The world likes tossing around the term “Christian” but the truth is, most people do not know what that word means. Believing in God and Jesus Christ is NOT what being a Christian means. Having “faith” does not make you a Christian. Accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior does not mean you are an active Christian.
The truth is a relationship with Jesus Christ is a lot bigger and more meaningful than what many give to Him. The name Christian has been washed through the mud due to fallen believers, but we are not focusing on them today. We are focusing on ourselves.
And just before I go any further, I know personally it’s easy to read these posts and then have images of people in our minds who fall short. I read the comments. But the truth is, we cannot take the speck out of the eye of those we know if we can’t even focus on our own faults, mistakes, and even failures when it comes to our OWN relationship with Christ.
So as you read this, work on focusing on yourself, not on those who may fit the criteria.
I promise you, if we are focusing on the faults of others and how they have hurt us, it will be held against us. Because we are clinging to unforgiveness, and potential hypocrisy. God will not forgive us when we do not forgive others. He is against us being hypocritical against others as well.
To claim we are a Christian is one thing, but by the standards of Christ are we actually a current follower of Him or a fallen believer?
When The Name Christian First Appeared
The body of believers (the church) were known as Christians first in Antioch. (Acts 11:26)
The people who formed the church in Antioch were proclaiming the good news of Jesus (Acts 11:21) It was evident that the grace of God was active in the body. News also got around to other churches (the body of believers) and they were moved and went to the church to help encourage them and their hearts for Christ.
We see a love for Christ and following Christ’s teachings. One of the main ones to go to the ends of the earth preaching the gospel. We also see an active hand of God being involved. When we love Him, when we engage Him daily, we will see Him in our life.
If we are not going to Him, if we do not desire Him, His word, and His hand daily, then we won’t see Him at work. Others will not be reached through us to go to Him.
We receive other indicators of what it means to be Christian throughout scriptures, and things that Christians will go through.
-Christians will suffer.
(NIV) 1 Peter 4:16, “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”
-We must try to be at peace with all or attempt to be at peace with others. Putting aside our bitterness and anger against our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. Else we can make ourselves out to be a liar.
(NIV) 1 John 4:20, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
-We are accountable to the truth, and if someone accuses us as a Christian it should only be lies. You see it in the news. Proclaimed Christian get caught up in the sins they continue to participate in.
(NIV) 1 Peter 3:16, “Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
-Our hearts pour out for others because of Jesus Christ, yes, even those we may not connect with.
(NIV) Phillippians 2:01-02,”Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”
-We put others above ourselves and put the interests of others above our own interests.
(NIV) Phillippians 2:03, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
To be a Christian means to be Christ-like. To be Christ-like means we follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
We pray daily because He did. We forgive and do not hold the transgressions of others against them.
We give when others take, and we do not complain.
We love those not only who love us and treat us kindly, as the rest of the world does (we do not stand out because of that), but we love those who have hurt us, angered us, and those who have forsaken us.
To be a Christian and to carry the title means to accept your relationship with Jesus Christ. To desire to be like Him, by forsaking this world, its lust of sin, embracing Him, His ways, and His salvation. To love others the way He loved, which is so vastly different than this world, especially our enemies.
Related Post | What Is Salvation? | Believer 101
Please Take Some Time To Look Back
I’m going to ask you something that I sometimes ask myself throughout the year. If I take God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit out of my life, what changes? Because I need to make sure that the growth, my accomplishments and even bad times in my life I got through because of Him, and His involvement in my life. I can say this is true through a span of years, and even when I look back yearly I see His hand.
Which means, I need to look at the past month and see how He has moved, the talks, the prayers, the praise, the pain, everything. And then I have to look at the past week, and to keep myself accountable I have to look at yesterday.
If I take Him out, does everything change? Or am I still the same? If I am the same, then I am not close to Him. I am not growing in Him. Truth be told, if I am not growing close, then I am growing apart, and that is a problem. It not only goes against what I believe of myself and proclaim to others, but my relationship with Him is damaged.
There are days of growth, and there are days where I withdraw from Him.
The time is now everyone. Make Him number one in your life. See His hand at work. Proclaim His truth, and walk in His light.
My life, my growth, and even my own accomplishments are nothing, they are rust if He is not behind them.
Month Scripture (NIV) Job 2:10, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
Second Blog: Peeking Beneath