A few nights ago at work, a comment was made to me that made me think of the term “church girl.” A coworker and I found out we both turn 21 years old in October. As the conversation progressed, he realized I had never drank alcohol before. He looked at me and said, “Oh you’re one of those church girls aren’t you? Yeah I’ve seen your purity ring and you’ve never drank, so you must be a church girl.”
I stopped and thought for a few seconds before I responded. Was I flattered or offended? Then I simply replied, “Actually no I’m not a church girl at all. I’m a Christian.”
When referring to his faith in Christ, my dad once said, “I don’t want anything to do with religion. I just want a relationship.”
I think numerous people see Christianity as a set of rules you have to follow. And when you break those rules, you have sinned, because sin is when you have done something wrong, right? WRONG. Sin is simply the absence of good. It’s when you don’t love the people around you like Christ would love them. It’s when we are slow to forgive because we have forgotten how many times Christ forgives us…daily. It’s when we refuse to walk across the room to say hello to someone because it would make us feel uncomfortable. It’s when we put ourselves before others. Even when we didn’t insult a classmate, we didn’t speak on their behalf either. Sin is when we see an opportunity to show the love of Christ, but choose to walk the other way. Yes, there are certain things that a follower of Christ should abstain from, but it’s not all about the “don’t,” it’s about the times we also fail to “do.”
Christianity is much more than rules and regulations. It’s much more than how we should talk and dress, or how regularly we attend church. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to reflect the Lord in the way we speak (Colossians 3:8; Ephesians 4:15), and dressing modestly is respectable (2 Timothy 9-10), and going to church is a great way to fellowship with the body of believers and understand our role to serve together as the bride of Christ (Hebrews 10:24-25; Psalm 111:1; Colossians 3:11; Ephesians 5:25-27), but more important than all those things is the big question: Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? There is a distinct difference in knowing OF Jesus, and KNOWING Jesus.
I’m not just another church girl because my relationship with Christ is more than a list of do’s and don’ts. However, there are certain things that I choose not to partake in. Not out of obligation, because as a Christian “I’m not allowed to,” but because I want to honor the Lord with everything I do. I want my life to reflect Christ in every way possible!
My purity ring is not a flashy piece of jewelry to flaunt my “holiness,” because holy I am not. I wear it as a visual reminder for myself to wait. Wait for the man of God that will one day be my husband. It helps me remember to trust in the Lord’s timing and not my own. It encourages me when I feel lonely or discouraged. It reminds me that one day, it is going to be worth it when I look at my husband and say that I waited for him and only him.
I go to church not because anyone is telling me I have to or forcing me out of bed, but because I get to praise the one and only God with other people who believe the same as I do. I get to worship the God who looked at me and said “I choose you.” I get to learn more about His word and how to follow Him by listening to incredible pastors who have intensely studied the bible and have valuable wisdom to share. I go to church because I can look all around me and realize that no matter what life brings, I am not alone. Not only do I serve a God who promised to never leave my side (Joshua 1:5), there are believers around me who are struggling with the same things I am, but can also offer gentle and loving correction.
No, I have never tried alcohol before and I am not ashamed of that. Growing up, drinking alcohol was never practiced in my house. We were perfectly content with water and coffee…mainly coffee. I will be the first to admit I have been to a college party before, but I chose not to drink. People watching in that atmosphere is pretty hysterical. Was I offered drinks? Yes. Was anyone standing there over me saying I wasn’t allowed to drink? No. I chose not to drink because I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where someone could question my character. Now don’t read this wrong and think I’m saying that you have bad character if you have ever drank alcohol. That is not even close to accurate. My point is to show that it’s not because “I was raised that way,” it was a choice I made on my own.
I try not to use vulgar language because no matter if I’m joking or not, my words aren’t going to be lifting anyone up. If I speak that way, I’m not glorifying the Lord with my tongue. Not only using curse words, but gossip and slander about others. That one is a little harder to control! I want whatever comes out of my mouth to give glory to God. Does that mean I am going to have to work way harder at holding my tongue when I have a great comeback filled with sarcasm that will completely win an argument. Yes it does, and that is difficult to do, not going to lie. But hey, nowhere in the bible does it say Christianity is easy.
These are things that go against what our culture says is acceptable.
But when we put our faith in Christ, we are called to be different. Matthew 5:44 says “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” That’s pretty different. Then in the book of James we find instruction to “consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” That’s SUPER different than when Satan tries to tell us anger and bitterness are worthy responses. I want the way I live to be different out of love for my Heavenly Father, not out of obligation. This is why I don’t want to be a church girl. I just want to be a Christian.
~written by Macie Christine (blogger)