessness. Its a gift from God. 

Love, not Religion

There is only one Biblical reason to be faithful to God - love. God doesn't accept obedience based on fear, or self-preservation. Only the service of love is acceptable to him. Living as a Christian in a secular world is hard. You can get bullied. You can be ostracized. You can experience moments of intense loneliness. Its not easy. But you'll do it anyhow because of your love for God. That love-relationship far outweighs anything this world has to offer. This is something those who don't know God will never understand. It's like a guy falling in love. All his friends think he's suddenly gone all weird. He stops hanging out with them as often. He sings silly songs. He spends all his time thinking about and talking to this girl. Her photograph is his cell-phones wallpaper and he might even get a tattoo of her name (bad idea!). None of his friends get him. But it doesn't matter. He's in love. This is what Christianity should be like. Love, not religion. It is that love - and that love alone - which will give you the drive to sacrifice anything and everything for God.

Thirst for God


Abraham is the father of anti-conformists. Why did he live his life this way? Paul says, "He was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:10). For Abraham this world was nothing. He literally didn't desire it. He lived each day longing for another city, one not found in this world. He lived each day yearning to live in the very presence of God. The more we immerse ourselves in him and long for him the less we will care what other people think, say, or do to us. We thirst for God, not men, and that's how we live our lives.
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John 15:18 If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you. 
John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you...
2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
1 Peter 4:16 If any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God...
Matt 5:11-12 Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

4 comments:

  1. Good stuff bro! Jesus is a culture of his own. The kingdom of God has-- and always will confront all cultures from the beginning of time. In his days on earth Jesus went against the modernism of the Pharisees that said do what we say because we said it. And he also went against the we won't do anything anyone says because they said it attitude of the post-modernist Sadducees. All worldview conflicts stem from pride. The modernist are prideful of there rules and even though they have poor relationships, at least their proud of being responsible and doing everything by the book. The Post-modernist is proud of being relative, and not being like the modernist judges-- not fitting into anyone's box. The principles of creation, or the principles of the Kingdom of God go against any other world view. The principles of the kingdom are not focused on the rule or the absence of the rule; but the kingdom principles are focused on the relationship behind the rule.
    -Anthony Nix
    Dude did you get my e-mail?

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    1. Anthony! Wassup bro? Hey I got your email recently and have been meaning to write back but Ive been soooooo busy, lol. I will write back though dude :D and hey, thanks for your comments - although I would argue that the pharisees were pre-modern not modern ;)

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    2. I see how you could say they were pre-modern, but they also had modernistic tendencies :) maybe that's because modernism is a reaction to pre-modernism. I need to talk to you about something else also.
      -Anthony

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    3. Pre-moderns are characterized by their blind trust in religiosity, dogma, and superstitions which is kind of like the pharisees. Modernists rejected religion and replaced it with science. it is a skeptical worldview that believes only what can be tested in the natural world. So yeah, I would say the Pharisees had a bit of modernism in them in the way they were always trying to "test" Jesus. Ill shoot you an email soon and we can chat bro :D

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