Day One: What Does It Mean to Be a Christian?

Acts 11:26 (ESV)

And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

When you hear the word, “Christian,” what comes to your mind? Is a Christian someone who goes to church, votes Republican, doesn’t use foul language or neglect tithing? Is Christianity a set of beliefs, or is it something you do? Does being a Christian require only a partial-commitment, or is the whole person Christian?

In our society, Christianity can be like going to a candy shop: there are a lot of choices, plenty of flavors, and it’s all dependent upon your own tastes and felt-needs. There seems to be a mold for any kind of commitment you’re looking for. What seems more important, is clearing your conscience by assuming that going to Church fixes your “relationship” with God (even temporarily). Christmas and Easter are the days when “non-practicing” Christians show their respects to God. Yet, Jesus does not ask for empty worship, but a real, living, and genuine walk with Him. The only problem is, this is not Christianity, but an empty shell of what it once was.

Christianity is first of all about Christ, the work of Jesus in coming to this world and the good news that He saved us from our sin. It’s real, and therefore it should have real evidence in our lives. When a family member dies, a funeral is held; people show up, mourn, go through the motions of burial and learn to cope with the loss. Death impacts the world, both around the family of the loved one who died, and each person as they will die one day. But Jesus died, bearing our punishment, and yet His death was not the end. He rose again, defeating Hell, the grave, and the Devil. He gave us a living hope because He is alive. We can be free from sin by trusting in Him alone.

The word “Christian” comes from two different words: “Christos” in Greek (Which means Christ or Messiah) and “ianos” in Latin, which is used to describe the possession or slave of someone else. A Christian then, is someone who is “possessed” or owned by Christ. Your allegiance to Him as Lord and King is shown in your words and actions, to show you are of the Kingdom of God. If you met someone from India, everything about that person, from the way they dress and talk to the way they act, proves their citizenship. Their life was shaped around where they are from. Likewise, we are citizens of Christ’s Kingdom, and this means our life is first of all to become more like our Savior by following in obedience. As we go on this journey for the next two weeks, I challenge you to ask yourself:

1) In what ways have I made my life about Christ?
2) Have I seriously grasped why He came to this earth?
3) Have I been living knowing Christ is real, or more like an idea?

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