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The problem with becoming *that* Christian Girl

Protestants love the cry of sola fide, and yet our practice reveals that many of us believe the way we ‘stay in’ the faith is by works.

This is perhaps best typified in the ‘that Christian girl’ trend on the young Christian female side of the internet. Born out of the TikTok trend of becoming ‘that girl’, the title is given to someone who ‘gets up at 5am, meditates, drinks smoothies, has showers every day, journaling, eating only healthy food, goes to gym every day, and is successful in many ways.’

The ‘that girl’ movement has, at heart, the same motivation as the social mantra to ‘be the best version of yourself.’ (Indeed, one YouTube video on how to ‘become that Christian girl’ claims in the introduction to show how to ‘become the best version of you… in Him.’) Ultimately self-improvement in society has repackaged in an acceptable form what the church would once have recognised as works based theology.

You see, society tells us that our actions determine who we are. Therefore you can continually be in the business of identity construction as a form of ‘rebranding yourself’ in order to present yourself in a desired light. The problem with this mentality entering into our discipleship is twofold: firstly, it is a self-centred philosophy that places myself as the primary active agent in my life; secondly, it is a works-based philosophy that focuses on self-improvement as being the hallmark of discipleship.

The reality, however, is that our union with Christ subverts this by stating that we are a new creation in Him; it is His life, death and resurrection that gives us a new identity, which we do not have to work to create. Therefore our lives are directed as a result of our transformed identity as we are called to live a life of faith in response to who we now are.

By understanding this, we tackle the two problems in the ‘becoming that Christian girl’ culture. Firstly, if we have been united with Christ in his death and resurrection, as Paul says, ‘it is no longer I who lives but Christ.’ (Galatians 2:20) So to think of myself as the primary active agent in my life is to misunderstand what it means to have been united with Christ in baptism! I am not the primary agent, but Christ in me is. What hope this gives us, as it is not up to our own efforts to transform ourselves!

Paul goes on to say, ‘And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.’ Our identity has an outworking in our daily lives. I do not have to become ‘that Christian girl’ by performing a daily set of disciplines, but because I am united with Christ, it will naturally transform how I live my daily life. I do not do things in order to become what I am not, but what I do reveals who I already am.

'For man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.' - 1 Samuel 16:7


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