8 “Christian” Virtues That Are Not Really Christian

What if certain virtues we equate with following Jesus aren’t actually Christian?

What if certain Christian virtues we equate with following Jesus aren’t actually Christian? Are we following Jesus or following someone's expectation of what it means to be Christian?

5. Never doubting or questioning God is not a Christian virtue.

Growing up, doubting God or questioning the Bible was disrespectful at best, and blasphemous at worst.

Because of this, my faith journey was framed by an unhealthy picture of God. In my mind, God was this divine being with an enormous limb (probably one he picked from The Tree of Life). Positioned like a power hitter in baseball, He waited for someone to question him so he could smash you over the left-field wall.

Then, in college, doubt chiseled away at my faith. I wasn’t sure how to process the hard questions. I couldn’t talk to God. He was mad. I couldn’t talk to other Christians. They would tell me to pray harder.

Then I found a life-saving book. Psalms.

Psalms painted a different picture of God. Faithful men doubted and spoke “matter-of-factly” to God. He didn’t destroy them. He walked with them. He was patience and understanding.

I still question and doubt. The God of love allows space for this. He stays with me through it, and celebrates when I reach the other side.

Christians with doubts and questions aren’t lacking faith. In fact, I would say doubt is an unavoidable by-product of growing closer to an infinitely powerful and knowledgeable God.

6. Knowledge about the Bible is not a Christian virtue.

When I worked in youth ministry, I traveled a lot. Before loading the bus, everyone had an opportunity to pull the trigger on shotgun. But, to be honest, I only wanted one person to call it. Why? I had a Bible trivia app and no one else competed with me.

I could name every judge and pair people with weird, random facts. I knew the Bible.

But this isn’t surprising, right? Faithful Christians know their Bible.

Well…that depends.

The apostle Paul says knowledge puffs up but loves builds up. My Christian journey proves this verse true.

Knowledge alone is quite dangerous, actually.

I look back on my Bible trivia days. While I rarely lost, my reward for winning was a crown of pride.

Jesus flipped the model of righteousness and holy living. Faithful Christians might know their Bible. But if your Bible knowledge doesn’t compel to serve your neighbor, you’re missing something. Great students are great servants.

7. Promptness is not a Christian virtue.

While we’re here, let’s include other members of the squad. Organized. Efficient. Go-getter. #squad

Granted, being on time can show concern and respect for the person you’re meeting.

But promptness isn’t a Christian virtue. If Jesus lived in modern-day America, I’m not sure he would appreciate our infatuation with “to-do lists” and punctuality. We’re talking about a guy who arrived late to scheduled appointments, and on one occasion, his “lateness” resulted in a man’s death, Lazarus. Beggars and tax collectors distracted Jesus. He changed plans without warning.

I’ve heard passive-aggressive comments about being late for worship all my life. I’ve made them myself. While punctuality is good practice in America, it’s not a barometer for godliness or devotion to God.

8. Being expressive and emotional is not a Christian virtue.

I’m an emotional guy. I cry often. Don’t judge me. I also lift my hands and move around when I worship.

Real Christians are expressive, I used to think. But spending time with Christians who aren’t expressive revealed something different, a deep love for Jesus. On the flip side, I’ve spent time with expressive, emotional Christians and found them to be bored and dry. Expressive, emotional behavior can reveal passion, but not necessarily.

Let’s be careful not to make our perspective the perspective. God is infinitely creative. So are his people.

___________

It’s your turn.

What Christian virtues are not really Christian?

I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!

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Frank Powell
Frank Powell serves in the Campbell Street Church of Christ in Jackson, Tenn., ministering to college-age and young adults.