What is a Christian?

“I am a Christian,” I heard him say at the checkout.

I love to hear a bold profession of faith, but it always gives me a bit of a scare. Others were around, and I knew as soon as those words were in the air, he would be watched. Every move, every word, every moment would be watched to see if he would stumble. That goes for all of us who profess this faith. This less-than-a-minute exchange made me wonder if others know what we mean when we say, “I am a Christian.”

“One who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

Merriam Webster Dictionary

Sorry, Merriam Webster, but your definition of a Christian is only partially right.

A Christian is not merely one who believes in the teachings of Jesus; they must also live it out. Jesus was a historical figure. It is delusional to not believe He lived, taught, and died (and rose again!). What’s more, His teachings are worth believing in. He taught others to love God with everything they have and all their being, and to love and serve others. He taught by words, but more so by action. To be a Christian means to be like Him, to receive the implanted Word (which is Christ Himself), and live by that Word.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

James 1:19-21

Being a Christian doesn’t just mean believing in God or even in Jesus. Demons believe and shudder! They submit to Jesus because they know He is the Son of God, the Victor, the King, and the Savior they couldn’t hold down. To be a Christian means to have a healthy fear of the Lord and a strong love for Him. This love creates a passion to serve Him, live for Him, and become a reflection of Him. If the above is not our daily aim, we are not Christian.

Prayer: Jesus, I want to live for You more and more each day. I want to be more like You and know what it is to be a true Christian. Help me to get to know You better so I know how to serve You. Let my life be a reflection of who You are so others might know what Your saving grace can do in a life like mine. Teach me to be a shining light in this dark world and fill me up so my life of joy and peace will overflow to those around me. Thank You for dying for me so I can live a truly abundant life and one day be with You forever. Amen.

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