What Does a Christian Look Like?

Aug 22

Can you be a Christ follower and look like the rest of the world?

If I never spoke a word, would someone be able to tell that I was a Christian by the way I lived? That’s what has me scratching my head. I live in the suburbs with my husband, three kids and a dog. I drive a mini-van and have a mortgage. My closet is over packed with clothes, and our playroom has no room for more toys.

How does it look to be a Christian?

My stand-alone jewelry box could bedazzle a small school. I have more shoes than toes. My pantry is full, and my gourmet coffee maker is always running. How much is too much? Where is the part that we are different?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed…Romans 12:2 NIV

Jesus didn’t travel in designer Birkenstocks. He wasn’t born in Bethlehem General Hospital. And he didn’t carry a Coach wallet full of shekels. He and his disciples didn’t even have cool matching robes with an awesome logo stitched across the bottom bearing the number 12. Does that mean I should ditch all my sequin tops? Will people only recognize me as a Christian when I wear simple cotton tees and flip-flops? (Gracious. My flip-flops are sequined, too.)

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 NIV

Hear me out, friends. I am NOT saying you have to give up your designer coffee and sequined flip-flops. I’m not trashing people who have expensive houses and cars. Before you go tossing your closet, listen. I AM saying (speaking to myself, too) if “comfortable” things in your life are more important than loving one another or prevent you from loving one another, there is a problem.

How should it look to be a Christian?

1. Give to the poor
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NIV

2. Defend the fatherless.
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Psalm 82:3 NIV

3. Protect the widow.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17 NIV

4. Help the homeless.
Share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house. Isaiah 58:7 ESV

When our lives become more about providing nice things for our family and less about defending the cause of the poor, the fatherless, the widows and the homeless we cease to look like Christians. It’s not a sin to have Nike shoes or diamond earrings, but when those things take precedence in our lives they become a sin.

Being a Christian is more than posting Bible verses on your Facebook status.

Lately God has me eyeing my jewelry box. If you know me, you KNOW I love to accessorize. But I’m looking at a necklace and earring set and I’m seeing how I could have provided food for a family for a year. And that’s with costume jewelry. A nice bracelet could have helped provide a household water filter, so a family could be protected from preventable deaths.

It pains me to say this – to share this. But so many years, I’ve been a designer Christian sharing my love for a designer Jesus with others just like me. But being a Christian isn’t about showing up for church on Sunday in our finest clothes. It isn’t about how many times we can get our church attendance card punched.

It’s about not being afraid to get dirty to help the needs of others. It’s about being willing to sacrifice some of our “nice” things in order to help meet the basic needs of others. Being a Christian is about sharing the love of Jesus with those who don’t know Him and those who desperately need Him.

Because I believe you want to help others, too, I want you to pray about how you can help. Pray that God would break your heart for the things that break His. Here is a list of items from various organizations for you to purchase. I challenge you to find things you can live without, and then exchange them for purchasing an item from this list with a similar price tag. Click on the item to take you to the site where you can make your purchase and find out more details for each one.

Jesus Loves Me lambs $4
Milk $6
Blanket $6
Hot meal $7
Sports gear $8
Feed a hungry baby for a week $9
Garden Seeds $10 
Africa drought survival $13 
Teach a child to read and write $16
Rabbit $16
Bed nets for a family $18 
Building materials $20 
Vaccinations $25 
Two chickens $25 
Help build a school for impoverished children $30
Give an orphan a month of loving care $36
Dental care $38
Care for AIDS orphan and widows $40
New mother and baby kit $77 
Five rabbits $80 
Household water filter $100
$600 worth of clothing $100 
Sheep $105 
Beehive $150 
Computer lab $275
Buy airline ticket to save a child’s life (medical travel) $2,200
Deep Well $13,700

Well, do you know what a Christian looks like now?

*If you purchase a sheep or anything $100 or higher, please let me know and I will send you a Sheep to the Right pin and prayer card to show my appreciation.

Serving Him with you…

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  • Laura Howell Aug 22 at 1:27 pm

    Great post! As soon as I started reading it I thought of Jen Hatmaker’s book – 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. I just started reading for (in)courage book club. It’s really interesting.

    • Carol Aug 22 at 10:14 pm

      Thanks, Laura. I haven’t read that one, but I just started her Bible study Interrupted. I’m leading a ladies Bible study on it starting tomorrow. It, too, is awesome. I’ll have to check out 7 next. 🙂

  • Kimberly Aug 24 at 9:08 am

    “But so many years, I’ve been a designer Christian sharing my love for a designer Jesus with others just like me. ”

    Phew! Some mighty powerful stuff, sweet friend!

    These things have been stirring in my heart, as well. Not quite as eloquently as you have put them here. 😉 But stirring, nonetheless. I don’t want to be a Christian merely by name. Asking Him to continue breaking my heart for what breaks His.

    Love you bunches! Your heart just keeps getting more and more beautiful, the longer I know you. 🙂

    • Carol Aug 24 at 9:36 am

      As God worked on my heart to write this, I admit I drug my feet. I begged, “No God! Not my sparkly things!” LOL. 😉

  • mariel Aug 24 at 9:25 am

    ouch and amen! powerful truths that require action!! I will do differently and think differently as I ponder this. love the links to samaritin’s purse, too…yes! love that you say it so well and then provide the chance to ACT! love you heart and your passion.

    • Carol Aug 24 at 9:34 am

      Thank you Mariel. I pray God gives you boldness to act on what He has impressed on your heart. Thank you for stopping by and for your sweet words. 🙂

  • Faith Aug 24 at 10:29 am

    wow..this is amazing…i hope it’s ok to share this to my FB page….very timely..for MY family (and self)…THANK YOU!!!!!

    • Carol Aug 24 at 11:06 am

      Faith, thank you! Yes! I’d love for you to share on your FB page. As a matter of fact, I’m begging you – please share! Please share! 😉 Thank YOU!

  • Michele Aug 25 at 11:53 pm

    I. SO. Love. This. 🙂 Began this same introspective journey last summer after reading Radical by David Platt. My life’s been shaken up ever since. And I have no intentions of going back. Good, good stuff, Carol!

    • Carol Aug 27 at 8:58 am

      Thanks, Michele! This journey is kind of the whole idea of Sheep to the Right. I was telling Amy the other day this has been about five years in the making. Then I laughed and told her it had actually been about thirty-eight years in the making. 😉 I loved reading Radical, too. Have you read The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns? He is the president of World Vision. It’s a great book if you haven’t read it.

      And I’m with you. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back No turning back.

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