If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
If I had one wish that I could make for all Christians in 2017, it would be that the people who call themselves Christians would really be Christians. In 2008, one poll said that 80% of Americans identified as some form of Christian. By 2015, it went down 5% to 75%. I would love to know the percentage that God Himself would give as the percentage of Americans who truly follows Him. Somehow, I doubt it is 75%.
Now, do not get me wrong. I realize that it takes a while to grow as a Christian. I love the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. When you give your life to Christ, you are simply a seed that goes into the ground. Jesus says that birds eat some of these seeds, some seeds grow a little bit, but then get scorched, and some seeds grow pretty good, but then get choked out by weeds. What has happened in America is that all of these seeds that have never produced, are not producing, and will never produce continue to call themselves Christians.
Only the humble truly give their life to Christ. You cannot and will not come to him unless you have been made aware of the sin that lives in you. Once you are aware, Christ is presented as the only cure. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) The problem is, did 3 out of 4 Americans come to Christ because they were convicted of sin? Or, were they simply convinced that they should? It only takes a growing season or two to know which is which.
I have lived both scenarios. I got saved at 16 because I was convinced I needed to be saved. I grew in knowledge, but also allowed the weeds of this world to grow right along side me and keep me from producing any real love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. (Galatians 5:22). By the time I made it to college, I still called myself a Christian, but I behaved exactly like the world. I would have been in the 80% who said, “Oh yeah, I’m a Christian”, but I was not a true follower of Jesus Christ. I thank God that a guy called me out on it. It hurt my feelings, but it led me to a place of crying out to God because I was actually convicted of my sin. I asked God to help me really live for Him from then on. I prayed that sin would no longer have dominion over me (Romans 6:14).
This year, really examine your life as a Christian. Pay attention to how you treat people, especially people you don’t like (Matthew 5:44). Do you think of yourself more highly than you ought? (Romans 12:3) If you do, then you are not humble. Do you nitpick the specks in other people’s eyes while ignoring the plank in your own? (Matthew 7:5) If you do, then you are a hypocrite. If you are a teacher and call yourself a Christian at the same time, do you follow the golden rule and treat each student like they were your own flesh and blood? Would you enjoy being in your own class? (Matthew 7:12) Do the other teachers who know that you call yourself a Christian see you as different? Or, do you have the same whining, complaining spirit as everyone else? Do you even believe as a Christian teacher, or a Christian worker, or a Christian whatever it is that you do that you should look different than those who are not Christians? Whatever we as Christians do, we are to do “as unto the Lord!” (Colossians 3:23)
I guess I’m asking: Are you different in all the right ways?
If you don’t know, find someone who will shoot you straight and ask them. You need to know if other people see you as the real deal or not. It’s the difference in being in the 75% who say they are Christian and the 5-10% who probably actually are Christians. (I completely made that percentage range up, but it is definitely much lower than 75%)
I believe this is what it looks like for us to humble ourselves. It is the first step to God hearing from Heaven and healing our land that so desperately needs to be healed.