What does it mean to be a Christian _________________?
If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9:23
The question at the “Fields of Faith” event that I attended specifically asked what it meant to be a Christian Athlete. Here, I am modifying it a bit so you can put your current occupation, status, or position inside the blank. I am going to put “teacher” in the blank since that is primarily what I do for a living.
First of all, the word “Christian” is useless. I don’t know how I’d reword the question, but it really needs to include “as a Christ follower” or “as a disciple of Jesus Christ” or something like that because the difference is night and day. In my quick Google search, a 2012 Gallup Poll said that 77% of the United States Population identified themselves as Christians. If three out of four Americans were true followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, this entire planet would be extraordinarily different. The Bible is clear that “not all who say Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of the Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) Plenty of people say they are Christians, very few act like it.
As a teacher, I am to teach kids mathematics. As a government employee, I am to never mention the name of The Lord Jesus Christ or read from the Holy Bible in school. I can only imagine the real “glory days” when I could have prayed out loud for our focus and attention, for the acquisition of knowledge, for the retaining of knowledge, for God to protect our hearts and minds, for God to protect our schools, and all of this while proclaiming out loud the greatness of our God. I can only imagine being able to read Colossians 3:23 to my class before the lesson and say “I know this seems useless and mundane, but God has placed us here for a reason. Let’s work at this together like we are learning it for our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s do it all for His glory, His honor, and His praise.”
Sigh . . . I can only imagine.
But, this does not mean I have been defeated. As a teacher who follows Christ, I can still make a difference. I can still rise early in the morning and spend time with God. I can still ask for His power and Presence to be on my life. I can ask Him for power to have a great attitude. I can ask Him for wisdom to do my job like nobody else can. I can ask Him to so fill me up with His Spirit that it cannot go unnoticed. I can ask Him to help me be the teacher He created me to be. I can still pray for my students on a regular basis. Basically, I can still do what it is that I do for the glory and honor of God.
I didn’t choose to teach this way until 2007. I am just now beginning to see the fruit of what teaching this way produces. Students grow up. Many of them don’t like where the path they have chosen ends up. Many of them contact me. They want the joy that I have. They want the marriage that I have. Basically, they want the things that are a direct result of being in love with and having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I am more than happy to point them in His direction.
It is very easy to include Christianity as another part of our “quick fix,” “my way right away” society. We have mastered the 45-minute church service. We have mastered the 5-minute devotional book for “busy” people. However, the truth is that God is not someone we are simply to give a few minutes to Monday through Saturday, then give Him 45 minutes on Sunday and think we have honored Him.
We are to live our entire lives for Him. We are to do our part 168 hours a week. We do not have to be those weird people who go around quoting scriptures all the time to people who don’t want to hear it. Daniel never preached to the Babylonians, but never had a problem standing up for His God when it came to his own personal convictions. He never had a problem telling people what God meant to him or telling the rulers honest, open answers to their questions when asked. He felt no need badger others with his opinions of what he felt they needed God to do for them in their lives. The truth was everyone around him had chosen his or her own god or gods. Daniel simply honored God with his life in far less-than-ideal circumstances.
This is exactly what I believe it means for me to be a Christian teacher in the public school system. Are the circumstances surrounding my job ideal? No. Can I live for Him, honor Him, and show my students what it looks like to follow Him for 180 days?
What does it mean for you to do what you do “as unto the Lord”?