Ask this question in the Bible Belt.
“Are you a Christian?”
98.349% of the time, you’re sure to get the same answer.
But not everyone means the same thing when they claim to be a Christian. And certainly not everyone who calls himself a Christian really is one. So you need a guide to help you to figure out who’s who. The sheep from the goats, if you will. This should help.
1. The Contradictory Christian
This is the guy who thinks that the Bible is a fairy tale. He puts Jesus in the same category as Luke Skywalker. He hasn’t been to church since his grandma took him to VBS over at the Vestal Goodman Memorial Free Will Baptist Church in Deer Stank, Arkansas back in June of 1983. He could not possibly care less about Jesus or the Church.
Until you say something that he doesn’t agree with.
Then he becomes a Bible-thumping fundamentalist.
You: “________ is wrong” (insert: murder, running a puppy mill, stealing ice cream for a day care, terrorism).
The Contradictory Christian: “Who are you to judge? Jesus said not to judge. Also, Jesus supported communism because the early church was modeled after Stalin’s beliefs. Everything is right, except for you. So deal with it.”
2. The Busy Christian
This guy loves Jesus. Really, he does. Seriously. He’s just too busy to do anything more than talk about Jesus. Between taking the kids to their practices, work, binge-watching Orange Is The New Black, me-time, binge-watching Who’s The Boss?, sleep and binge-watching Magnum P.I., there’s just not enough time left over for obeying Jesus. So the Busy Christian just settles for loving Jesus. By himself. Without the aide of the people Jesus loved enough to die for.
3. The Super Christian
While you were doing silly things like sleeping, eating and watching the Super Bowl, The Super Christian was in a country that you can’t even pronounce digging wells for a small village of blind goat herders. Super Christian’s book about his experiences will be out in the summer. Oh, and Super Christian is twelve-years-old. Remind me again what you did for Jesus today. That’s what I thought.
4. Free In Christ Christian
Don’t tell this guy to watch his language after he spits out 12 cuss words in a four-minute conversation with your three-year old. He’s Free In Christ Christian and he knows that the Bible never directly forbids saying 12 cuss words to your three-year-old during a four-minute conversation. So stop being so legalistic, man.
5. NSA-Proof Christian
He gets this name because even the world’s foremost spy agency can’t find any evidence to prove whether or not this guy really is a Christian. I think he was at church last week. I’m not sure. No one is sure. And he likes it that way. What he does with his life or at your church is his business, not yours. Until he gets sick and has to spend a week in the hospital. If no one from the church that he sort of goes to was able to crack his code and stop by the hospital for a visit things will get real ugly.
6. TMZ Christian
If there was a market for hot celebrity news involving famous Christian authors, pastors and musicians, this guy would be a one man TMZ. For him, God’s work is determined by how many Grammy’s the worship team has won and how many Twitter followers his pastor has. He loves his church. Not so much for the people who go there. More so for the celebrities who lead it. But he’s committed. Until he finds another church in another town with a better band and a more famous pastor. But hey, a church alive is worth the drive, right?
7. Miserable Christian
“Thus the Lord saith unto him, ‘You shall not smile until you get to heaven, you miserable wretch.'”
That verse isn’t in the Bible.
But I think that it’s in the Miserable Christian’s Bible. Either way, he obeys it with every ounce of his being.
8. The Tragically Happy Christian
She is always fine. Fine. Fine. Fine. When her boyfriend calls off the engagement and takes the dog and the checking account out the door with him, she’s just the same as she would be on her birthday.
She too lives by one of those verses that’s not actually in the Bible.
“See thou to it that thou always smile. Even when thou is falling apart at the seems and thou would really like someone else to share thou burdens with. Don’t give in. Fake it if thou has to. Smile. Always.”
9. The Nazi Christian
It’s this guy’s job to remind everyone else what they are doing wrong. His favorite words are heresy, gospel-centered, actually and helpful. Here are some examples of Nazi Christian in action.
You: “Pray for my grandmother. She’s at Methodist Hospital.”
Nazi Christian: “Methodist? Heresy!”
You: “We’re really looking forward to our family vacation to Disney next month.”
Nazi Christian: “Don’t you think that you could find a place that’s a little more gospel-centered than Disney?”
You: “And Lord, I pray that you would be with Craig during his surgery tomorrow.”
Nazi Christian (interrupting): “Actually, God is already with Craig so why did you just waste my time with that prayer?”
You: “This is my favorite Rich Mullins song.”
Nazi Christian: “Rich Mullins smoked cigarettes. I find your lack of musical discernment very unhelpful.”
10. The Real Christian
Sometimes the Real Christian shows tendencies of the other nine folks on this list. He’s far from perfect. But perfection isn’t what makes this person’s faith genuine. It’s things like obedience, repentance and genuine love for Jesus.
In the Bible Belt, everyone says that they are a Christian. But not everyone who goes about shouting, “Lord! Lord!” will enter the kingdom of heaven. That’s because following Jesus isn’t about playing a part. It’s about living a life. It’s about surrendering to a Master.
So in reality, there is only one type of Christian.
The one who fails often but who is surrendered to the God who restores.
So, are you a Christian?