What does it mean to be a Christian?
In Acts 11:26 it says, "And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch."
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Christian as " one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ."
Most people interpret 'Christian' as meaning 'like Christ.'
So, I am going to go with the idea that to be a Christian means that someone is going to reflect Christ in their daily lives and activities. A Christian will be someone who acts like Christ and follows His teachings.
If I am a Christian, I will do what Jesus Christ taught, follow His commands, and have a life that shows who He is.
How do I show Christ in my actions?
My actions should reflect Jesus. There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians. There are a lot of people who think they know what a Christian should act like. I remember in high school, there was a boy who would tease me and give me a hard time about being a Christian. If I said anything in defense, he would say something like, "Christians have to turn the other cheek, so you can't say anything to me." There was some truth in that statement, but he had it all wrong. He had a view of Christians as weak, weak-minded, self-deprecating and unable to think for themselves. He completely misunderstood what it means to be a Christian.
I have heard a lot of people question a person's christianity based on one action or one statement. I have heard a lot of people say things like, "If they are really a Christian, they would ........" You can fill in the statement. I am sure you have heard many of these statements or even said them yourselves.
I am realizing that most of us have preconceived notions about christianity.
What does the Bible say about a Christian?
Well, we know that to be born again we must repent and accept that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He came to call the sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13). We know that Peter preached “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" in Acts 2:38. We know we need Jesus to cover us in His sacrifice of blood for salvation. That is only the birth and beginning. Our lives should then be changed and different.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Paul wrote the following about how we live out that faith.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
If we go through the writings of the New Testament we would find a lot of descriptions of a Christian life. It should bear good fruit, do good, be kind, be filled with love and have power from God.
I can find a lot of Biblical descriptions we need to achieve.
How do I achieve these descriptions in my life?
It comes down to really knowing Jesus. If I don't really know Him, I cannot be like Him. I cannot just pretend I am like Him. I can't just be like Him on Sundays. I cannot go through life and just hope that that one time I repented will be enough to claim I am a Christian. It cannot even be a ritual of daily Bible reading that should define my Christianity.
My Christianity should be defined by a relationship that is dynamic and growing. My relationship with Jesus should be the ultimate definition of who I am. I love Him because He first loved me. He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is my Savior, Protector, Provider, Healer, Friend, Lover, and Giver of my life. He is the One to whom I turn with joy and pleasure as well as with trouble and pain. He should be the One I think of every moment, the One I talk to, run to and seek. My relationship with Him should define me. It isn't enough to just say I am a Christian. It isn't enough to just talk about Him.
I need to live in Him, breathe Him, think of Him, love Him.
When I got married, my relationship with my husband became a definition of who I am. I took his name and became a wife. I choose to do things for my husband because I love him. I choose to do things because I am a wife. I redefined myself as a wife by how I think and choose to live because of the relationship I have with my husband.
This should also happen as a Christian. Our relationship with Jesus should be reflected in our lives. It should define us, change us and permeate everything we do.
There was a skit I remember from my teen years about a Christian being put on trial to find out if there was enough evidence to convict them of christianity. I hope that there will be overwhelming evidence in my life to convict me. Not just my verbal claims, but my everyday life. My choices, my words, my actions should all reflect Christ. I want to be known as a Christian.
Is Jesus operating in my life, making the changes necessary to bring about His work in me? Is the power of the Holy Spirit flowing in me and through me so that those around me feel His presence and know that God is there? Do others recognize that I have the kind of relationship with God that my prayers are effective? Do I reflect the love of God to those around me? Do they even feel conviction of the Holy Ghost because of His presence in me? Does the very environment around me change because I carry the presence of God with me?
It is time to allow Jesus to demonstrate who He is through us. It is time we understand who we are in Christ. We are blood-bought, power filled, children of God. We have been purchased by the blood of Christ and filled with His Spirit to be a light to a lost and dying world. We are the royal, chosen priesthood and we have been given authority in God to speak life, destroy the enemy and heal the broken. We have Jesus Christ in us and it is time to walk in this life with all the purpose for which .He has called us. I am a Christian. I am to be like Christ. I have hope and life more abundantly. I can walk in that knowledge and never be ashamed of this fact. I can live to bring glory to my Savior Jesus Christ. I am to be a reflection of Jesus Christ in this world. I am His and He is mine. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus loves me and I belong to Him. He has poured His Spirit into me and I have His power operating in my life. I can do all things through Christ Jesus. I know who I am in Him.