Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Christian?

Wow have we watered down what it means to be a Christian. I hear it all the time...well my parents go or went to a christian church so I'm a Christian. Like it's something you have no choice in, like I'm Irish cause my Dad is. I go to this church on easter and christmas so I'm a Christian. I go to church every sunday so I'm a Christian. I celebrate christmas so I'm a christian. I'm not putting anyone down who's said this to me but I'm challenging you to find out what it means. It's more than some tradition or ritual. It isn't about religion it's about a relationship. How did it get so watered down? How did this term Christian become so casual that it means nothing. You aren't Christian by birth...you're not Christian because you attend church on sunday,..it's only by a decision of faith in Jesus Christ. A growing living, life changing relationship with Jesus. I beg you to question if you are a Christian.

Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

You must have faith and believe in Jesus to be a Christian. A follower of Christ with a living growing relationship with him as the leader of your life. Do you know how powerful that is? It is LIFE!

John 14:6
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

What God did by sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins demands more than a casual thankfulness. The obedience that Jesus demonstrated to the point of death deserves more. God provided a way to save us from death....to restore us...to fill the void we can never fill. We can try to fill it with drugs, alcohol, sex, idols, money, our husbands, our kids, relationships, our roles, our careers, etc etc...and NOTHING will ever fill the spot that is only for God to fill. Everything else will leave us empty.

God's been asking me to be more vulnerable lately. It's painful....and it's not easy to surrender...to get rid of my pride and selfishness...but I got a word today that said it all...

Jesus demonstrated pure vulnerability. Beaten, bloody, naked, hanging on the cross, being ridiculed, abandoned and rejected by most, put on display for all to mock....all of that suffering so that we can be saved and healed. That's true love. Understanding that and being willing to surrender our lives to God, rejecting the world to follow Jesus.......that's what it means to be a Christian. It's not anything casual....it's surrendering to God and trying to become more like Jesus. It's about accountability with other Christians, it's about applying the Word of God to your life....it's HUGE. Not casual. It's life changing and life giving.

I've been wanting to write about this and then Wikipedia fired me up! See what it says below. Read about CULTURAL CHRISTIANS..........How does that deserve Christ's name in it's title?

Come on people.....tell me what you get from this. I'd love to talk about it.

Wikipedia's definition and explanation:
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who Christians know as Christ, the Son of God and the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible.

What is a Christian?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Christian as "one who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or lives the lifestyle based on the life and teachings of Jesus; one who lives according to the teachings of Jesus."

A wide range of beliefs and practices is found across the world among those who call themselves Christian. The Nicene Creed was established in the 4th century as an expression of Christian faith in the face of heresy.

A 2007 survey in the United States identified the following five typical American categories:

Active Christians: Committed to attending church, Bible reading, and sharing their faith that salvation comes through Jesus Christ. They also accept leadership positions in their church.

Professing Christians: Are also committed to "accepting Christ as Savior and Lord" as the key to being a Christian, but focus on personal relationships with God and Jesus more than on church, Bible reading or sharing faith.

Liturgical Christians: High level of spiritual activity, mainly expressed by attending and recognizing the authority of the church, and by serving in it or in the community.

Private Christians: Believe in God and in doing good things, but not within a church context. In the American survey, this was the largest and youngest segment.

Cultural Christians: Do not view Jesus as essential to salvation. They are the least likely to align their beliefs or practices with biblical teachings or to attend church. They favor a universality theology that sees many ways to God.

Other countries may not show the same variety, especially where there is active persecution of Christians.

People who have a distinct heritage and come to believe in Jesus may also identify themselves differently. Messianic Jews believe that they are a sect of Judaism and that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and the Divine Savior. They seek to live in obedience to the remaining aspects of the Mosaic Law found in the Torah.

The term rice Christians refers to people who profess Christianity for material benefits.

If you're not sure if you're a Christian...ask God in prayer...read your Bible...or ask/email me. I'd love to talk to you about it.

robinleedesign@yahoo.com

1 comment:

Shannon Christman said...

Hey, Robin!

I just read your post this morning and have been mulling it over.

You're right about the meaning of "Christian" being watered down. I actually noticed that it's even used to simply mean "moral" at times. I recently read a book in which one character said to another character, "That wasn't very Christian of you." The character it was directed at belonged to another faith and never intended to be Christian!

We do need to have some distinctions as to what we mean when we call someone or something "Christian," and that Wikipedia entry covers many of them. I strongly disagreed with the line about "active Christians" accepting leadership roles in their churches, though. Not every active Christian is called to leadership, and not everyone who accepts a leaderhip role in a church does so out of heart convictions. I think I'd define active Christians as those who define themselves primarily by their faith and who make it their priority and life goal to follow Christ's commands. And that's what I usually mean when I call someone a Christian.