God doesn’t care how “Christian” you are…
You can read all the right Christian books, know all the worship lyrics, go to all the right church events, and still be missing what God really wants.
“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Matthew 9:13 NIV
What Jesus is saying is that God wants you to love people like He loves, not just strive for all the proper “Christian” actions! God is far less concerned with the formalities of religion than we are. Many of the Old Testament rituals were means to distinguish the Israelites from other cultures, not because God needed burnt animals all the time. What He is concerned with is how we enact our faith.
Jesus also said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40 All religion serves to do is give a framework for love…
You can know all the right ways to be a Christian, but if you remain a hard-hearted, selfish person, you’re still lightyears away from what God desires.
So what would it look like to focus less on “acting” like a Christian, and instead focused on showing mercy to those around you? I say this as I myself struggle with this because much of my life has been rooted in living the “Christian” life as opposed to just being merciful. Honestly, I’ve struggled to really understand mercy because much of I’ve known has been ritual…a “do this, not that” mentality.
Too often today’s Christians look more like Pharisees than they do Christ. The Pharisees divorced their actions, thoughts, beliefs, and their love from real people, opting to instead memorize the Torah and strictly live by it.
God doesn’t care whether you can say grace before meals perfectly. Nor does He care if you haven’t memorized all the books of the Bible in order. And He’s not so concerned with whether you only listen to Christian music or not. Though these things are good, God is concerned with the way you love… the acts of mercy you show people. God is not concerned with religion for religion’s sake but for the hearts of every human being.
You’re not going to win anybody to Christ by being a “Christian” but by the love of Christ, poured out through you, as you become like Christ.
So if you let the love of Christ permeate your heart and radiate through your interactions and actions, “living a Christian life” will be more genuine than if you tried with all your might.