In process…Together, taking next steps toward loving Jesus & loving others.
So let’s talk about what it means to be a Christian. There is a lot of great wisdom for living life in the Bible. We go to most churches and hear a lot about how to live according to God’s design. We discover how to have a healthy marriage according to God’s design, have healthy families, good finances, work ethic etc etc. I too have preached this and believe it. Even if you don’t become a Christian, God’s ways are wise and right. He did create us and learning to live the way He says is the best way to live. Now we could talk about how the power and ability to actually live that way is not available unless you are a Christian, unless the Holy Spirit lives in you. But that’s not my purpose in this post.
Here’s what I want to get you thinking about: you are not a Christian because of what you do. In fact the “right” choices and moral lifestyle is not where Christianity begins. Christianity is first and foremost a “be” thing not a “do” thing. And one of the dangers I see in many churches, including our own is that many believe they are Christians because they’re interested in learning more and more about God’s way and learning to do what He says. Christianity is about a change in identity. Paul teaches us that anyone who is IN CHRIST is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5)
If we don’t start with a completely new identity we are NOT a Christian, regardless of how many good things we “do”. Becoming a follower of Jesus is an act of surrender and dependence. I come to Jesus, admit my dire need for Him, confess my sin and choose to find myself in Christ. I take upon myself what Christ did for me. I depend completely on what He did for me, dying in my place. I don’t depend on my good works. I don’t depend on my church attendance. In fact I don’t depend on anything I “do” but all what He “did”.
I would say when I get into this issue with about 50% of church people I talk with — and I ask — why are you a Christian? How do you know you are going to heaven? 50% – 1 half of everyone I ask (from a church) will say something about what they do or did. This is troubling. Now to be clear, in some cases it’s a misunderstanding of the question and in all the cases, I take the time to share the content of this blog and it ends very well. I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t want this kind of connection with God. It’s freeing and it’s powerful! It is ALL about aligning with Christ, it’s all about being hidden in Christ. It’s about letting go of all my efforts and trusting/ depending completely in what Jesus did for me.
Once this identity shift happens, we are “born again” (John 3). We are now a “saint”, completely righteous — a new, totally new creation!! Then we not only have the power but the desire to live differently. Then the sermons, messages and books about God’s way and living by God’s design make a lot more sense. Not only do they make more sense, but we find the ability to actually live God’s way!
Start right–BE IN CHRIST and then you’ll discover how to DO what God has created you to do.