In years past, if someone described you as a Christian gentleman (or a nice Christian lady depending on your gender), it was meant as a compliment. It said something about you and what people thought of you. It meant something and it still does mean something. It means as much as ever for a follower of Jesus Christ to be regarded as a Christian gentleman or Christian lady. That hasn’t changed. But what has changed are peoples’ attitudes towards Christians. And many of the reasons behind society’s changing attitudes toward Christians are beyond our control. But some aren’t. Some of this is our own fault.
Every summer I attend a monthly classic car show that’s organized by a local Christian car club. I was at one of their shows a couple of years ago when I witnessed some not-very-Christian behavior by one of the members who was judging the cars. I won’t go into specifics about what was said and done, except to say that it centered around the way he treated one of the spectators. It was quite ugly and unfortunately, that was not the the first or only time I had seen some of the supposed Christian members of this club treat people that way. Based on some of the behavior I’ve witnessed, I seriously question whether some of the men in that organization are truly saved. And if I can’t see evidence of their faith (after all, the Bible tells us what to look for – Galatians 5 – fruit of the spirit), there’s no way a non-believer can see it.
We need to be conscious of what our behavior says about our relationship with Jesus Christ, both in public and in private. Our faith should be evident in such a way that there’s no question if we’re saved or not. Think of it this way. When a young man or woman enlists in the military, they’re immediately issued a uniform. By that uniform we can tell if they’re in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines. The uniform tells us a lot about them. And even before they put it on for the first time, they were instructed on how they had to conduct themselves. They’re expected to adhere to certain standards so as not to disgrace the uniform.
When we became followers of Christ, we also put on a uniform and like men and women who serve in the military, there are standards we must adhere to. The Apostle Paul addressed this matter in two of his epistles:
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
We wear the uniform of Jesus Christ, and it must be worn with honor. We are His servants and soldiers. While we cannot control the attitudes of a world that is becoming increasingly hostile and indifferent toward Christianity, we can, with God’s help, control our own conduct. As Paul said in that passage in Romans, we are to “behave decently”, and if we commit ourselves to wearing the uniform of Christ with honor, we can influence the perception of Christianity in the minds of the people around us. No one should question our faith.
When a soldier puts on the uniform, it usually brings about a change on the inside as well. Paul pointed to this in the fourth chapter of Ephesians:
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
So when someone describes us as Christian gentlemen; when our wives, mothers, sisters, or daughters are described as nice Christian ladies, that distinction should be worn like a badge of honor, one that is righteous and holy, because HE is righteous and holy!