4 Things Christians Should Stop Doing (Devotional)
As Christians, there are many things we should not continue doing but instead of writing the cliche “thou shall not judge” I decided to be more expansive and touch on ideas many of us have probably never thought about. Here’s another devotional – 4 things Christians should stop doing.
1. Staying within our own communities and surrounding ourselves with people exactly like us.
When we study the life of Jesus we see that He spent considerable time with those deemed unworthy by society. Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes (Mark 2:15), He forgave criminals and even those who were crucifying Him (Luke 23:32-43), and healed lepers (Luke 17:11-19).
These people were at the very bottom of the social hierarchy. Yet Jesus Christ spent time with them. Did Jesus look down on them with disgust and hatred? No. He actively loved them and met then exactly where they were in life. Does this mean Jesus approved of a prostitute’s means of income? Or the fact that the thief on the cross spent his life committing crime? I don’t think He was pleased, but He was more pleased with the fact they came to Him.
David Instone-Brewer says it this way, “Jesus wasn’t soft on sin, but he understood sinners.” And it is the sinners He came to save. We know that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). This was no different then as it is now. I am sure most of us would not enjoy Jesus holding our past over our heads – instead, we would rejoice that we have found the Blessed Hope.
I am sure that if Jesus wanted to, He could have spent His time in the synagogues and homes of those who already knew Him. He could have spent time with those who “got it” and were already believers. But by doing so, He would have contradicted His very nature. Jesus spent time with “the undesirables” because He came to rescue the sick and lost (Mark 2:17) and to give them a chance of inheriting eternal life (John 4:13-14).
If Jesus had kept Himself from those different than Him, it would have been quite harder to fill out God’s perfect and Holy will for His life. As Christians, we should not keep this hope to ourselves. We cannot fear rejection or consider others unsavable; we must interact with the lost and understand that they come in many shapes and sizes. If we only hang out and talk to fellow Christians, how are we completing Christ’s last commandment?
2. Dismissing parts of the Bible we dislike.
If you only believe the parts of the Bible that fit your world view, it is not the Bible that you are believing in. It is yourself. We may not always enjoy reading about certain Biblical events and some may even be hard to stomach but that doesn’t mean we can dismiss it. The Bible is the living, Holy Spirit inspired word of God. God is not a liar (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Hebrews 6:18), God is perfect (Matthew 5:48), just in all He does (Deuteronomy 32:4), and He never changes (Malachi 3:6). These are just a couple of attributes of God, there are more.
This means that the words that God commanded be put onto paper are also true. We often disagree with the Bible because it contradicts our worldview. And when viewing the Bible through a worldly lens you are most definitely going to find contradictions. But if you were to view the Bible through a spiritual lens – as Jesus did – then it is the most powerful, transformational, majestic, and incredible book ever created.
Those who meditate on the word will be prosperous and successful (Joshua 1:8) and if we meditate on His precepts and consider His ways (Psalm 119:15) we will not be put to shame (Psalm 119:78).
It is important to know that God knows what He is doing. His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8). Just because we do not understand or we disagree with His way; it doesn’t make our understanding correct. If anything it highlights the selfishness and pride of mankind. It is sinful to believe that we know better than God or that a worldly principle, that is not based upon Scripture, can replace Scriptures itself.
3. Living in our past.
As I have said before, “forgiveness leads to freedom,” not just freedom to move forward but also freedom from our past. As a Christian, I have been guilty of allowing my past mistakes to linger and drag me down, even though I believe I am completely forgiven. It is a weird place to be in. It is wise to understand that you are no longer who you used to be and is critical to understand where you’ve been to know where you are going. But dwelling in self-pity and allowing Satan to make you stare at your past is damaging. The Devil and his legion of demons only want you to stare at your past because they have no control over your future.
In Jesus there is freedom. There is freedom from addiction, sexual immorality, lying, extortion, and murder. Only through Jesus’ name is freedom available. Under no other name can mankind be saved (Acts 4:12). The Bible tells us that if we repent with a sincere heart and ask for forgiveness we are forgiven and purified from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We must soak in this truth.
If God, the Creator of the universe, can forgive us. We should be able to forgive ourselves and proclaim freedom in Jesus name. Our past should not linger because we have hope for the future. God has a plan for good in store for those who believe in Him (Romans 8:28) and God will not stop working in us until His work is completed (Philippians 1:6).
4. Being selfish with our spiritual gifts and abilities.
Pastor Joe Wittwer of Life Center says this in his article, “spiritual gifts are God-given, God-empowered abilities for serving God and others. You didn’t earn them, work for them or deserve them. They were simply given to you as gift of grace. That’s why you should never brag about spiritual gifts.”
Every Christian has spiritual gifts. Some of us have the spiritual gift of faith, wisdom, teaching, leadership, giving, and others have prophecy. We were not blessed with these gifts to benefit ourselves. We were given these blessings to bless others. The Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14-30 covers this perfectly. We are not called to hoard our gifts. We are to use them to do good (1 Corinthians 12:7) and to serve others (1 Peter 4:10).
Part of not being selfish with your spiritual gifts is to understand that you are just one part of the body – we all belong to each other (Romans 12:4-6). It is key to know that you are not the main focal point and that you are not the greatest gift to mankind. Selfishness stems from a heightened belief that your gifts are more important than somebody else’s. Referencing Pastor Joe again:
“Every time Paul talked about spiritual gifts, he used this illustration of the human body. The diversity of our gifts is always discussed in the context of the unity of the body. Your individual gifts and calling are always seen in relation to the larger good. It’s not about me; it’s about us and Him. Today, we have individualized Christianity. When we talk about spiritual gifts, it’s usually highly individualized. It’s all about me discovering my gifts, finding my role, achieving my happiness. But in the Bible it’s always about us fitting together to do God’s work. We are a community, a family, a team, a body. And for us to do God’s work effectively, you need to understand your role on the team.”
By using our spiritual gifts with everyone else in mind we can eliminate selfishness and we can find new opportunities to do the work of God. By focusing on the larger picture we will constantly be looking for ways to be a blessing; just as God intended.