Looking Like Christ vs. Looking Like Christians

What does the perfect Christian look like? Based on your preconceived notions, that person would look different to each individual. Maybe it would look something similar to the image you see in the mirror every morning (without the bed head). The Perfect Christian Here is a basic description of what some might think of the perfect follower of Christ.

The Perfect Christian

  • Clean Cut – Shaved and Short Hair if a guy; Long hair if a girl.
  • Professional Dresser – Suits on Sunday, dress casual the rest of the week if a guy; Long Dresses in Sunday, coolots the rest of the week if a girl.
  • Prays and has a quite time every morning at 6:00am.
  • Doesn’t drink alcohol – A teetotaler with a capital ‘T’.
  • Doesn’t curse – Not even the mild ones like g*sh or sh*cks.
  • Attends three services on Sunday and at least one during the week.
  • Can still quote every verse he or she learned in Sunday School.
  • Helps old ladies across the street and doesn’t charge a penny. 

The Problem with this scenario is that it’s all physical attributes of spirituality and has nothing to do with the true nature of being like Christ. If a person really wanted to look like Christ it would be much different. 

Looking Like Jesus

  • Having long hair and a beard. Sorry ladies, you’re just going to fall short.
  • Wearing a robe with a purple sash. Sorry guys, you’ll have to rock it.
  • Walking on water.
  • Multiplying bread and fish.
  • Healing the sick.
  • Hanging with the IRS.
  • Etc.

That sounds far less appealing and somewhat impossible. It’s a good thing that being like Christ, and looking like Christ are not the same thing.

Being Like Christ

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:22-26

These are the attributes we should be promoting instead of the physical attributes, but it’s a lot harder to do this than to just make a rule or dress code. However, when we simply emphasize the physical attributes, we neglect to give access to the the source of true change; Jesus Christ. I would wager a guess that one of the leading factors for why the youth are abandoning the church today is because they don’t understand the person of change and they despise the concept of conformity. Just a guess.

So those are my thoughts for today. I’m going to be taking my Fridays as an opportunity to vent a little. I figured today would be a good day to do it because it’s the lowest day for getting hits on my site. So for the twelve people that will actually read this, you’ll have to bare with me on Fridays, or just ignore me.
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10 Responses to Looking Like Christ vs. Looking Like Christians

  1. Nathan says:

    I think the gap is further widened by the fact that in many churches the youth pastor is cool, casual, funny, young (maybe even has a goatee…). Once graduated from high school, teens are dumped into the church with the suits and dresses, far less humor, and far more gray hair.

    And we wonder why teens feel disconnected??

    I heard a quote once that was something like this:
    “We sit in 16th century chairs called pews, read a 17th century Bible called the KJV, listen to music from an 18th century instrument called an organ, and sing 19th century songs called hymns. And we wonder why people think God is irrelevant.”

    • Adam Miller says:

      I agree. The shock from children’s church to real church is drastic. There are a lot of opinions though on how to handle the switch. We’re all trying to fix the problem at the switch and not looking back to the process of development. It might just be that the relevant youth pastor wasn’t good for much more than entertainment.

      I asked a kid coming out of elementary school into Jr. High what he thought about grown up church. He said it was boring and he’d rather stay in children’s church. When I asked him when he would set the cut off age at, he said, “I don’t know if I’ll ever want to sit in adult church.” We’re not doing a very good job at helping young people mature.

  2. joem18b says:

    When the day of the Lord will come, “as a thief in the night,” it will be the rare Christian who recognizes Jesus for Himself.

  3. Your perfect Christian description reminds me of the church I grew up in. Fortunately it’s not the church I attend now. We have a different challenge attracting young people. They all move away for college and jobs. I hope they’re finding a good church where they move to.

    • Adam Miller says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I think my dog MacGyver would enjoy your blog.

      If that’s your biggest problem in the church, consider yourself fortunate. I hope those who are leaving for college are staying with the faith.

  4. Brent says:

    I like this post a lot, althought I still have no idea what coolots are – and apparently neither does spell check. I agree that a lot of what the youth have been taught is what a good Christian looks like.
    As far a why you are chosing to do something, there is no need to explain it to me or any other reader. Just do it and see if you like it…or so says the nose on my face.
    Great photo upgrade and use of a variety of text formats.

    • Adam Miller says:

      Yeah, Kristen took that picture for Songtime. I couldn’t figure out why the font was doing that. I couldn’t fix it for the life of me without retyping the whole things so I just went with it. Google coolots. I’m surprised you don’t know what those are.

  5. Jillian L says:

    Hey Adam,
    I really enjoy reading your blog. I like your comparison about looking like Christians VS being like Christ. I do think that a lot of the problems we have with the generation gaps start with good intentions. For instance your examples about dresses, and coolots (i’m a girl so i’ll use those examples) Although I am sure there are some who’s motives are as you suggested, i do think that there are others who truly believe those outfits reflect modesty and are non offensive. I think redefining your definition of modesty and being neutral (non offensive) can sometimes feel like giving into the worlds view and not God’s. I am not saying that we shouldn’t adjust to the times, by any means. I just think that a lot of people especially older individuals have a hard time finding that line, because of what wasn’t considered modest or neutral in their days.
    Hope that makes sense.

    • Adam Miller says:

      Thanks Jillian. You’re right, there is a compelling argument for modesty, but this is very abstract. Every culture defines modesty. Even the Amish would be considered immodest to a pre-Victorian era or an Islamic society. Like anything that is abstract, the process of determining principles is individual and not something that is decided across the board. While my points are more of a rant than a well drafted argument, I still propose that any position from an abstract form that expresses exclusivity to righteousness is not only inaccurate, but is the sin of legalism.

      Thanks for reading my blog. That definitely encourages me to keep writing.

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