I used to wonder: “What does it mean to be a Christian?”
Some will say:
“Being a Christian means following the Ten Commandments.”
Or “being a Christian means going to church every week.”
But how does Christianity shape our daily lives?
How does it become practical to us?
When we are shopping for groceries at the grocery store or driving down the street, what makes us “Christian?”
When we are at work or hanging out with friends after class, what makes us “Christian?”
To figure out what it means to be a Christian, we must first look at the definition of Christian.
Merriam Webster defines Christian as, “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.”
But is profession enough? Can we truly be saved just by claiming to believe in Jesus? It seems that many people do indeed “claim” to be Christians, but isn’t it true that actions speak louder than words?
To find a real answer to this dilemma of what it means to be a Christian, I turned to the Word of God. I figured it wasn’t enough to only talk and say I believed; and I wanted to know how I could show my belief outwardly. I wanted to know how I could LIVE like a Christian.
Here’s what Paul says about living a Christ-Like life:
“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (who is your life) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you.
So then that means you must kill off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.
Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master.
Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don’t take advantage of them.
Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end.
Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits.
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.”
Christianity so much more than talk. Its getting down to the nitty gritty, the small ways in which we cherish secret sins and separate ourselves from God. But when we begin to LIVE like Christ, a life of love, compassion and forgiveness, then we begin to live up to the name. When we put Christ first, above all else including our selves, God sees Christ first, and we become spotless, perfect in His eyes.
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