“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” As much as I would love to disagree with this statement by Brennan Manning I find myself not being able to. Why does Manning’s statement ring so true?
I think there are a few ways we can answer this question, but I think the main one is that we mistakenly think that giving ourselves the title of “Christian” means we are in. However, anyone can call them self a Christian, but the reality is it does not automatically mean you are one. Following this logic I could call myself a professional distance runner; that is until I run the race, and fail to keep up with the best runners. You see the truth is revealed in the evidence that supports our claim not in what we call ourselves. As the old saying goes “the proof is in the pudding.”
James, the brother of Jesus, tells us that faith is extremely important, but it is how a person lives his or her life that validates the faith a person claims to have.
Christian, has become the catch all word that means something different to almost everyone you ask. The thing is though the word “Christian” is only used three times in the Bible—and here is the kicker—the first followers of Jesus never used the word to refer to themselves. All three times it is used, someone else is referring to “those” people who follow the ways of Jesus. This is the best part so do not miss it. The people who called the early Christ followers Christians do so because they saw how they lived their life, how they cared for the sick and needy, sacrificing out of love for each other, which was just like Jesus taught people to live and how he himself lived.
What if we stop calling our self a Christian and let the people around you call you a Christian because of how they see you live your life? What would people call you? A Christian or an atheist? Your life lived out is the evidence.