The Chameleon Christian

Chameleons have always fascinated me. Their ability to change colors is just plain cool! Until I did some research for this post, I had always thought they changed their colors to blend in with their environment. I thought it was for camouflage or concealment. It turns out I was wrong! According to recent research:

“…evolutionary changes in the capacity for colour change are consistently associated with the use of social signals that are highly conspicuous to the visual system of chameleons. Moreover, capacity for colour change is unrelated to variation in the environmental backgrounds that chameleons must match in order to be camouflaged. Overall, our results suggest that the evolution of the ability to exhibit striking changes in colour evolved as a strategy to facilitate social signalling and not, as popularly believed, camouflage.”

In other words, the main reason that chameleons change color is not for concealment or camouflage but is actually for social reasons. Realize I said the main reason is in response to social signals; they do still change their colors for concealment, too. The Wikipedia page summarized it like this: “The primary purpose of color change has been found to be due to social signalling, as opposed to camouflage, although both social signalling color change, and color change for purposes of camouflage do occur in most chameleons, to some extent.”

Are you a chameleon Christian?

Do you ever find yourself doing this? Do you change depending on your social signals? Are you a chameleon Christian? A chameleon Christian is someone who specializes in blending in with those around them. At church they’re saying all the right things, quoting the Bible, and acting the part; once they get to work they’re cursing, laughing at crude jokes, or just simply blending in.

It’s easy to point your finger; harder to look in the mirror.

Now here’s the thing about chameleon Christians: it’s easy to detect when someone else is a chameleon Christian; it’s not as easy to take an honest look at yourself and see if you’re one, too! It’s easy for me to be hyper-critical of others, not so much for me to take a long, hard look at myself and see if I’m blending in. It’s easy to point your finger; harder to look in the mirror. And don’t mistake this as me claiming to be perfect. Quite the opposite! This is an area that I need to grow in, too! According to unChristian, one of the biggest problems non-Christians have with Christians is that we’re hypocrites. I think that’s likely the biggest problem we have with ourselves, too!
Ask yourself this simple question: Do you shine as a light (Phil 2:14-16) or do you blend in with the darkness around you (1 Jn 1:6)? This question, despite its difficulty, is worth answering. My prayer is that we may all look at ourselves and see where we can grow!

"…the greatest is love."

This is part three of a multi-entry blog series titled “Lessons I Learned in the Desert.”

Theology and head knowledge are super-duper, but love is supreme. Intellectual debates don’t change lives; love does. Love is supreme; it disarms, it opens hearts, it saves souls. Love is why Christ died for us on the cross. People will only receive the Gospel from Christians who love them as they are with no strings attached.

One of the biggest perceptions non-Christians have towards Christians is that they do not care about them. The Christians simply want them to “get saved” so they can move on to their next “project.” This idea is explored further in unChristian from the Barna Institute. I would highly recommend that book for any Christian serious about reaching out to the modern world around them.

We live in a culture that has largely migrated away from Christianity. This has happened for numerous reasons, many of which are explain in Deliver Us From Evil by Ravi Zacharias. A good question though, is how the Church allowed this to happen. I think one of the biggest problems is the general lack of love in the modern Church. Many Christians seem more focused on being right that doing right. Read “Grace and Truth” for more on this idea.
 
There were several ways that I learned this, but the way that impacted me the deepest was in the relationships that I formed while I was deployed. I grew to love many of my non-Christian friends and genuinely cared for them. I wasn’t interested in beating them in philosophical or theological arguments, but in simply loving them as they were.
 
The Gospel is best shared in the context of a loving relationship, not with a complete stranger but with a friend who you know well. It may take years before the door opens between you and a friend, but until them you simply love them. In 1 Thes 2:8 Paul says that they shared their lives with the Thessalonians. That is how we are to love our neighbors.