The image-driven Christian

“You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:7-10 NIV)

I recently stumbled upon a website dedicated to the one and only James Bond, 007. Now, I really like James Bond. However, the website was aimed at helping people look and even act like 007. It appears some have taken it a bit too far.

We live in an image driven society. From the cars we drive to the clothes we wear, we are constantly being bombarded to look a certain look, behave a certain way and conform to a specific image.

The image syndrome has even infected our churches.

There are cowboy churches, hipster churches and even biker churches. I like motorcycles as much as the next guy. But a biker church? It is one thing to like riding a Harley on the weekends and acting like James Dean for a bit of laughs. I understand the concept behind a different churches; they are trying to appeal to a certain crowd. It’s one thing to act a certain way because it’s a certain style we like.

It’s a totally different matter when we are trying to be defined by it.

I am going to really step on some toes. I don’t mean to. I know there are many exceptions. So please take it in the right manner. I’m just wanting to prove a point. However, trying to emulate that lifestyle in a church setting is very confusing; a group of non-rough and tough bikers pretending to be rough and tough bikers who then gather on the weekends for church, pretending to be rough and tough bikers trying to show others they really are not as dangerous as they appear. Sounds confusing? That’s because it often is confusing. For many (not all) it appears the image of being a rough biker (or any other image) is more important than radiating the lifestyle of Christ.

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means the image we strive for ought to be one that reflects our Master. Nothing else. Absolutely nothing else. Scripture repeatedly tells us to be holy and set apart. In fact, Paul writes,

Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (Jude 1:22, 23 NIV)

That last part really hits home for me. To hate the very clothing stained with corrupt flesh. Perhaps we don’t hate sin like we ought to. Have we become so used to sin and the worldly lifestyle that we shrug it off as a normal part of life. Some, in fact, even embrace it an wear it like a badge of honor.

The entire purpose for this post is not to poke fun to bash anyone. It makes no difference if we come to church in biker gear or a suit. I’m not talking about the clothes we wear. I am, however, discussing the reasons why we often act the way we do.

What matters is that we always remember who we are and who we represent. Any other gimmick or fad takes the focus off of Christ and puts it on some worldly image; often an image known for sin and debauchery. We may not mean to put across that kind of image. However, non-believers often see it that way.

Jesus says to let our light so shine before others that they may see our good works, not a specific worldly lifestyle or image and give God the glory. May our image be one of a servant with a one-purpose mind: to follow the teachings of our Master and reflect his righteousness.

Our master is James Dean, Clint Eastwood or James Bond. It’s simply Christ….Jesus Christ.

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