A few weeks ago, one of the kids had an assignment to write a paragraph about the characteristics of Christians. As I read the resulting paper, I wondered how I would have written it – you know, being a writer and a Christian and all.
While pondering the question it occurred to me that God has a reason for everything he does. The following analogy is going to rankle some Christians, so consider yourself forewarned.
A couple of years ago, I finally read the Harry Potter books. Somehow I had managed to be one of the few people on the planet who did not have a clue about the storyline of the books other than the fact that Harry was a wizard who went to some school for witches and wizards.
As I read through each book, I was continually amazed at how some seemingly insignificant piece of information from a previous book would suddenly come into play in a very important way. When Brian watched the movies, I told him, “Pay attention because everything is important.”
God is like that. Everything is important. Everything has significance.
So, in thinking about the characteristics of Christians, it occurred to me to consider the first Christians – the disciples of Jesus. I realized that their selection was most likely not random – that there was something to be learned from each of them. Once I started thinking along those lines, my paper on the characteristics of Christians quickly fell into place.
Christians are impulsive, headstrong, and bold like Peter. Sometimes we open our mouths when we shouldn’t. Sometimes we deny our relationship with Christ when it’s hard or uncomfortable. Sometimes we want our own way. In spite of all this, God will still use us if we’ll let him.
Christians are short-tempered and judgmental like James.
Christians are beloved like John.
Christians are enthusiastic evangelists like Andrew and Philip.
Christians are reformed, redeemed sinners like Matthew. And, even after we become Christians, we still get it wrong and have to repent again and again.
Christians are doubters like Thomas.
Christians are obscure unknowns who quietly follow Jesus and work behind-the-scenes with no personal recognition like Bartholomew, James, Thaddeus, and Simon the Zealot.
Christians are greedy, remorseful betrayers like Judas. Sometimes we let our greed or our sinful nature cause us to betray the very one we claim to serve and we’re willing to sell him out for temporary fortune and fame. (Judas felt remorse, by the way. He tried to fix it. He tried to give the silver back.)
What I took from my survey of the disciples is that Christians are human. We make mistakes. We sometimes push people away from Christ instead of drawing them to him.
I did not see any instances of Jesus using perfect people, only willing ones.
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