“Why did you do that? Aren’t you supposed to be a Christian?” some jeer back at us when we make a mistake.
It would seem that non-believers in Christ find personal enjoyment when a Christian “falls from grace” in their words. Fortunately for all of us mere humans, God’s grace is infinite and definite and there is no falling from it once you receive it. Regardless, Jesus Christ intercedes on our behalf.
But as Christians, we should seek to love others as Christ loved us.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you,” – John 15:13 (New International Version).
We’ve all heard the saying, “Nobody’s perfect.” The word “Christian” doesn’t mean that we are perfect. It does imply that at some point in our individual life, we have been saved by the One who is perfect.
In John chapter 8, verses 28 and 29, Jesus himself said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I Am and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.”
That verse doesn’t say that Jesus sometimes does what God the Father wants Him to; it doesn’t say that Christ sometimes skips church and the opportunity to pray with others, and it doesn’t say He sometimes sneaks around thinking no one can see Him committing sin, so it must be ok to do so.
No. It says, “I always do what pleases Him.”
“Christian” according to dictionaries everywhere means one who adheres to Christianity, or “Christian” is a label to identify people who associate with Christianity. A more simplified definition is that “Christian” means “Christ like.”
As Christians, that should be what we all are seeking to achieve: To be like the One who has shown, shows, continues to show, and will always show God’s love for us and all humanity.
Sometimes it seems we get wrapped up in the comfort of the word “Christian,” and not involved in being like Christ. When we stop trying to be Christ like, it opens us up more and more to that question at the top, “Aren’t you supposed to be a Christian?”
It’s easy for those people to poke at us who are trying to live our life according to God’s Word. And yes, when we mess up, we are usually the first to poke ourselves about it. “Man, what have I done now?”
That’s because it’s easier to set your sights on your own goals and live toward them. Career, family, and living your own life or even those who live for drugs and other personal desires have it easier. It’s not hard to live a life of sin and self. It takes strength and perseverance, love and humility to live your life for Christ.
Christians were called many things before settling on our current label. For example, “Salt of the Earth” – Matt. 5:13; “my sheep” – John 10:27; Jesus said, “You are my friends” in John 15:14; we are “parts of the body” of Christ – 1 Corinthians 12:18; “Dear friends and aliens and strangers in this world” – 1 Peter 2:11; and “My dear children” – 1 John 2:1.
There are many other labels for us, the “Christian,” in the Bible and I’m sure many others in the world. However, my favorite appears in Acts 22:4 when Paul calls us, “followers of this way.”
We are “followers of this way.” In Acts, Paul refers to believers as followers of The Way several times. We are followers of Christ’s way – followers of His perfect way – followers of Christ’s perfect love.
We all can be followers of The Way if we trust Jesus to guide us.
One follower of The Way recently appeared on a major alphabetic-titled network as he attempted and then succeeded in walking a high wire across Niagara Falls, some 1,300-feet across and 200-something feet above his watery death from America into Canada. The alphabet and its Time-related parent company didn’t have the faith in Christ that this 7th generation high wire walker has and therefore required him to wear a tether just in case he should slip and fall. I get it, from the worldly network’s point-of-view showing a man fall to his death isn’t good for them. Unless of course it’s a fictitious crime scene fatality show.
But that didn’t stop Nik Wallenda from shouting that he follows Christ’s way to the millions watching on TV and hundreds of thousands in attendance to witness the breathtaking event.
“I’m extremely blessed to be where I am,” Wallenda said following his twenty-six or twenty-seven minute walk over the American continent’s most-known deathly river-filled chasm from one country to another. The whole time he walked, Wallenda was on camera with a microphone recording every word he said. Wallenda’s staff and the network were even able to ask him questions during his walk, as if he didn’t need concentration. The whole time he was calm and in prayer, thanking God and praising Jesus for blessing him.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think God wants all of us to walk a tightrope to give Him praise. God gives each of us our own talents that He wants us to use in serving Him. Wallenda’s gift from God just happens to be the ability to perform these stunts and honor God as he does them.
One network newscaster couldn’t help but chuckle as he asked, “How do you pray to a deity to protect you in doing something that is this risky?”
“I believe that God has given me this ability. Whatever anyone sets their mind to, if they trust God, He’ll bring them to the highest mountains… But I believer that God opens and closes doors in our lives and I believe there’s Divine Intervention, as you mentioned, in everybody’s lives. And as long as we’re willing to access that and believe, in faith God provides for us,” Wallenda answered.
Pardon me if I’m out of line, but, “Amen!”
Of course, Wallenda also attributed his success to his tightrope-family lineage and his personal years of training and developing this skill. But first and foremost, he attributed his success to God and His son Jesus Christ.
As Nik Wallenda proved, sometimes it isn’t easy to follow God’s will for your life. A thin 2-inch cable covered in water, mist and wind from every direction and hands and arms that are going numb from holding a 40-foot long balance beam may never be obstacles that most of us Christians have to bare. However, we each have our own obstacles to overcome in following Christ and seeking Him in our everyday lives.
But when we falter; when we get off his narrow path for our lives, He is there to catch us. He is there to forgive and redeem us and show us the way back to His will for our life.
Ephesians 5:1, 2 says: Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
That’s what we are supposed to be as a “Christian.” We are on this Earth to be an imitator of God; be an imitator of Christ’s love and live a life that reflects that love to others around us.
The Apostle Paul knew, and used his experiences to help guide us when we fail to live up to Christ’s model; when our flesh wanes against The Way of the Spirit. He told those around him who were struggling: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ,” – 1 Corinthians 11:1.
We discussed “Christian” in our Sunday school class recently. One of my classmates, with a grin said, “I attempt to be Christian.”
Our class teacher pointed out that being a Christian is like medicine. “It’s a practice,” he said laughingly.
Finally, we have come to a definition of the word “Christian” that really fits. Being “Christian” is an attempt to be like Christ. It’s a practice.
God’s paradigm has been shown to us in Christ’s life. God gave the Christ’s followers the wisdom to write of their struggles and victories in following His Way, which make up the New Testament and help us along our walk with Christ.
Jeremy’z Journey is a way for me to reflect on my struggles and victories in Christ and I publish it and pray that maybe, just maybe something that I have gone through might give someone else the strength and desire to pick up a Bible, look and read about Christ’s life, His struggles and His victories in God, and begin to follow The Way.