Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The True Meaning Of Being A Disciple Of Christ

          What does it mean to be a Christian, and how can we have assurance that our current state of heart qualifies as fulfilling the appropriate criterion of being one? Now, this question is not an application of some random faith plus works formula, but rather is an honest inquiry into what it takes to be an authentic disciple of Christ. This question of discernment can aid us in the process of distinguishing ourselves righteously from the common characteristics of the people who are not of God, especially when there are many who profess Christ but in reality are false prophets (Matthew 7:21-23). We know that there exists a great, constant spiritual battle that is taking place in this world between the forces of good and evil. To be precise, enmity exists between God and the devil. Though this intense opposition may not always be readily apparent to our fleshly eyes, we do know through divine revelation that we who are Christian need to spiritually equip ourselves. We need to build each other up in the faith. The Household of God needs to competently fight the good fight of faith through preaching and living out the gospel.

To be a Christian means to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior from eternal condemnation in the literal flames of hell and to make Him Lord over every aspect of our lives. It means confessing the name of our Lord Jesus Christ publicly, and believing from the heart that He resurrected from the dead bodily (Romans 10:9-13). It is a call to faithfulness, rather than rebellion. It is call to holiness. It means serving God according to His will (John 14:15; 21). It involves placing Him above all kings and lords. To be a Christian means to stand up for what is right, regardless of what other people say or do. True Christians place their burdens on Him, instead of relying on their own futile efforts (Matthew 11:28-30). It means trusting in Him even when we do not understand why we encounter bad situations. We need to emulate His constant example of wisdom. Christians depend on His strength, and turn to Him as their guide. Being a disciple of Christ requires that we act holy, as God is holy (Matthew 5:48). It involves us scrutinizing our thoughts (Matthew 5:28-30), words (Proverbs 13:3), and deeds (James 1:14-16). A Christian has been renewed by the Holy Spirit to live a godly life (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Biblically defined Christians are people who have chosen to pick up their crosses and follow Christ through faith. We are to obey Him to the point of death.

          True Christians make God the top priority of their lives. True Christians love God. True Christians know Him. True Christians serve Him. Only through His name are we able to get saved. We should be continually praising His name. According to Scripture, following Jesus Christ is of greater importance than burying the deceased (Luke 9:59-60). In other words, obedience to Him is more important than everything else in this world. No sin is worth spending an eternity from God over. Being a disciple of Christ means boldly preaching His name, even in the midst of persecution. Thus, our spiritual state should be righteously different than the unbelievers that we encounter daily. Our candle of faith should be shining before all men. Our good works are the product of a changed heart. Our good works demonstrate the reality of our faith. Our works serve as convictable evidence of our Christian testimony. If we are not spiritually distinct from the people of this world, then how could we rightly profess the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who stands in contradiction to their beliefs, customs, and practices (James 4:4)? 

          If a person wishes to become a Christian, then he or she needs to trust in the sacrificial work of God. That is how we are adopted as His children. That is how we begin our spiritual walk with the Lord. We faithfully keep God's commandments through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. If, however, we find ourselves acting uncharitably toward other people, ensnared in sin addictions, not studying the Word of God, or not somehow witnessing to unconverted souls, then something has become deficient in our spiritual walk. External behaviors are the thermostat of the human heart, which can mean that we are either becoming warmer (growing closer to Christ) or colder (drifting away from Christ). This is the underlying reason that we need to periodically examine ourselves in light of Scripture (2 Corinthians 13:5). Having a morally sound conscience that is well grounded in the Faith of Jesus Christ forms the basis of being one of His true disciples. Having a doctrinally sound worldview that is well grounded in the Faith of Jesus Christ forms the basis of being one of His true disciples. 

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