I am sitting here thinking about how we live if we dare to call ourselves 'Christian'...If we dare to take on this name, the Name above all names, the Name of Christ Himself, to identify with.
I mean to call ourselves Christian, is to say we not only identify with Jesus Christ, but that our identity is in Christ Jesus. To call ourselves Christian is to declare that God Himself now resides in us...Our old identity is dead, and we are fused together with Christ so that we take on His Name. So if we dare to wrestle with this fact, it should pervade all we say and do. If we truly grasp that we no longer do anything alone, and it's the same for our Christian brothers and sisters, that we reflect the One indwelling within we should walk with integrity.
Now I do not mean integrity in the sense of being honest and having strong moral principles for even non-Christians can have this integrity. I mean integrity; 'the state of being whole and undivided', for this is the integrity of a Christian.
I've seen the label Christian a lot recently, many people add it to their online profiles – yet at times it seems to be a claim to self-worth, or moral integrity, like self-justification, rather than a claim to have been transformed by the One who has given His identity...a proclamation of the One indwelling...a claim of having died to a life born into sin and to have received a new identity due to no good deeds of their own.
But how should I react?
I believe with integrity of course! I do not think it's beneficial for me to worry about other people's view of Christianity, in order to try and change them, for I am not God or them, and there would never be enough hours or years...
I believe focusing upon my own relationship with Jesus, so that our fusion does not become distant is the best approach. For if we are fused so tightly, understanding that our integrity is found in being whole in Him and undivided in our focus to love and serve Him in all we do and say, we will truly shine His light out to others who think being a Christian is about religion.
Understanding true Christian integrity allows me to draw my sense of worth from God and not other people's opinions, or actions toward me, that are not always helpful. I connect with Him who is within, and find peace, worth, love and strength. I am not desperately looking for external validation...no matter how pleasing to my flesh it can be. This frees me to treat others how The Lord wants me to, as valuable human beings, whom I should respect regardless of what they can do for me, or how they have hurt me...including those who claim the Name 'Christian'.
When I walk with integrity I am less self-focused and obsessed, and The Lord gives me His heart and eyes to see my Christian brothers and sisters as myself...Children of God and precious, transforming works in progress. This makes me want to walk this journey honestly and lovingly. To not play games, manipulate others or selfishly fulfil my own desires. To not wound the already wounded or struggling, and to be wise in discerning where others are at. I am less fearful and more wise. Do I always get it right? No, as I am like my brothers and sisters; an ongoing transforming work...But I do try to stay close to Jesus through prayer and scripture, to reflect often and keep my heart soft.
Christian Integrity therefore is: The state of being wholly fused with Jesus Christ and undivided in our love for Him.
What if we truly comprehended Christ in us as the true meaning of being a Christian and walked out Christian integrity...What a testimony and light we'd be with Him to others...How different would our communities be?