It is a question that is asked very often. What is a Christian? Along with it are many other questions. What does it mean to be a who is jesus christ What defines a Christian? What makes Christians different from people who aren’t Christians? How can I tell if someone is a Christian? How does it benefit me to be a Christian? These are just few of the questions people ask pertaining to Christianity. Statistics show that about 33% of the world’s population identify themselves as Christians. As a child, my parents were Catholics. So of course I went to the Catholic mass every week. When people would ask about my religion, without hesitation I would identify myself as Catholic.
So is it really that simple? If you were born and raised in Indiana, you would be considered a “Hoosier.” So, if your parents were Christian and you grew up in a Christian Church, does that make you a Christian? Christianity, however, is not that simple. But who likes simple anyway? I was born and raised in Indiana and that makes me a Hoosier, plain and simple. But, how does that plain and simple fact profit me as a human being, as a husband, as a brother, as a worker, etc.? I grew up in the Catholic Church and identified myself as a Catholic, plain and simple. But, how did that plain and simple fact benefit me as I continued to grow from my adolescence into adulthood? If you asked me what I learned from going to mass, sadly not a whole lot. The reason why is simply because my heart wasn’t into it. Deep inside of me, there wasn’t a desire to learn anything. Do you know what it means to be a Hoosier besides being someone that’s from Indiana?
Being a Christian isn’t something that’s inherited. It isn’t something you become by association. It’s not even about religion. It’s something you become. Being a Christian is a choice, a conscious choice. A true Christian is a person who not only believes in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, but a person who willingly exemplifies in his or her life the teachings of Jesus Christ. This person determines in their heart to read the Bible, study the life and behavior of Jesus and emulates it in their own life. They don’t try to change the words of the Bible to make it appeal to them, but they let the words of the Bible change them, so they can appeal to God. The key word there is “change.” The life of a true Christian will always exhibit change.
So, if a person identifies themselves as a Christian and they haven’t even read one of the Gospels in its entirety, do you think they can truly claim to be a Christian? If one of the determining factors of being a Christian is exemplifying the life of Jesus through his word, how can you really know what you don’t read? What if you don’t apply what you read to your life? What if you know the Bible says to love your neighbor as yourself, but there are people you hate and can’t stand? Should you still identify yourself as a Christian? How about if the word says to not commit adultery, but you call yourself a Christian while sleeping around? The Bible answers these questions very easily in Matthew 7:20 which says; “By their fruits, you shall know them.” So if you know the word and what it says about morals and behavior, you can tell who isn’t and who is truly a Christian.
No one can take credit for being a Christian. Nor can anyone self-proclaim themselves as a Christian. The Bible proves this in John 15:16 when Jesus said, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you… ” In the natural, there’s no reason for anyone to accept Jesus Christ and change their lives to reflect His. This is because we are all born separated from God with a sinful nature. This makes us naturally rebellious towards God and anything that has to do with Him. What happens when we start drawing close to God is that His Holy Spirit is birthing those desires in our hearts, supernaturally. He ultimately leaves the choice to us of whether we want to draw closer or farther away. If we draw closer and receive Jesus into our hearts by confessing Him as our Lord and Savior, at that moment we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and immediately “born again” out of the sinful nature and into the nature of God. Once again, this happens supernaturally, so in the natural, we don’t feel it or perceive it yet.