When I was first converted to Christ, I was naive in the best sense of that word. I was trusting. I believed that everyone who said they were a Christian understood that Christ is the center of Christian; that Christian is about what God has done for us, not what we do for Him; that Christian is being loved as I am, not as I ought to be; that Christian is something that God did inside of me, not just something I worked up through religious observance and compliance.
I soon learned, like many of you, that not everyone who calls themselves Christian, is. As a matter of fact, a lot of people who call themselves Christian are just mean, mad, and messed-up people with a little religious flavor thrown in for good measure. So the question is, “Why are there so many mean people who call themselves Christians?” I don’t know all the answers, but I am sure of this: that until you feel loved, accepted, and worthy, you will never, ever live in a way that you give any of that to anyone else.
Bottom line, if your religion is about working hard and being good, it’s going to make you a weirder version of yourself. But if your faith is in Jesus Christ, the One who loves you, cares for you, accepts you, includes you, adopts you, and will never let you go, then you will, at the core of your life, live as though you were already loved, already accepted, and already promised the guarantee of eternal life. We give what we have and until we have more, we can’t give more. Because I’ve been loved, because I’ve been given grace and mercy, it’s a lot easier for me to live out of the overflow of that reality.
If your faith is dry, dead, and dusty, maybe you need Jesus as a living reality at the core of who you are and why you’re here.