Christianity is NOT Behavioral Modification
How many times have we heard, “You are a Christian, you are not supposed to act that way.” No I am not talking about those people who have not believed yet but I am talking about those who would consider themselves part of the body. It is true that if one is a believer there are certain characteristics that will manifest out of what we believe. I love how Jesus described Nathanael in John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! (deceit, nothing false) This may not be what Jesus was pointing out but I take it as Nathanael was a genuine person in that what you see is what you get and he was not putting on a show to try to become someone he already wasn’t.
Many judge one another based on what they read in the bible because they have been taught that this is what it means to be a Christian so this is what we must do to become. The reality is that the characteristics that many are referring to are not the path or the way to becoming but a fruit of being. In most mainstream traditional churches the teaching varies from various people in the bible being our role models to even trying to become like Jesus, and yes I know we are the church but to make it easier for all to follow I am talking about those who gather regularly in traditional settings under traditional teaching. The problem with the way though this is traditionally taught is that the technique usually used is simply behavioral modification. They look at the Law and say follow these to become, not realizing Jesus fulfilled the Law for righteous requirements because no other man could and now we are righteous by him, in him, through him, with him. What we are failing to recognize in many cases is there is nothing we can do to become because we are sons of God and we just have not believed that truth. A very liberating scripture when applied to this is John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Behavioral modification itself can never make you a son. At best it can only make you like a son and only for as long as you are willing to put forth the effort to manifest such a charade. But when you know the truth, that you are a son, and you believe it then you no longer have to become because you are. Manifesting what many believe to be the attributes of a Christian then are effortless because they flow out of you not because you are acting but because they are who you are. The greatest of these is love. If love does not just flow out of you, then you have not fully believed who you are as a son. The danger lies in trying to love others when you are not even experiencing love because you are trying to produce and maintain out of your own effort, going against what you believe which at some point will produce things like resentment, bitterness, anger, hatred and others all of which have their root in pride. Instead of the love of God, which is true love and that is always unconditional, one will be sharing a manufactured love that at some point is going to have strings attached.
How many millions of people have gotten burned out at some point in trying to be a Christian, and just think of the hundreds you may even know who experience a defeated life, even leaving the church body, because they just feel they could never live up to the expectation of God. All of this is because of believing a lie that they are not already a son, but are trying to become who they already are. The adversary has never changed his tactics. Why? I do not think it is not because he can not think of any others but because this simple one works so well. Turn these stones to bread so you can prove you are the Son. Eat of this fruit to be like God. Keep these rules and laws to become a son.