Conntecting the Dots

The Litmus Test for Christianity

The label Christian is a loose one. What exactly does it mean in this day and age? What sets apart those who are Christian by name only from those who are Christian indeed?

The answers to those questions could fill a library, but because I’m limited by time and space, I’m going to offer a simple answer based on Isaiah 26:8: “LORD, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.”

According to this verse, two characteristics of a true believer are obedience to God’s Word and a desire to glorify His name. Too bad our selfish nature rears its ugly head and makes these characteristics so tough to model sometimes.

I profess to be a Christian but I confess that obeying God’s laws can be challenging. When He tells me to forgive those who have hurt me, I don’t exactly grin with glee. When He tells me to give generously to others even when our monthly budget is tight, I say okay through gritted teeth. When He tells me to give thanks in everything, I balk and ask, “Even in this situation?”

That’s when the battle rages: Part of me wants to glorify God’s name while the other part wants to satisfy my own wants and desires. If I’m truly a Christian as I claim to be, then my responsibility is to obey.

Obedience isn’t always easy, but God requires it of those who say they follow Him. Doing what He commands proves that we trust His wisdom, sovereignty and love for us. As others see our willingness to set aside our own selfish desires in lieu of God’s ways, we bring honor to His name.

Yes, obedience is a litmus test of true Christianity. If we call ourselves Christians but refuse to obey God’s laws, then we’d better reconsider our claim.

How about you? Is there an issue in your life that God is addressing? Is there an area in which you’re refusing to obey Him? Consider your response and choose to show your trust in Him through doing what He says. Doing so will bring glory to His name and bring peace to your heart.

5 Responses to “The Litmus Test for Christianity”

  1. thesauros

    thanks for the post. i just did a post of my own on how many counselling clients (christian) that i encounter who desperately want to ignore “The one who loves Me is the one who obeys Me.”

    God bless – See you there!

    • Grace

      Obedience to God’s commands is soooo necessary. Trouble is, we humans think we know better than He does, and that’s when we run into trouble. And then we wonder why life doesn’t seem to work well for us. Carry on with your counseling, friend. Give ’em truth!

  2. Janna


    Your post for today is along the lines of a scripture passage I read recently that my thoughts keeping returning to. It is in 1 Chronicles 29. I was reading David’s prayer of praise and then it was as if a verse was highlighted in my mind. Verse 18, “O, LORD, the God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make your people always want to obey you. See to it that their love for you never changes.” When I first read it I thought,” well that was one unanswered prayer because it wasn’t long after that God’s people were once again not too concerned about pleasing God through obedience.” Then it hit me, it was answered! God’s people, the ones who truly belong to Him, want to obey Him. It is not the name of our heritage or our church that makes us one of God’s people. It is the name of Jesus Christ and obedience to God and His word out of love for Him, which declare and verify God’s People!

    Thanks for yet another reminder!

    • Grace

      Hi Janna. Thanks for your insights. This thought about obedience to Christ parallels “faith without works is dead.” How can we claim to be Jesus followers if we don’t do what He says? If every true follower of Jesus obeyed His commands implicity, imagine the difference we’d make in the world around us.


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