Authentic Cowboy?

Years ago, I worked for an electronics company with a guy who tried very hard to look, act and speak like a real cowboy… the problem was he was not a real cowboy. In fact, he had grown up in the city and was working as an electronics technician. That’s about as far from being a real cowboy as one can get. He was the kind of guy that real cowboys describe as being, All Hats and No Horse.

Authentic Christianity? or All Hat and No Horse | Jack McNiel, Evangelist, Oak Grove Church of Christ

On the back window of his little pick-up truck was a large decal that said REDNECK in big, bold letters and he had a bumper-sticker that said, Cowboy Up, (and we don’t even want to talk about what he had hanging down from his bumper hitch). To all the world, with his cowboy hat, decals and bumper stickers, he was declaring himself to be a redneck, cowboy.

But, to anyone who knew him these sad attempts were a little bit humorous. I asked him something like this one time, “What does it really say about you, if you have to wear a t-shirt and have window decal on your truck so that people will know you are a redneck cowboy?”

Hypocrisy or Authentic Christianity?

I was reminded of this fellow, the other day when I was looking around in a religious book store that also sells gifts, t-shirts, jewelry and other Christian knick-knack items. When I saw in the jewelry section that there were many different types of cross or fish necklaces, bracelets, and earrings for both men and women, and in the T-shirts section I also saw that there were many different t-shirts depicting some scripture reference, or Christ, or a cross, and other Christian type logos. I thought to myself, if I would have to wear a necklace or a t-shirt for people to know I am a Christian, then what would that say about my faith and my manner of living?

It’s not that there is anything inherently wrong with wearing something like that. But, shouldn’t people be able to see Christ in me, even if I am wearing no jewelry and have on just some old jeans and a plain white t-shirt? Our faith must be plain for all to see, without our having to wear any overtly Christian style clothing or jewelry as a part of our Christian profession.

Authentic Christianity

Here are a few Bible passages for your consideration that describe how those in the world will know that you are a Christian, without you ever needing to wear a Christian styled t-shirt or cross necklace:

  • People will know we are Christians because of our love. John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” – John 13:34-35

  • People will know we are Christians because of our love and unity.

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me…” – John 17:20-23

  • People will know we are Christians because of our good works.

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation…” – 1 Peter 2:11-12

- Jack McNiel, Evangelist
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