Men are a very poor reflection of God. The basis of true Christianity is the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the Son of God, the infinite and eventually incomprehensible Creator of life. All of the Old Testament leading up to the birth of Christ and everything that has happened since are subject to the One who was born homeless, in a borrowed barn, and laid in a troth. Whether an atheist, a Buddhist, or anyone else believes this is true or not is irrelevant to the point that this is the foundation of Christianity: the character and being of God was revealed to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ here on earth.
With the foundational belief that Jesus was God revealed in human form, it is perfectly logical to place great emphasis on the actions and teachings of Jesus Christ as being synonymous with the characteristics and wisdom of God. While here on earth Jesus taught, fed, healed, and served. His daily life was humility and selflessness manifested in human form and he instructed His followers to live the same way:
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:37-40
“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” John 13:14-15
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
The failure of most Christians to embody these teachings, characteristics, and values in their daily lives is undeniable, but, the fact should be recognized for what it is: humans are imperfect, human reflections of a perfect God. If I didn’t know anything about Jesus and I only had the lives of Christians to go by as a testament to Christianity, I fear that I would also think of the Christian life as foolishness because of the gargantuan gap between the way that Christ lived on earth and the way that so many Christians, including myself much of the time, live now. Pompous piety will achieve nothing without the embodiment, through grace, of Christ’s character and teachings in our daily lives.