If you were to ask people this question, what do you think would be the reply? I expect they would answer “a person that believes in God” and they would be correct, but we must be more specific. There are many other religions of this world who believe in a god so we must make clear who the God is that we serve. A Christian believes in the God of the Holy Bible who is at once one, God and three, Father, Son and Spirit, otherwise known as the Trinity. A Christian believes in the Word of God. A Christian does not treat the Bible like a pick and mix, he does not pick the aspects that suit his lifestyle and leave those that are troublesome for him. Of course, there are those that claim to be Christians and do this very thing. This is not what God has asked of us.
I have found on my journey there are two types of Christian, the Sunday Christian, and the Believing Christian. The Sunday Christian devotes the hours of 10-11 on a Sunday morning to worship God or at least appears to worship God and on exiting the church he leaves God behind.
God demands that we identify as Christian above all else, before identifying as wife, father, nurse, teacher, female, dog lover, body builder, artist, etc. etc. we are to be Christian. God comes first and we are to love God above all else. John Baillie, the Scottish Theologian sums this up well “A true Christian is a man who never for a moment forgets what God has done for him in Christ, and whose whole comportment and whole activity have their root in the sentiment of gratitude.”
I love this quote by Billy Graham, the North American Evangelist “The real Christian is a person who can give his pet parrot to the town gossip.” At first glance you may think, ok so a real Christian is so free of sin that he is happy for his pet parrot to share all the goings on of his household to the whole town. But is there in fact more to it? Is it that no man is without sin, but the real Christian humbles himself to admit where he goes wrong? He does not pretend to be perfect, puffing out his chest as though he were as holy as Jesus but rather, humbly shares his imperfectness with other imperfect people in the hope that together they will gravitate towards Christlikeness.
I used to feel that “Christians” were people who thought they were perfect and sinless, a people who felt superior to others and looked down upon them. I am sure on some occasions I was right. There are certainly some tv evangelists who would definitely fall into this category. But when one is a true child of God, this is not how your mind works, in fact, it is the opposite. Christians, getting to knowing God and His Word, become more aware of their sin.
When you become a Christian, you become a representative of Christ, the hands, and feet of Jesus on earth. Therefore, one of faith must demonstrate this by his actions. This is a mighty task, the most important task a Christian is assigned. Note Well … You will fail. Of that there is no doubt. We will still sin. Do not let this impede your walk with God, simply ask for forgiveness, apologise to anyone that you have sinned against and start again. Every time you fall, just get back up. There are many characters in the Bible who have fallen many times, yet they got back up. Let us think of Peter, a disciple of Jesus. While Jesus was being interrogated Peter denied even knowing him, not just once but three times yet it is Peter that Jesus built the Church upon, it was to Peter that Jesus handed the keys to heaven.
The true church of God consists of all Christians throughout the world joining as one family in Christ.
When joining a church, it is important to look for the good fruits of which Matthew speaks, but also look for unity and welcome, above all, look for Jesus. If you find these, you have found a believing church!
I pray that you are thriving in a believing church or that you soon find one in order that your faith may grow in the fellowship of your brothers and sisters.
Love and Blessings