Is Christianity More Than Just a Label?

This week we’re reading chapter 10 of Balancing It All by Candace Cameron Bure. In this chapter we’re revisiting a topic that Candace brought up in the introduction of this book: making God your ultimate priority.

When describing the early stages of her walk with Christ, Candace said something that definitely resonated with me, and I’m sure many of you can relate to this as well. “Being a Christian was a label for me. I was a woman, a daughter, a wife, a Christian. It was one of the many things I was. But what I didn’t realize is that unless you’re putting those words into action, they don’t mean anything. You can believe something, but if you’re not doing anything about it or living by it it’s just an idea.”

Using Christianity as a label rather than making it a way of life is something that I have been guilty of more times than I’d like to admit. I don’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t identify myself as a Christian, but I don’t think I even understood that it was supposed to be more than just a label until I was in my teens. Even then, I wasn’t living my life for Christ or making my relationship with Him a priority – quite the opposite actually. I can absolutely relate to Candace when she says “I had been using God’s forgiveness as a license to live my life the way I wanted to, not the way He wanted me to.”

I also spent most of my teenage years being a huge hypocrite and not even realizing it. I grew up in an environment where sins were classified in different categories and some were acceptable but others weren’t. For example, it was ok to use God’s name in vain, but it was not ok to be disobedient to my parents. That created a way of thinking that was totally wrong and I didn’t even realize it until I was in my twenties. During high school I had friends who partied a lot and I saw myself as being in a better position with God because I wasn’t out drinking or doing drugs. I deeply regret that attitude now because I was being the hypocrite Jesus talked about in Matthew 7 without even knowing it.

{“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:3-5}

In my early twenties, I began to explore my faith on a deeper level than I had before, and I didn’t like what I found. I realized that I had unconsciously expected my relationship with God to be very one sided. I wanted so many things from Him, but I wasn’t willing to surrender everything I had in order to deepen my relationship with Him. I always wanted to look, act, and even feel like I was a Christian, but underneath the surface that couldn’t have been further from the truth. About a year into our marriage, Taylor and I both decided that we needed to recommit ourselves to God. We had been having some major struggles as a couple and we knew that the answer to our problems could be found if we began to seek God with our whole hearts.

That’s the time in my life that I really feel like I began to make God a priority. In addition to saving our marriage, God also used my new found closeness to Him to mend some broken relationships in my life and heal me of the depression I had struggled with for over a decade. It’s truly amazing the things that God can do in us and through us if we just get out of the way and let Him work in our lives. I certainly won’t claim to have figured out how to look for ways to honor God in everything I do, but I am trying to do better at that. I’ve also found that during the times when I am spending time with God daily, things just seem to go so much better. It’s when I stop putting Him first, that things in my life get out of balance and sometimes out of control.

Weekly Challenge:

For our challenge this week, I’m pulling an excerpt out of our book. I hope that one day we will all be able to say this about our lives and our relationships with God:

“God is the ultimate priority in my life, and He helps me balance everything else. He is always there in the midst of it all. My relationship with Him colors every aspect of my life. My goal is for all decisions I make and the things I do to be what God would have me do. I don’t always succeed, but that’s not God’s fault. Sometimes it’s simply because I misread a situation, need some character building through failure, or simply take my eyes off my rock: God. I find that when I leave Him out of one part of my life, everything gets out of balance. When I allow Him in every part, He will help me keep my life focused and in balance.”

I love that Candace admits that even she doesn’t have it all together. Since we are human, we will never get it completely right, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to do better. I hope that this week we will all do our best to put God first and to make Him a part of everything we do.

God Bless,

Kristin

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