Being Christian Without the Hashtag

It's not easy to be a Christian.

Somehow there are people who make it look easy. Some people even go so far as to say that you'll be happier, healthier, wealthier, more successful... that life will be better when you follow Jesus.

Now don't get me wrong, life as a follower of Jesus is pretty incredible. Being a friend of God Himself brings blessings into your life you can't possibly imagine outside of a relationship with Him. But Jesus was very clear in the Bible that being a follower of His is not a cakewalk. Or a walk in the park. Or a bowl of cherries. Or whatever other peaceful or delicious cliche metaphor you can come up with.

Unless you're really young or you live in a hole in the ground, you're aware of the persecution and martyrdom of Christians around the world, including in our collective backyard of America. The most recent shooting in Oregon sparked this image showing up on Facebook:

I would credit this image if I knew who put it out there. It's not a bad image, actually. In America we tend to use social media platforms to take stands and get a message across. This image helps us stand united as a family of people spread out all over a nation and world.

But it also got me thinking....

Is this image the only way we're standing up for what we believe?

I really pray it isn't. And if it is, I pray that changes - quickly.

Again, images like this aren't bad. But it's easy to do and there's little risk involved. It's easy to post a Bible verse as your status update. A few clicks is all it takes to share beautiful images with Bible verses on them. It's not even all that hard to write a blog post about it. It's easy to say I'm a Christian in the comfort of my own home, behind the security of a computer screen. It's easy to say I'm a Christian when I'm around my family of faith in church on Sunday. 

It's a lot harder to live that faith Sunday afternoon through Saturday night. How "Christian" are we without a hashtag? What does our faith look like when the computer is dark and we come face-to-face with someone who disagrees with our view - maybe to the point where we're looking death in the eye? How solid is our footing on our faith when coworkers use rough language or we're tempted to cheat or steal from our workplace? How does our faith hold up when someone we respect bashes our beliefs? Do we stand firm and defend what we believe? Or, do we crumble beneath the weight of the moment and fear of what others might think of us?

In the last year or so I've thought about this very often and prayed about it even more. If I were faced with what many Christians around the world endure, how would I stand? If my option was to confess Christ as my Lord and be killed for it or reject Him and live, which would I do? It's becoming more and more a real fear for me - I'm afraid, if that moment ever comes, that I'll fall. I pray that I don't. I pray that I'll have the courage to say Jesus is my God. I could worry about it every moment, but I finally rest on the assurance I have from God that He will give me the words to say when and if that time comes. 

"do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." Luke 12:11-12

In the meantime, I pray God gives me the strength to live for Him each day. I pray for the courage to show I'm a Christian in my words and actions. I pray for patience and gentleness when dealing with people who disagree with me. And I pray that God would use me to lead others to Himself.

"But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil." 1 Peter 3:14-17

If you've been taking an easier, less risky road when it comes to your faith, you're not alone. I've been doing it, too. But we have to know that's not the Christian life God intends for us. He knows it's hard and scary sometimes - but He's there. He knows it's risky and could have nasty social consequences - He died for that. He tells us it won't be easy, but He also tells us that He won't leave us alone. Jesus died to forgive us for being hashtag Christians and lives so we can be real life Christians. He's here with us in the trenches every day, and He promises that it's all more than worth it.

Step out from behind the hashtag... let's live as real followers of Jesus.

Photo credit:


A Wife Like That

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