A couple of days ago I asked my Facebook friends for ideas on blog topics. I had a lot of good suggestions but one stood out to me more than the others. The question was “What makes a true Christian?”
My assumption is you can ask that question to 100 people and you’ll get 100 subjective answers. My answer is a subjective one as well. I am not a religion expert, haven’t gone to school for it and I don’t know the bible front to back. But I knew I had to answer this question because I had been struggling with it as well.
I started thinking of all my Christian friends that I look up to and want to emulate. What about them made them “true” Christians. Was it their ability to quote bible verses at rapid fire speed? Is it the way they are nice to everyone they encounter? What about helping out someone in need? Sure – all of those are amazing qualities that my “true” Christian friends have. But you know what? So do my atheist friends. I have an atheist friend – and his atheist wife – who can run circles around me when it comes to the bible, it’s amazing. They’re nice people, do great things, have Christian friends – but they aren’t Christians. Ok… so if those qualities don’t make a true Christian, then what does? I’ll get there, I promise.
Two nights ago my husband and I had a heart to heart talk about some of the things that were happening in our life. As Jason talked about how he felt, he brought up something that our pastor had said in church that Sunday; “The version of reality we adopt is based on the series of relationships we allow”. We both came to realize that something we had changed in our life was something we should’ve changed a while ago, but didn’t, because it was convenient. The changes we have made in our life have rocked the boat – and we are okay with that – because we know it’s the Godly thing to do. We were steadfast in our changes and discussed them with our close, trusted friends. We didn’t broadcast it or make a huge public production. What we did do, though, was rely heavily on each other, and God, to resolve this. And what could’ve been a messy situation for Jason and I was anything but. We were a team and came out of it stronger.
Yesterday was a crazy day for me. I traveled with four kids, all under the age of six, spent five hours at my sister in laws house, where two more children under the age of six were, and tried to sort through clothes and shoes and AAUUGGHH!!! It was hectic, hectic day and I wanted nothing more than to relax. But later in the evening something happened that turned my hectic day into a bad day. I was mad, and I mean mad, to the point my hands were shaking. I told Jason I needed to go for a walk to calm down (no, he was not the reason for my anger) and I texted my best friend and said I was extremely upset and I was going to the park by her house for alone time and if she wanted to join me she could. Shortly after I texted her she responds back “I’m on my way!” Two hours later I head home with a clear head and a happy heart. I curl up in bed with my love, have another heart to heart and I pray for us before we fall asleep.
So I’ve yet to answer the question: “what makes a true Christian?” After everything I have thought about this week and the things that have recently happened, this is my answer: A true Christian is the humble, and faithful, hands and feet of Jesus. It’s the husband and wife who make the tough decision to change something in their life. It’s the friend who hears how upset her friend is and drops everything to be with her, no questions asked. It’s the family that takes you and your child in when you are going through your divorce and can’t afford to live anywhere else. It’s the small group who shows up at your door with money because they know you’re on maternity leave and times are tough. It’s the friends who have given you money without stipulation, just because God placed it on their hearts. It’s the friend who prays with you and says “I believe in you”, when you are in a dark place. It’s the husband who leads his family and does everything he can for them with a Godly heart.
ANYONE can do a good deed. You don’t have to be a Christian to do something amazing. But a true Christian does all their deeds with a God driven purpose and doesn’t just stand there boasting “I’m a Christian”; you have to live your life in a way that proves it. Your good deeds should be done with a grateful and Godly heart, because we are to “Love our neighbors as ourselves” (Mark 12:31), and he wants us to “Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8) while we do it. He wants us to “consider it joy when we face trials because the testing of our faith will produce perseverance” (James 1:2-3) and when we can’t be joyful in our trials God wants us to “subject ourselves to the elders” because “God opposed the proud but shows favor to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). God tells us “Do not judge so that you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1) and to “Guard our heart because everything we do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). And when we just can’t handle it, when we are at our end, when we feel lost, down and out, God reminds us “Come to me all who are weak and weary and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Let me end this by saying: I AM NOT PERFECT. There are days where I fail…miserably. There are days where I am nowhere close to what I describe above. But those are the days that I pray, ask for forgiveness and understand that I am human and I WILL makes mistakes. A “true” Christian will never tell you that they are perfect and above reproach. A true Christian is humble because “when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:12).
God – help me continue to be a true Christian. I ask that you give me the wisdom and strength to put you first as I make my decisions and walk through life. Thank you for loving all of my heart, even on the days that I fall flat on my face.