A common misconception about Christianity is that there is some kind of list of requirements. Of course, Christians frequently try to debunk this myth, and I’m sure that few beleivers have been ridiculous enough to openly suggest it. And yet, the idea still gets around, and it’s probably Christians’ fault for propagating it.
So, like many others have before me, I am here to say that it is NOT true at all. Who did Jesus associate with? Tax collectors (considered very immoral), adulterers, lunatics, and all the others that decent Jews shunned.
You don’t need to be rich to be a Christian. I think that one is obvious, but I thought I would say it just in case you saw televangelists and got the wrong idea. If you are poor, God can provide for you.
You don’t need to be poor to be a Christian. God will humble you and be your All in All.
You don’t need to be a happy medium or somewhere in the middle to be cherished by the Lord of Lords
You don’t need to be a “good person.” In the Lord, you will bear truly good fruits in due time.
You don’t need to be popular or well-liked. The Lord will be your friend and comfort.
You don’t need to be a hermit. If God wills it, you will bring your friends with you into the glorious light.
You don’t need to be “beautiful,” true beauty is within.
You don’t need to be plain, the Lord will set a mirror before your soul.
You don’t need to be sober, for true sobriety comes only from God.
You don’t need to be chaste, passion can only be tamed by divine intervention.
You don’t need to be straight, for no man is upright. (Romans 3:10)
You don’t need to be healthy, for the healthy don’t need a Doctor (Matthew 9:12)
You don’t need to be married, but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided… (1 Corinthians 7:33-34)
You don’t need to be single, For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Corinthians 7:16)
You don’t need to be unwell, but rejoice in your health!
You don’t need to be sane, this I know for sure
You don’t need to be self-righteous; in fact, you really shouldn’t be
You don’t need to be loving, because God has enough love to go around
You don’t need to put on a good show, God sees what is within as well as what is on the surface
Shall I go on?
You don’t need to be strong, …God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong (1 Corinthians 1:27 NASB)
You don’t need to be weak, for the church needs its pillars
You don’t need to be wise or educated, …God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27)
You don’t need to be a fool, but The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10)
Do you get the point yet? Have I included everyone? You don’t need to be self-controlled either. And ladies, you don’t need to be a size 0, okay?
Perhaps this is so hard to understand because almost everything that we want to do or be a part of in life that is “worthwhile” seems to have some prerequisites. Getting a good job, getting into college, being part of an organization or club. We even evaluate others and are evaluated when we are making friends. Not to mention relationships. But to God, worldly merit is nothing. He created all of us, and he knows all of us. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses, He knows all the things that we’ve done, and even the things that we ourselves have forgotten about. That doesn’t stop Him from loving us!
And yet, I regret to say that just because there are no prerequisites doesn’t mean that there is nothing at all that we should change about ourselves once we have come to see the Truth. Heaven forbid we should stay the same! This is why people think Christians are self-righteous, prudish, and hypocritical, because we say this. But how can we not say this when it is in our Bible that we profess to believe? How can we not apply this to ourselves and encourage others to do the same? It is not we who made this up, but God.
Yet I am here to say that we should not be striving to fit the mold of our church, of the believers around us. I don’t know about other parts of the world, but America has a long and regrettable tradition of this. Once we have come to know Christ, we should try to fit His mold.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; and behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB
We must put on sincerity and love (this is the theme of 1 Corinthians). The truth is, people will always call us hypocrites, even if we are not being particularly hypocritical. People accused Jesus and John the Baptist of being hypocritical too(Matthew 11:18-19)! But perhaps if we stop caring what other people think, we will become more sincere, and maybe people won’t accuse us so much. Or maybe, feeling threatened, they will accuse us even more. But the good news is that it only matters what God thinks, He is the only judge of the hearts of men and the final judge of our fruits.