Reality check: Are you a true Christian? | Faith | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | November 12, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: November 8, 2017 at 11:19 am
Many people go around tooting their horn, “I am a Christian.” Then, what is a Christian?
According to the dictionary’s definition, a Christian is “a person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ or in the religion based on the teachings of Jesus.” However, that definition does not expound on the biblical truth of what it means to be a Christian.
Some feel that going to church on a regular basis makes them a Christian. Remember that the devil goes to church, too! Others feel that giving regularly to the church makes them a Christian. Remember there are those who give bountifully so that they can tell the pastor what to do, take control of the church or brag about how much money they pay in church.
Further, there are those who feel that giving to the needy makes them a Christian. Remember, there are those who give to charity just because they need a tax write-off, or they want to be recognized in the community for charitable giving.
The biblical truth of what it means to be a Christian has three guiding principles. First, a true Christian is a person who has put faith and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ, including His death on the cross as payment for sins and His resurrection on the third day. (See John 1:12.)
Secondly, the mark of a true Christian is love for [all] others and obedience to God’s Word. (See 1 John 2: 4, 10.)
Thirdly, a true Christian is indeed a child of God, a part of God’s true family, and one who has been given a new life in Jesus Christ (“What is a Christian?”).
Therefore, if you are not living by these three principles, then your “mark” as a true Christian is lacking much to be desired. The bottom line is that if you are a true Christian, tooting your horn about it is most definitely unnecessary. Others will see Christ living in you, so you will not have to walk around with a sign posted on your back as advertisement.
As you are trying to determine your mark as a true Christian, think about these questions and some verses of Scripture to support them:
• Do you love your fellow man, no matter what is his race, creed, color, religion, or national origin? “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20 ESV).
• Do you believe that God is love? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).
• When you give to others, are you doing it from your heart? “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7 ESV).
• When you pray, is it effective, or are you just going through the motions? “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ‘And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words’” (Matthew 6:6-7 ESV).
• Do you believe that there is nothing too hard for God? “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son” (Genesis 18:14 ESV). “… ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Matthew 19:26 ESV).
• Are you “denomination-driven”? Ephesians 4:5-6 (ESV) says, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” One thing that all of us need to remember is that Jesus did not come to save “skin.” He came to save “souls.” If we can’t live and work together while we are here on earth, then how can we expect to go to heaven together?
There is no such thing as a black church, a white church, etc. Agree or disagree with me; I am just being open and honest about this. It clearly states in Acts 10:34-35 (KJV): “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Think about it, my sisters and brothers in Christ.
In conclusion, let me share with you excerpts from “Christian One-liners” by an anonymous author. Although some may appear humorous, there is a lot of truth in them about the mark of a true Christian if you “read between the lines.”
• “Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisers.
• It is easier to preach 10 sermons than it is to live one.
• When you get to your wit’s end, you’ll find God lives there.
• People are funny; they want the front of the bus, the middle of the road, and the back of the church.
• Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.
• Quit griping about your church; if it were perfect, you couldn’t belong.
• God Himself does not propose to judge a man until he is dead. So why should you?
• Some minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
• A lot of church members who are singing “Standing on the Promises” are just sitting on the premises.
• We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.
• Be ye fishers of men. You catch ‘em — He’ll clean ‘em.
• Don’t put a question mark where God put a period.
• God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
• Prayer: Don’t give God instructions — just report for duty!
• The Will of God will never take you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.
• We don’t change the message; the message changes us.
• The best mathematical equation I have ever seen: 1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given.”
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)