Many people today are wondering, “What does it mean to be a Christian in today’s world?” Maybe you’re confused when you see people who call themselves “Christian” and they do all the things you thought Christians shouldn’t do. So, what is a Christian, anyway?
The first time you see the word “Christian” in the Bible was after Jesus was crucified and had risen from the dead in Acts 11:26, “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” The New Testament in the Bible was written in Greek. The word “Christian” translated means “a follower of Christ.” Honestly, I don’t know if it was meant in a kind way or not because there were laws against talking about Jesus.
The disciples of Jesus were extremely fearful when Jesus was arrested, even denying they knew him. After Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, He appeared to them and others for 40 days, teaching them and giving instructions. You can read all about this in the first chapter of Acts in the Bible. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit that would give them power. They waited. And waited. Not just his disciples, but a total of 120 people waited. Suddenly the Holy Spirit came in tremendous power. Read about it in Acts chapter 2. They were never the same after this experience. The same disciples who ran away when Jesus was crucified became bold and spent the rest of their lives telling everyone about Jesus. Many miracles happened when they prayed in the name of Jesus. They were threatened, arrested, and beaten but it didn’t stop them. They saw Jesus alive after he was killed and buried and were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. All of Jesus disciples were ultimately brutally slaughtered except for two. Judas, who had betrayed Him and John who was banished to an island after boiling him I oil didn’t kill him. He spent the rest of his life on the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation.
Being a Christian is much more than deciding what you are because your family is, the culture you live in or because you attend a church once in a while. Going to a Christian church every time the building is open or becoming a member doesn’t even make you a Christian. Doing good deeds don’t cut it, either. In fact, you can do all the good deeds the Bible talks about and that doesn’t even make you a Christian.
So, what does make you a Christian? Let’s find it in the Bible. In the 3rd chapter of John, a man named Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night. Why in the night? Because he was a religious Jewish leader and wanted to meet with Jesus in secret. He told Jesus that he knew he was from God because of all the miracles he did. Jesus didn’t say, yes, you are right. I am from God. He immediately addressed what Nicodemus needed to hear. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” There you have it. It’s about being born again. If you’re not born again, this makes absolutely no sense to you, just like it didn’t make sense to Nicodemus (you should really read the chapter). Yes, it’s a decision, but something happens to you when you decide to believe in Jesus not just about Jesus. Putting your trust in Him.
When you were born as a baby, you didn’t know all you know now. You didn’t even know how to
talk or walk. It was a process of growing and learning. When you are born again, your spirit becomes alive. You are in a new reality of the kingdom of God. You become different. You may not even realize the change right away, but you will begin to see things differently. Things you may not have understood about God before, start making sense. When you were a baby, you had to grow and mature but you were now outside of your mother’s womb and the process began.
A Christian is a term that was started by labeling the followers of Christ. Being born again is what Jesus talked about. In the same second chapter of Acts, Jesus says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotton Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (Acts 2:16-17)
The meaning of being a “Christian” has been diluted in our world today. Yes, we should do good things and not bad things. Jesus talked about that, too but that’s not how you are born again. There are a lot of people that are born again doing bad things. Maybe they just need a good spanking from God. God’s brats, I call them. Hey, I’ve been one, too. Doing good things, being loving and kind and treating your neighbor as you want to be treated is all important and your life will be better for it, but it doesn’t give you eternal life. Being born again is a choice to believe in Jesus. It’s not a formula. It’s personal. It’s not between you and a church. It’s not religion. It’s between you and God. It doesn’t happen without your decision. Your action.
Talk to God. Tell Him you are choosing to believe in His Son, Jesus. Ask for His help in your life. Tell God you want Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. Put your faith in the God who created you. You can be a real Christian in today’s world. You can even have peace when you put your trust in Him. Peace that doesn’t make any sense because it’s not attached to what is going on around you. He’s waiting. He loves you. He wants to help you in this life, and He wants to spend eternity with you when you take your last breath. This is the reality you’ve been searching for. This is truth that will set you free.
Praying blessings over you,