Last week was my two-year anniversary of living in the beautiful state of Alabama! I’ve loved every minute of living here, and there are no regrets with making such a huge move to make our home in the south. While I could do without temperatures of 143° and 923° humidity, I love the people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made and the home we’ve created.
One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed between here and California (where I lived for five years before moving here) are the amount of people who say they’re Christians and talk about God openly. Church is almost a culture out here, a legacy that’s been passed down from generation to generation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that someone’s membership to a local church started with their MawMaw or GreatGranny taking their kids so many years ago!
In California, the conversation was not as free-flowing about Christianity. Don’t get me wrong…it wasn’t nonexistent. You just didn’t hear, “I’ll pray for you,” or “God bless” as you left your local grocery store. No one was asking random strangers if the church’s youth group could help clean up your yard!
Now, hear me out on this one. I’m not looking to step on toes. I’m not looking to rile up the great people of the south (or of California). But this idea of Christianity being a “culture” around here got me thinking.
Have you fully surrendered to God? Are you a blood-bought believer, saved by the grace of God, living for Him in every aspect of your life? Or is it just a culture….a legacy that’s been given to you because it’s what the family has always believed?
These are not questions I ask lightly. And these are not questions I have not already asked myself. My parents were Christians. My father was raised in a Christian home. It’s what I’ve always known. But I would be remiss in not recognizing whether or not my salvation is because I made a choice to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ or because it’s what my mom and dad “did” so I did. My actions, my attitude, and my heart should be clear indicators as to whether or not I am a new creation.
The Bible speaks clearly to being not of this world and being about the Father’s world.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” –1 John 2:15
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.” –Colossians 3:2
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” –Romans 12:2
While it’s important to attend a church, have your children going, have your children’s children going, there must be more to the story than just a legacy. Does our faith show? Does our faith produce works that show? Is our heart truly surrendered to the Creator of the Universe?
Our actions and our life should reflect 100% submission to God. There should be no room for doubt when someone sees us that we are committed to Christ. I’m not saying perfection. I’m saying active pursuit of righteousness.
There’s one way to heaven. I don’t get to go because my mom and pop were Christians or because my Grandma prayed for me. I get to be a citizen of heaven because I made the personal decision to accept Christ as my Savior.
Maybe you’re reading this and recognize that you haven’t done that yet. I encourage, dear friend, call on the Lord. Tell Him you’re a sinner and that you’re nothing without Him. Repent of your sins and ask Christ to come live in your heart as Lord of your life. There is no greater moment than knowing you have stopped becoming a citizen of this earth and are bound for your true home in heaven!