“What does it mean to be a Christian?” “Who, among you considers yourself to be a Christian?” These are the questions I would like to ask a group of leaders, believers, Christians.
You see Merriam-Webster defines Christian: 1) treating other people in a kind or generous way – has a very Christian concern for others 2) one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ 3) a person who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ
The word “Christian” is used three times in the Bible: Acts 11:26, 26:28, and I Peter 4:16. These define Christian as a “follower of Christ.” A Christian is: Acts 11:19-23 – someone who is saved; Acts 11:24 – someone who exhibits a changed life, walks in faith, and shares the gospel; Acts 11:25-26 – a Christian helps teach others how to live like Christ.
Me? Well, I don’t go around flashing my religious beliefs in the faces of others. I would rather they see Christ in me – through my deeds. I would rather they hear Christ in me – by the way that I speak. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. To be like Christ, in my humble opinion – which means NOTHING at the end of the day – is to give to the needy, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, tend to the sick, help raise the spirits of the downtrodden, lead the lost to Christ, and give of myself in service to Christ. Anywhere You lead, I’ll follow. If You send someone, Lord, send me! Haven’t these been my prayers since childhood? Are they not still my prayers? If they weren’t I wouldn’t still be in Washington, serving…
I was touched by a conversation I had with my younger brother. That kid surprises, and behaves like a mature adult sometimes. He just moved to the West Coast – San Diego, California – Navy. Downtown, mind you. There is a homeless gentleman that sleeps outside of his building, with a dog. He stopped and had a conversation with the man – his name is Gary, if I recall correctly – “nice dude.” According to my brother. We could be entertaining angels unaware – is the thought that came to my mind. How many homeless do we encounter on a daily basis? How many less fortunate do we cross paths with even in the church? Do we stop and get to know them, or do we turn our noses up at them? Can’t that just as easily be us? (Proverbs 28:27 KJV) He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
I’ve heard it said: The church is a hospital. We all come in broken, seeking healing and restoration. It’s true. None of us are whole. We will never be whole. We are all works in progress, continually – and will be until the day we die. Period. Isn’t that something? We will never be able to say, “I made it! I’ve gone as far as I need to go, God is finished with me!” Even when Jesus walked the earth, and was tempted, yes, He resisted – the ONLY perfect being – because we will fall – HE did not – anyway, the devil left him for only a season, the Bible states. Although, we may complete ONE trial, guess what! The trial does not last forever – only for a season (I know, some seasons seem to last forever), and they are meant to help you to grow in your relationship with Christ. Some things, I have learned are just the causation of someone else’s free will, impacting you, however, that does not mean you cannot trust, and lean on the Lord through it all. Why? And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 KJV).
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. What does that mean to you? I’ll tell you what it means to me. It means when I get to a place of healing, restoration, joy, and peace, to reach out and help those around me that haven’t reached those places yet. It tells me that the body is not whole. My brothers and sisters are going to need me from time to time. Sometimes they are going to fall, and when they are weak, if I’m the strong one, I need to strengthen them, as I’m still doing the work of the Lord, still being a Christian. It tells me that the babies in Christ, as they come in, are going to need me to take them by the hand, and help them learn how to walk. The church has no room for judging. There is enough of that in the world. When we step foot in the church, we should only feel the love of God.
To be like Christ is to serve. Did not Christ come for all? The poor, the dirty, the smelly. Such were some of us. Are our sins not as filthy rags? Oh, we are good at hiding them? We can hide our past – hide the place from whenst we came. No one needs to know that I was abused as a child. No one needs to know how poor I was growing up. No one needs to know that mom worked two jobs, growing up, and we still barely made ends meet. No one needs to know that I was raised by alcoholic/addict parents. No one needs to know that my grandparents raised me. No one needs to know that I grew up believing that my mom was my sister, and the woman I called “mom” was actually my grandmother, because my mom had me at a young age. No one needs to know that I was abandoned. No one needs to know… No, we can hide all that, because we have it all together now. Or, do we? We paint a smile on our face, and go about our business like nothing is wrong – but on the inside… In the secret place… At home… Have you given it all to Jesus – the one who died for you? Have you truly been set free? You know all of the words to all of the songs. You know all of the books of the Bible – maybe can even quote some scriptures – the relevant ones. You have the bracelet, the car decal, YEAH! You’re a Christian! You tell everyone you know. But your lifestyle. Is it a dirty, smelly filthy rag? Is it truly representative of Christ. Do you walk like Jesus did when He was on this earth? WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? or Walk With Jesus Daily! I say BOTH.
I love the Beatitudes, they keep my ATTITUDE right…
Matthew 5:3-11King James Version (KJV)
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.