Posted by: glorifyhim1 | July 16, 2013

Being A Christian

 

I am and have always been a true Southerner! There’s just nothing quite like going barefoot in the summer time, curling up on the front porch swing, and a friendly “How’re y’all doin’?” when I run into a friend at the local grocery. I still have trouble understanding what’s wrong with “fried” and although I’ve tried to amend some of my ways, pinto beans seasoned with pork are still a weekly staple at our house and homemade biscuits and gravy are considered an indulgent delight!

I guess you could say that I’ve accepted my Southern roots (indeed, I love my Southern roots) and I’m pretty comfortable just being who I am. But there is one thing about being Southern with which I’ve always struggled. Well, actually, I wasn’t aware of it until I was in a college speech class. To this day I can still hear the gist of my professor’s stinging words. “It’s okay to speak like that if you plan to stay home barefoot and pregnant, but if you want to be somebody you must learn to speak correctly!”

These words were not spoken to me individually, but to a small group of us who had definite Southern roots. I wanted to tell her what I really felt. I wanted to say that I am somebody regardless of how I talk. I wanted to say that I was perfectly content being barefoot and pregnant, but I didn’t even have a boyfriend. But in spite of how mad I was over what she said, I got her point.

Whether we like to admit it or not, more times than not, we are judged by how we look, how we sound, and how we appear to others. Notice I didn’t say that we are judged by the actual content of our character or our words, but the façade that we project. We are judged by what we appear to be more than by what we actually are. While I may be perfectly content in my Southern skin with my Southern drawl, there is a real possibility that some people will stop listening the minute I open my mouth – not because of what I say, but because of their preconceived stereotypes.

So right or wrong, I tried to learn to talk “correctly.” I was careful to actually put endings on my words and to not draaaawwww them out. I avoided Southern slang that I had heard and said all my life. I think I actually surprised my professor when I gave my next speech. One student told me that I didn’t even sound like myself….. which I guess meant that I did pretty well! I ended up with an “A” for all my hard work in that class.

But I quickly learned that knowing how and consistently doing were two different things. I could perform when I had to, but it was next to impossible to speak correctly all the time. Invariably, I would leave off an ending, stress the wrong syllable, or say something like “arn” for “iron” which I hadn’t said in years! The real me invariably would still surface, and sometimes at the most inopportune times.

As I thought about all of this, it occurred to me how being Christian can be similar to my experience of being Southern. Although I wasn’t born a Christian like I was born a Southerner, I’ve been one for a long time. During that time I’ve learned a lot about what a Christian is supposed to look like, sound like, and appear to be. I’ve tried to do those things and some days, just like my Southern speech, I did better than others. But I’m learning that being a Christian is much more than how I appear to be, or even saying and doing the right things. Being Christian is about a relationship. Being Christian means ….

 

  • I’m a child of God

 

The apostle Paul tells us: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15).

 

  • I’m an heir with Christ

 

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17).

 

  • I’m indwelt by the Spirit

 

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).

 

  • I have a relationship with Christ

Jesus taught: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). He also instructed: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).

 

  • Christ lives within me

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

 

  • I’m on mission

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9).

 

I’m learning that being a Christian makes my life worth living, yet at times it can be very difficult. Often we’re misunderstood, stereo-typed, judged, and condemned  – sometimes because people just don’t understand, and at other times because they  look at our failures rather than our Savior. But like Paul, most Christians can agree that the “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Being a Christian gives my life meaning, purpose, and hope – not because of me, but because of the God who knows me better than I know myself. The God who accepts me as I am, even with all my faults, and who tells me that I am somebody – somebody worth dying for! And the wonderful thing is, He says the same thing to you, too —- Southerner or not!

 

 

 

 

 

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