If there’s anything I don’t want to be, it’s a cheesy Christian. I want to be real.
Is it easy to be cheesy? I don’t know, but you’ve seen them, and so have I. They’re the ones that always smile, always have a platitude to share, have the answers for everything—but it’s all an act. Behind the veneer, there’s a needy person. Only, they can cover it up all the time. “I am the perfect Christian,” they proclaim to the world.
Thanks to Jesus, it is fairly simple to become a Christian. You have to be empty of every hope but Jesus and call upon Him for salvation. You have to believe in Him—put all your faith in His ability to save you. It is a huge heart decision. But, it isn’t complicated to do it. Surrender yourself to Jesus. Accept His payment for your sins, through His death on the cross. Believe that he died and rose again. It isn’t complex, but it cost Jesus everything—even for a time, when He bore our sins—fellowship with the Father.
The Christian life is not a bed of rose petals, though. “Believe and everything will be hunky-dory” is popular but not true. Every person on the earth experiences hurts, disappointments, the deaths of loved ones, pain, sadness, and sickness. Those things are the result of the first sin.
The “prosperity gospel,” that God wants you to be rich, isn’t true, either. That doesn’t mean that some Christians won’t be rich. Some are. Others—the majority of us—aren’t. I personally don’t think it’s a problem, since God promises to meet all of our needs according to His riches. I love what the Psalmist David said, I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread (Psalm 37:25).
The Lord gives a deep, abiding joy. No doubt about that. But, that doesn’t mean we won’t go through some extreme valleys. Psalm 23:4 calls it the valley of the shadow of death. The happy news is that, even there, Jesus goes with us and protects us. I love the way the Psalm ends: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever (verse 6).
So, how can we avoid being cheesy Christians? Here are five considerations:
- Be real in your faith. Make sure you are born again. When Jesus talked to a man named Nicodemus, he said to him, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:3b, 5b-6).
- Be real in your Christian walk. Consistency in Bible reading, prayer, Bible study, and church attendance will help you to grow in grace and spirit.
- Be genuine in your facial expressions, reactions, and conversations. It is okay to reflect what is really going on. Yes, it’s great to smile. Everyone loves a smiling face. But, it is absolutely fine to be sad when the occasion calls for it. It is okay to care. The Bible says we’re to empathize with others: Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15). There is a time and a place for everything. (See Ecclesiastes 3:1-6.)
- Be willing to share that you have needs. Experience has shown me two kinds of Christians: those that share every single stubbed-their-toe needs and those that never share anything at all, even when going through serious problems. I’m not sure either extreme is best. Maybe the first group should limit somewhat the kinds of issues they share, and for sure the second group should share when they have needs. Transparency, especially in the church, helps others meet the needs of their brothers and sisters in Christ. This goes for spiritual needs, as well. Are you struggling? Ask for prayer.
- Work on displaying the fruit of the Spirit. There isn’t one Christian on earth that doesn’t have a spiritual weakness somewhere. Anyone who is born again has some fruit of the Holy Spirit in his life, but we all can work on our weak areas. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25).
Cheesy Christian? I don’t want to be one.
I want to walk in the Spirit, and I’m sure you do, too.