You know, there's definitely a trend that I keep seeing among a lot of various Christians. And the more I think about it, I don't know if I like it.
It's not that I necessarily disagree with it, but I just feel like it's almost sending another message that isn't good. And what I'm talking about is when Christians say to stop focusing on our behavior, that is, our "works," and just instead focus more on God loving us.
Okay. I'm not going to come out and disagree with that. In fact, me, being a relentless perfectionist, sometimes needs to hear that I do need to stop trying so hard and just learn to accept God's love for who I am.
However. There are a lot of people who, and I'm just going to say it bluntly, aren't able to handle a message like the one above because they aren't mature enough. Because what those people will do, is they will take that as their little "pass" to do whatever the heck they want, and then at the end of the day, be like, "hey I'm a Christian and God loves me so don't judge me." And it makes my blood BOIL. They could be doing EVERYTHING contrary to Scripture and completely not giving a dang, but yet they still pull that card and, essentially, take complete advantage of the love of God. And I'm sick of that, sorry not sorry. My patience is running thin with people's complete moral laziness—which is what it is.
And before you start yelling at me, accusing me of being self-righteous and judgmental, I will say this: I am in no way trying to undermine the love of God. Believe me, I need just as much grace as anybody. However, there is a complete difference between people who know they need grace and do their best everyday to study their Bible, to live by what they know and take it to heart, and then ask God for forgiveness in ways they fall, and then there's people who completely don't care about the Bible and just pin random Christian quotes when they feel like it and pretend they're a true Christian, and you know what, their life, their morals and values and convictions, show UTTERLY OTHERWISE. And that has to stop, it really does. And it's not like it's a HARD thing to do, to develop good behavior and good morals. It simply requires your willingness to develop those things.
This generation seems to believe that we can figure this out later, that life is all about having fun, and wisdom can come later when you're an adult. Guess what? I have talked to so many adults and teachers, and there's a common theme I hear with them: they all tell me they did stupid things when they were young, that they wish they could've done differently. BUT, they also say that had it not been for those screw ups, they also probably wouldn't be where they are.
So this little quote that everyone spouts, about throwing away all your inhibitions and just living with no regrets, is so incredibly stupid. That's when you'll live with the MOST regrets. I go to school and watch people make such stupid choices every day, because they think it's fun, they're just young and free, right?
No. You're never too young to do the right thing, to develop your convictions. That's what I've learned from chatting with those adults. It's their convictions that were missing, and then they finally find them, when they're into their thirties and beyond and have fallen flat on their face due to poor choices. And don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be mean to those people. I'm sincerely thankful for their realization of that and their maturing enough to know that your bad choices can lead you to learn good. But then again, isn't it better to develop good morals NOW than live with regrets as an adult? All of our actions have life-long consequences, AND THAT IS NOT EMPHASIZED ENOUGH by Christians. We've made it all lovey-dovey: just do what you want because your works mean nothing to God anyway, and He loves you anyway.
WRONG. Even though God WILL love you no matter what, do you honestly think you're going to have a relationship with Him when you are doing absolutely nothing through your actions to live for Him? Sorry not sorry, but the quickest way to see what someone is passionate about and who they stand for is through their actions, and so if you tell me you're a Christian, but I would never know that by looking at your life, that's a problem. Because your actions DO mean a lot to God. No, they don't get you into heaven, but your action in believing in Him and repenting to Him does. And do you know what repenting means? It means that not only do you say that you're sorry for something, but you also are acknowledging that you don't want to do it anymore. So saying that you're sorry for partying last night when you're going to do it again tomorrow is ridiculous, in complete opposition to repentance. That, of course, does not mean that just because you apologize for something means you'll never do it again. Because you will; we're human, we sin. BUT IT MEANS THAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO IT AGAIN. It's not this carelessness, like thinking that it doesn't matter if I do it again because God will forgive me. No, it does matter.
God IS going to judge us BASED ON OUR ACTIONS ONE DAY (Romans 14:12). And your actions in this life DO determine your success. I have seen some of the wealthiest, seemingly most successful people engage in lives of sin behind the scenes and guess what, that crap doesn't fly forever. They get caught eventually. And don't even get me started on the mental turmoil that living in the wrong does to you.
Also, I'm a teenager, for goodness sake, so you think I would be advocating for no rules, no moral restrictions, and just complete freedom to do whatever the heck I want, right? No. Because I have seen too many kids my age who live like that, and I've HEARD of so many people who lived like that as kids, and guess what? It does them an INJUSTICE. Because then when their fun and games has ended, guess what follows? This thing called natural consequences. So no, I don't think you can stress this enough amongst teenagers. In fact, more than academic ability or anything, what I believe teenagers need to hear the most is the importance of developing good convictions and morals. THAT is how God uses you to go far in life. Your academic ability doesn't mean a dang thing if you're a spoiled brat who does whatever you want; no, kindness, respect, perseverance, all the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), THOSE need to be emphasized. THOSE are how you tell where someone's heart is with God (Matthew 7:16).
So does God love you unconditionally? Of course He does. But He doesn't expect you to take advantage of that. Would you like someone to do that to you, to just take advantage of your patience and do a bunch of crap because they think you'll just forgive them anyway? Seriously, it's no different with God. That's called narcissism, people. Do you know how many narcissistic Christians I see? I doubt they're even Christians, because how can you be narcissistic and a Christian? The very essence of being a Christian is to be selfless. And that doesn't mean you are that way all of the time, but again, you strive to be.
If you love Him, your heart will echo that, resulting in you WANTING to know Him, resulting in you WANTING to please Him, resulting in you WANTING to develop good morals now.
And that is what needs to be emphasized more than your athletic ability, your academic ability: is your character ability. And as a Christian, especially, I'm not going to devalue that. Society needs good character now more than ever. I, personally, am done being lazy with mine. I had my lazy character days in fifth grade when all I would do is spread drama. While I know I still have so much to tackle (worry, lust, jealousy, doubt, just to name a few of mine) I'm not throwing in the towel and saying God will love me anyway if I forget about those. He will.
But I love Him. I want to please Him. I want to show my devotion towards Him through obeying Him, by having good character. Because that's how He'll use me to do good things for His glory, what I want more than anything.
So no. Good morals is not emphasized enough, and I'd like to make it my goal to advocate for it, through my writing, but more importantly, through the way I live and respond to God's love.