Last Wednesday my Pastor taught on “What is a Christian?” The statistics he read from a Pew poll that had been taken on that very question were astounding. People’s definitions of a Christian were so varied, and many, way off base; it just boggled the mind.
Some think that living a good life, not cheating or killing or stealing, being a good person makes them a Christian. Their good outweighs their bad. Some think that showing up at church for Christmas and Easter makes them a Christian. Some think that believing there is a God is all that is required. Some think there are many ways to God; whatever is good for you is good for me.
I highly doubt whether any of those responses came from people who spent time in the Bible to find out what it really says. The Bible clearly states that a Christian is a person who surrenders their life to Christ by asking forgiveness of their sins, repents, believes that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a life without sin, gave His life as a sacrifice for their sins, died, was buried, rose again, ascended to the Father, and is coming again to take Believers home to be with Him.
However, the Bible says that just believing this is not enough. James 2:19 says that the demons believe there is one God and they tremble! No, it has to be a belief that sinks deep into a person’s heart. That belief must be such that there is a change in that person’s life. They must allow God to change them and make them into a new creation. (II Corinthians 5:17) There must be a transformation in that person’s life. (Romans 12:2)
Every part of us must surrender under God’s leadership. He must be Lord of our lives in every area. We must give up our selfishness in word, deed, thoughts, and attitudes. We must literally relinquish control over every area of our lives and allow Him complete access so that He can change us into someone who is Christ-like.
It’s a life-long commitment. Each and every day we must allow God to have His way in our lives. Is it easy? I know for me, it isn’t always easy to give up control. Often times I find the, “I want to do it my way,” attitude needs to be stripped away. Sometimes I think I have a better idea than God, and that I have it all under control…only to find out that I was sadly mistaken and headed down a pathway I should never have taken. Surrender isn’t easy, but it is necessary.
The Bible says we are to examine ourselves. Take account of where we are in relationship with God. Is there any sin that has not been repented of? I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That’s true if you are asking for forgiveness the very first time as you surrender your life to Christ to become a Born-Again Believer, or if you are a Christian who’s followed Jesus for a life-time. So, take time now to get things settled with God. He’s anxious to have a long-lasting relationship with you!