You are bound to have noticed in the shops the most recent food craze is plant-based food or meat-free, Vegan?? To be honest, some of the food is delicious. Personally, it is not that I would never want to taste meat again, but if I was left with no option but to change to a plant-based diet, I believe that taste and flavours and nutrition would be enough to satisfy me long term.
Have you seen these things in stores? You may have noticed some labels like No-Chicken Kiev or No-Duck spring rolls. I was included in a discussion this week when we discussed how these new vegan ‘meats’ were being labelled the same as the meat only with no in front. The conclusion of the discussion is that more suitable names should be found for these products. I have to agree.
It got me thinking about how we identify and label things. If these products can still have meat titles without the meat, and don’t start stressing, I’m not going to go there with the whole gender thing (I wouldn’t have enough time in my week!), can we identify ourselves as Christian without having Christian values as our main ingredient?
Personally, Christian wouldn’t be a term I would often use to identify myself because, in our culture, especially in Northern Ireland, the word Christian stirs up so much religious crap. Although, by faith, that is exactly what I am, I would be more inclined to say Jesus follower or Christ follower.
I will often say the Bible isn’t a rule book, it’s a guide, and I mean it. If you want to live your life for Jesus and go after everything God designed for your life you’re gonna want to stick to these guidelines, it’s all in there. I guarantee you.
But can we really live our Christian lives without Christian values?
Can we claim to live a Christ-centred life then still gossip about people? Can we be filled with Christ and still hold grudges against those who hurt us, or have no compassion for those in need or hurting around us? Are we authentically Christian if we pick and choose which moral codes we like out of the Bible? Is being a no-Christ Christian going to church on a Sunday as part of your social calendar, while not being willing to serve God? Does being a no-Christ Christian look like throwing your hands up to nice music on a Sunday, yet being an ungrateful brat to get your own way on a Monday? Or purposely causing conflict in situations, or refusing to resolve conflict because of pride? Or being impatient in traffic or in a checkout queue, just another place we don’t need to be Christ-like?
My worry is that what we excuse in grace is just accommodating a new culture of Christ-less Christians, because we want Christianity to become more appealing or accepted, or simply because we are afraid to call our friends out on these behaviours. Have we become too accepting of poor values?
“Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Romans 12:2 NLT
I feel like I’ve had to challenge myself on what behaviours I compromise and accept in my own life this week and I wonder…
Do you feel these areas could be improved in your own life?
Would you be willing to challenge a friend on any of these listed above?
Do you believe these are things to be concerned about?
I believe that we can’t just will ourselves to be more loving or patient or kind, it has to be a heart makeover. We need to lean into God more, understand his heart and ask him to change our heart in the areas where we lack.
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Ezekiel 36:26 NLT