“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” –Romans 10:14 ESV
Unfortunately there are a lot of “Christian” stereotypes in today’s culture. As a college student, I come across them frequently. This fall I had a student in my class follow me on Instagram. She noticed I had a picture of my bible on it and asked me, “Wait, you do that? Like you actually read your bible every day? I thought that was only weird homeschool kids.” A few weeks ago, I was riding the gondola at Loon and a few guys around my age told me I should party with them. When I declined and said I didn’t party, they replied, “Ohhhh, you’re underage. You know that’s just the law, you don’t have to follow it, right?” I shared that I was a Christian and I strive to follow what the bible says and how the bible says to submit to governing authority (Romans 13:1-2). The look on their face was utter bewilderment; they had thought I was some “cool snowboard chick” that fit their mold.
These kinds of stereotypes create huge misconceptions about Christianity. Two of the most common are that Christianity is strict and binding, and that the bible is this big intimidating rulebook. In reality, Jesus sets us free. Living in sin and the flesh keeps us in chains (Romans 6:22, Romans 7:6). The book of Romans vividly describes this freedom we have in Christ. The bible, while it does contain laws and commands, is really the love story of a God who desires to show us the best way to live, so we can experience the fullness of joy He desires for us. These two ideas seem clear-cut, but not to everyone.
Why isn’t this common knowledge? The answer is because we create divisions in culture. How will others know the truth if it is not shared? In Romans 10, it says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Verse 14). We tend to avoid places where our beliefs aren’t readily accepted, or we prefer to keep our mouths closed about the subject of Jesus. We prefer comfortability over vulnerability. We need to immerse ourselves into this culture so that Jesus will be known and these misconceptions will be cleared up.
However, we can’t forget we are supposed to be holy and set apart from the flesh. We are called to be transformed and not to conform to how the flesh thinks and acts (Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 2:9). When we make Jesus the Lord of our lives, we declare that we live by faith in him and his dwelling in us, not in the flesh (Galatians 2:20). While we should be mingling and intertwining ourselves within our culture, we can’t let our relatability overshadow our convictions and Jesus’s teachings.
Read the Book of Romans, study out the freedom in Christ we have.
Pray about and look for areas where you can be better at showing the freedom you have in Christ to others.
If Christ doesn’t represent freedom to you, talk to someone about it.
By Eunice Bartlett | Lincoln, NH