Authentic Christianity?

In the years of the Great Depression, a man went to a zoo and
told them he would do anything for a job.
In the years of the Great Depression, a man went to a zoo and told them he would do anything for a job. They told him they had no work, but their gorilla died yesterday, and if he was really desperate for a job, he could suit up and pretend to be the gorilla. Though hesitant at first, he eventually warmed to the job, realizing that all he had to do was swing on a rope and eat bananas.

One day, as he was attempting to impress onlookers with a high swing, the rope broke and he landed in the lion cage. The lion slowly approached. The man, in terror, began to yell. As the lion crept closer the man yelled louder. Finally the lion came right up to his face, nudged him, and said, “Hey buddy! Shut up before both of us are out of a job.”

Things are not always what they seem. The sad truth is that many Christians wear gorilla suits. Some of us climb into gorilla suits of self-righteousness, adopting a holier-than-thou attitude and thinking we have the truth and are thus allowed to judge others who are not up to our standards. But far more commonly, we climb into the gorilla suit of worldliness, embracing a lifestyle that makes us appear to be the same as those who are not Christians. But God says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is come!” We are to act like the new creations we are! When we don’t, we get in trouble. Ever hear of a dog getting an ulcer? Of course not; dogs never wear gorilla suits. They are always satisfied being what they were created to be: a dog. Rabbits don’t try to fly, birds don’t burrow under ground, and fish don’t try to climb trees. They all do what God created them to do. All of creation consistently fulfills the purpose it was made for … except man.

Man was created to glorify God, to be the one creature who would respond in love to a loving Creator. Unfortunately, many never discover this. Instead, they act like a fish who jumps out of the ocean into a mud puddle on the beach and then wonders why there is so little water. Don’t flop around in the mud puddle of worldliness, mistaking this tiny body of water for the ocean of God.

The Christian faith is not as shallow and superficial as many Christian’s lives would lead you to believe. When it is lived as it was designed to be lived , it is a whole new way of life that is best described as a new birth. We are born into God’s family, and like babies of any kind, we need food and loving care to become adults. This spiritual growth process is called discipleship. In essence, it’s an apprenticeship of sitting at the feet of Jesus, learning and modeling His teachings as we cultivate a living, dynamic and personal relationship with Him.

What gets in our way of having this kind of relationship? Time. We don’t spend the time it takes to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn from him. We have bought into the notion that if we are going to “make it” in today’s fast-paced world, we have to keep moving. We are told that time is money, so we go to work earlier, stay later, take work home, make calls in the car and use meals to make deals.

The pace of modern life touches everyone: employer and employee, young and old, men and women, singles and parents and children … all of us. So when do we slow down and make time to develop our relationship with Jesus? When do we seek His wisdom and direction? When do we enjoy a life-changing conversation with the God of the universe? Is it any wonder that so few of us lead consistently authentic lives?

If we hope to affect others for Christ, we must first be affected. We must become authentic; we must do more than talk about Christianity … we must live it.

Henry Harris is lead pastor of Rolling Hills Community Church, 330 Tres Pinos Rd. in Hollister. If you have questions or comments, please visit the church Web site at www.rollinghillsfamily.com, e-mail [email protected] or phone (831) 636-5353.

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