Followers of Christ were first called “Christians” in the Greek city of Antioch (present day Turkey). They were called this by others because of whom they followed. They themselves called themselves “The Way.” The term was probably not first given as a compliment, but it soon became one that was adopted with pride by all of those who placed their hope and trust in Jesus Christ.
Today, billions of people claim the name Christian, in fact, it’s the largest of the world’s religions. In the United States it is the religion of our forefathers and the one our laws and morals are based upon.
If you ask around, there are lots of people who call themselves Christians, but what does being a Christian really mean? Does it mean that you occasionally worship in a Christian church? Do people call themselves Christian because that is how they were raised? Or is being a Christian something much deeper than a title we choose to place upon ourselves?
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we get a hint, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Here we see that Christianity involves a transformation, a rebirth and a reckoning.
The transformation comes upon the understanding of who Christ really is and what He is offering. It’s more than general knowledge, it’s a spiritual connection and a surrender of the old so that you may obtain the new. It’s an utter dependence on Christ above all other things that you might have once placed your hope and trust into.
Being a Christian means having the willingness to stand up for what is right and true. From 1 Peter 4:16, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” Being a Christian doesn’t mean you think your troubles will magically go away, it comes with the understanding that persecution may come for the name you claim. Being a Christian is about having faith enough to get you through the trials that will surely come and its about knowing that God is bigger than any troubles that may arise.
Being a Christian means making everything you do a ministry to Christ. From Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Being a Christian means representing Christ in your thoughts, words and deeds.
It’s requires more then simply showing up for church on Sundays, rather, it’s a commitment to trying to always do what is right in the eyes of God. It is a dedication to living a life worthy of the calling Christ has given you to put others before yourselves and to be His hands and feet and mouthpiece to the world.
Being a Christian is to believe in and know the awesomeness of the Creator. From Psalm 139:13-16, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
To know Christ is to know the Father whom He adored, to understand who formed you and who welcomes you home when your life on this world has ended. To be a Christian means that you follow Christ’s example of dedication and faith in His Father who now claims You as His own and has adopted you a His child along with Christ.
So, you see, being a Christian is about much more then what you call yourself. It takes faith and trust in the Word of God. It takes a commitment to represent Christ in all you say and do. It requires a surrender of the old so that you may be reborn into the new. And it offers you so much more then what the world can ever give you. Make your commitment to newness today. Earn the name you have chosen and live for the one whom you represent. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, help me to show that I am a Christian by the faith and hope I place in You. Challenge me not to be satisfied with doing the least I can do and prepare me to do even more in Your name. Amen.