A Words of Faith story written by Kristin Billerbeck
“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”
This is my life verse. Why? Because I’ve seen a lot of people do the “right” thing for selfish reasons and it surprised me how strong the cult of image can be within the church. What I’ve discovered in my own faith walk is that it’s between God and me. No one else. Who I am when no one else is looking? That is my character and what I will answer for, not for teaching Sunday School for 52 consecutive weeks in a row, or never missing a Sunday service.
What I do for Jesus and my faith should be an outpouring of the love He’s shown me. It should be a natural extension of who He created me to be. Not something that will impress my fellow Christians.
Before I committed my life to Jesus, I had a boyfriend in college. He was the first born-again Christian that I’d really met. His family was all about rules and very black and white in their thinking. They were cold-hearted and scary. I remember their disdain for me because “I wasn’t a Christian” and their rejection and judgment. What I don’t remember is their kindness toward me, nor their love. In truth, looking back, I was actually too good for their son. They didn’t know who he really was behind the pious words and the false front. He was playing the role of Christian, but I didn’t see a lot of fruit to prove that he actually was a Christian.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."~Galatians 5:22-23
One day, this boyfriend invited me to dinner with teachers from his former Christian school. These people were warm and loving. They made me feel welcome in their home by accepting me for where I was in life. They asked me real questions about my faith and listened intently to my answers. In short, they made me want to know, Who is this Man, Jesus?
It was less than a year from that dinner that I accepted Jesus as my Savior, but more than my faith, these people helped me realize what kind of Christian I wanted to be in life. I never wanted to be the kind of Christian who kept people FROM knowing Jesus, the kind of Christian who portrayed myself as better than others. I wanted to be the kind of person who loved people for who they were — not who they might be if they were saved. People aren’t notches to be ticked off and put over in the “saved” category. They are living, breathing human beings, each with their own special set of troubles and emotional baggage.
I want to speak the truth in loving kindness like Jesus did with the woman at the well. Life is tough enough for people. I don’t want to add to their pain by seeing myself as better than others because I’m saved. The truth is, I’m only saved because He loved me first, not because of any special qualities I have to offer. God knows my heart. He knows my motives, so I try intensely to keep those pure. And in turn, keep a pure heart.
Kristin Billerbeck is the bestselling author of over 45 novels, including What a Girl Wants and A Billion Reasons Why.
Kristin is a Christy Award finalist and two-time winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award.
She has appeared on the Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and World Magazine.
A proud mother of four, she makes her home in the Silicon Valley of California.