A professional exemplifies one who is skilled or well trained in the work in which they do. A true professional has the ability to hold one’s composure so to maintain an expected image of what they represent. While we celebrate the professional mindset in the work place let us look at how this “professionalism” can easily affect our lives as Christians.
When you are an employee of a company you are provided with a code of conduct, a set of rules if you will, that mandates certain behavior in order to represent the company well.
As Christians we have been given the ultimate handbook on code of conduct and while it is imperative that we live a life pleasing to the Lord and choose a lifestyle that reflect holiness, I can’t help but notice how many of us, myself included, have easily become “Professional Christians”.
To better explain, I’ll use myself as an example. I grew up in church and in essence it’s all I’ve ever known. I don’t have the stories of wild parties, drunken weekends, promiscuity and rebellious teenage years. My testimony is that I was kept…not by any means perfect but nonetheless, kept.
I thank God for my journey; it is to no credit of my own that is for certain. While grateful that I have been kept from a lot of foolishness, I have also been subject to religion and rules. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I crave structure, I have to have rules and boundaries.
I was once told by a previous boss to not get uptight if rules were bent. That goes against my nature, if I don’t know the rules, I don’t want to play the game and I will be the first one to make it known when a rule has been broken.
While there is safety in structure there can also be missed opportunities for true growth, development, relationship building and yes, ministry if all we ever do is focus on rules and regulations and not cultivate a lifestyle that values relationships.
Having been a believer for most of my life, I know how to act, what to say and what “rules” to follow. I know the code of conduct necessary to withhold the image of what and who I represent. But what happens when I focus so intently on the rules instead of directing my passion towards my walk with Christ? This, my friends, becomes the life of what I call a “Professional Christian”. Trying to maintain an image or keep all of the rules is exhausting and can lead you straight in perfectionism. You trying to do things on your own will end in disaster every time. We are all in need of a Savior! Truly His grace is sufficient and it is all too amazing!
The Bible says it like this, there are those who have a form of Godliness but deny the power, meaning it appears as though they follow the blueprint of what a Christian should look like and they keep those rules but there is no power because there is no relationship. There are those who honor God with their lips but their hearts are far from Him.
How does this happen and how can we stay in proper alignment?
1) Understand that God is interested in a RELATIONSHIP with you
His Word has provided us with structure and it is not to be ignored. We are grateful for grace but we don’t abuse it! We obey and follow His principles out of our love for Him and relationship with Him. If all we do is follow the rules to be seen or noted as “good” then we have completely missed the mark and misunderstood the depths of what our relationship with Him should look like.
2) Be Sensitive to the Holy Spirit
For some, you may not understand what that means. When Jesus left the earth, He gave us an incredible gift called the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our guide or our inner witness.
It is imperative that if we’ve invited this gift into our life that we then make room for His presence to lead us.
I love the story in the Bible where Jesus healed on the Sabbath day. He broke a religious rule to come to the rescue of someone in need. Religion said you can’t heal on the Sabbath but Christ who was a man under submission was able to discern what was necessary in the moment and obeyed even if it meant breaking protocol.
Religion gives you a bunch of regulations which can result in a prideful heart. Be cautious of this, it can and will destroy. The Spirit brings LIFE!
3) Be a Grace Giver
Understand everyone is at a different place in their journey with Christ and many don’t know Him at all. Who are we to throw stones at those just learning how to crawl in the faith? While I don’t believe in compromising the truth or altering values for the comfort of another, I do believe in being an extension of grace and God’s love. While I may not agree with those around me, I still have a choice to be a reflection of His love and in that choice pray that God be revealed and His truth be made known.
Ladies, let’s choose to not “play the part” of a Christ follower but rather BE the part. There is no room for Professional Christians among us. Instead of focusing on upholding an image, let’s focus on investing our time and energy in an authentic relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. In doing so, the rest will fall into place including a genuine representation of the One who has changed our lives and loved us like no other.