Cookie-Cutter Christian

85979_4069 cookie.cutter_sm

This is in response to a few things that have come up recently in different conversations, one of which was a friend’s recent post on Facebook about how we should dress.  He posed a few questions and gave his own opinion.  Another friend commented by saying, “Jesus doesn’t seem to care about your fashion sense.”  If that’s true then why do some Christians make such a big deal about trying to get others to look just like them?

You can be a clean-shaven man with a short haircut and a suit and tie; a woman with long hair, no makeup, no jewelry, and wear a prairie dress; or a preacher with pomaded hair, jeans and a button-down shirt, but if the goal is to become more righteous based on what you wear or don’t wear, what happened to the heart or God’s mercy and grace as expressed through Jesus’ atoning work on the cross?  Don’t those things matter more?  If we’re trying to get people to be more like us, isn’t our focus in the wrong place?

When Hudson Taylor, the great Christian missionary, moved to China to share the Gospel with them, he didn’t teach them to become like him.  Instead, he grew his hair and braided it into a Chinese cue and wore Chinese clothes.  Unlike Hudson Taylor, many early American sects forced African slaves and Native Americans to dress like them.  They even destroyed everything having to do with their culture, and the very people they were trying to convert learned to hate the white man and his Jesus.  God never commanded people to get rid of their culture.  He commanded them to turn away from and stop worshiping idols.

Please don’t let someone mold you into their image and into becoming a cookie-cutter Christian.  If they don’t accept you without the clean-shaven face, short hair and a suit and tie, then they aren’t following Christ’s example, and you should be careful about following them.  And please don’t be a cookie cutter who tries to mold someone else.  You know what Jesus said about the scribes and Pharisees, right?

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”  (Matthew 23:27, 28)

Photo credit:  S. Schleicher

Edited August 19, 2013 to add that I should have included that I used to be both a cookie-cutter Christian and a cookie cutter.  See the comment below.  I plan to do a follow-up post soon, one I’ve been planning to do, tentatively called I Used to Be a Pharisee.

About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

17 responses to “Cookie-Cutter Christian

  • Scott

    “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For THE LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart’…” 1 Samuel 16: 7

  • Randell Bell

    Well said Rene and a message that is sorely missing in churches today. Here are two excerpts from sermons I have given on cookie cutter Christians in the past.
    Phil.2:12
    All of us must be like Christ, but we must also be ourselves. We are not to be cheap imitations of other people especially great Christians. God does not want cookie cutter Christians, He wants our individuality combined with the attributes of His Son to minister to the lost. 1Cor,12: 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 1Sam.16: 7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

    Eph.4:11
    Paul now moves away from what all believers have in common to how Christians differ from each other. 1Cor.12: 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and individual members (in particular).28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? Unity does not mean uniformity. Paul discusses the variety and individuality with in the unity of the Spirit. God doesn’t want cookie cutter Christians. God gave everyone natural abilities when we were born into this world, but when we were reborn in the Spirit He has given us Spiritual abilities. Rom.12: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.

    • Rene Yoshi

      Yes! Thank you, Randell! You bring up another good point. Not everyone is called to be a preacher/teacher or missionary, but oftentimes those who aren’t are made to feel less called and less important.

  • Toni Sprandel

    Loved this post! Thank you! How easy it is for us to try to make everyone “line up with” our views on how things should be. This post is so good!

  • Rene Yoshi

    I should’ve mentioned that I used to be a cookie-cutter Christian as well as a cookie cutter. I believed in my zeal for the Lord and to be set apart that my outward appearance was of utmost importance, and I felt more righteous. I am so glad the Lord, in His tender mercy and patience, transformed me by renewing my mind and heart. And He’s still working on me. \(^_^)/

  • David Gunter

    I love it! Well done Rene! You rock girl!

  • bennetta faire

    This is a great word of affirmation and encouragement, Rene! I recently heard about Hudson Taylor for the first time–and the friend who shared about him, has been telling me on a weekly basis to, “just be you!!” It is so freeing when we are allowed–and accepted and loved–to be who we are. When I think of all the moments I waste, wishing I could be more like “—-“, it’s just a shame. Surely we can admire others, and look up to them as examples, with character traits we want to grow into; but it’s not good when the comparison habit becomes either envy, or just a stick the enemy uses to beat us up. I agree with David G–you rock! God bless you BIG.

    • Rene Yoshi

      I agree. We can admire others and look up to them as examples, with character traits we want to grow into, but comparison and molding ourselves into their image rather than Christ’s can be so binding. Thank you! Blessings to you, too! ((hugs))

  • Liberty of Thinking

    Hard to acknowledge, but it took becoming an agnostic in order to forsake hypocrisy… And if anyone wonders why, they have no idea what it means to be a mostly travelling minister in all sort of churches, each claiming openly or “humbly” to be THE one, expecting the guest to approve somehow… And the minister SHALL approve somehow if he/she wants the honorarium and secure a next invitation. And PLEASE do not ask a travelling ministers if this is true, as you’ll force them to lie, or cover it in “grace” (same lie but nicer).
    But if you won’t ask you’ll become guilty of complicity, wouldn’t you?
    I’ve been to churches where elders expected you to wear rain coats inside the hall at summer time, because that was holy (baptist) and others expected you wear anything you want but if that wasn’t shorts and flip-flops, you were a boneheaded traditionalist (free-evang.)
    I knew guests from the street turned back from the door at evangelistic events for wearing earrings (baptist)
    I knew people nearly dying of internal bleedings because idiotic “pastors” told them ulcer medication ain’t godly (pentecostal)
    Cookie-cutting?
    Rather life butchering…
    😦

    • Rene Yoshi

      Yes, butchering is a good word for it. 😦 No one church or denomination can claim to be the one that has everything right, because each is made up of imperfect people, and even the best of scholars don’t agree with some things that are too difficult to understand. Although I have come to some conclusions and some things are solid, because for example, no one debates that Jesus claimed to be the only way to the Father, and I have chosen to believe that claim, other things are still unsettled. I’m still learning.

      Thank you so much for adding to the conversation, Rom. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences and shedding some light on the subject. Thank you. 🙂

      • Liberty of Thinking

        I am the one who should thank you from the heart for allowing me to express myself in your blog, even though we may not share (anymore…) the same beliefs…
        I am truly doing my best to honour your friendliness, by remaining civilised, even though sometimes I hurt myself in doing so. 😀

      • Rene Yoshi

        [chuckle] We can all learn from each other. I certainly learn from you, so I’m glad you’re still here and I haven’t ‘run you off’. 🙂

  • Unshakable Hope

    Excellent, Rene! Having had two girls go through high school and college with some “unconventional” on-fire Christian friends, Mary and I learned that God uses all kinds of people to reach all kinds of people.

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