To be a Christian…

To be a Christian…

‘Time in the Word’ By Clayton Adams

What is a Christian? The word “Christian” is the title given to those who follow Jesus the Christ.

What does it mean to be “Christian? A Christian is one who follows Jesus.

The first time the word “Christian” is used in the Bible is found in the letter of Acts 11:26. What were people doing to be called Christian? They were studying about Jesus and reading the Old Testament Scriptures (the New Testament hadn't been written yet).

Being a Christian does not make one perfect, in fact it doesn't even make us “good” as Jesus said in Mark 10:18. Christians must be quick to recognize our status as sinners, saved only by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Furthermore, the Bible states that we have “all come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In God's eyes we are all sinners and we each one ask God to forgive us of our sin (Romans 10:9-10). The ground is level for everyone at the Cross.

A Christian studies the life and teachings of Jesus.

Christians can be of any denomination such as Baptist, Catholic, Church of God in Christ, etc., but no denomination or name of a church makes one a Christian. One cannot be born into, christened, baptized, blessed or work to salvation. One must choose to be a follower of Christ to be a Christian.

From this choice to follow Christ comes the evidence of being a Christian. For instance, Christ taught His followers to love others as much as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). How are you doing on loving others?

Then there is the proof of following Christ found in Paul's letter, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:15- 16).

A Christian becomes “ashamed” when he or she cannot or does not “accurately” use or apply in one's life God's Word. For instance the old saying, “God helps those who help themselves” is wrong and is not in the Bible. God helps those who are helpless.

Another proof of following Christ is “… avoid worldly and empty chatter” (2 Timothy 2:16). Gossip in churches is worse then what one hears in the world. Because we do not know or choose to ignore the Word of God we willingly walk into and actively participate in “worldly and empty chatter” (gossip and useless conversations) and this leads to further “ungodliness.” There is a connection between not knowing or not obeying God's Word and entering into “ungodliness.”

Did you know that Jesus places the responsibility for growing and strengthening our faith on us? It is not the preacher's job to grow your faith, it's your responsibility. Jesus said, “See to it that no one misleads you,” and “See that you are not frightened,” and He said, “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved” (Matthew 24:4, 6, 13). Are you being misled? Are you frightened by world events? Are you enduring?

We each struggle with some issue in our life. Call it temptation, weakness, sin, whatever – it has been summed up this way, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17) Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life are the three ways temptation comes to us. To resist temptation is to know God's Word, recognize ones own weaknesses and growing spiritually.

Following Jesus is not easy, sometimes He asks us to do something we don't want to do or endure a difficult time in life. But “doing the will of the Father,” guarantees you life forever. It's your choice.

The fight is between our pride (1 John 2:15-17) and our desire to follow Christ and it is a very real fight.

Simply said, we want to do what we want to do and this is the problem even for Christians. Choosing to follow Christ does not guarantee an easy life and most certainly you will face temptation and great difficulties, one cannot escape this truth.

I urge you to remember the command from the apostle Peter, “…be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (2 Peter 3:17-18).

Have you let your guard down? We all do and when we do, it brings great trouble and suffering because there is always a cost for our sin.

Spiritual and personal growth comes most often through the most difficult times – the times we fail and come short of the glory of God make the best teachers of life. The low times force us towards God, the loneliness, selfdoubt and dissatisfaction with self is when we hear Christ calling us the loudest. Do you hear Him calling you?

Clayton Adams has a message of faith he would like to share with the community. He would also like to hear from you. E- mail him at claytonpadamslll@ gmail. c om..

Clayton Adams