“Being a Christian” is, according to some, the easiest thing in the world. We say something out loud (or, quietly in our heart) about being sorry for our sins and inviting Jesus in, and it’s all over with. We go back to living our lives pretty much as we did before, except that now we are “Christian”.
Well, in some ways, becoming a Christian is a very easy thing. We humble ourselves to the point of realizing that we have wronged God — we have sinned against Him. We confess that and express our sorrow for doing things that grieved Him. But saying the words is not the most important part of our confession; the most important thing is that we mean them. The Bible tells us that God looks at the heart. We don’t fool Him if we say a few words that we don’t really mean. He knows whether we’re really sorry for our sins or not. He knows if we really want to live in obedience to Him or if we just want to do our own thing. He is calling a people from this earth who will be transformed into the image of Christ, who will end up looking more and more like Jesus — full of grace, truth, mercy, conviction, passion and purpose. Is that what we want?
In this fall and winter season we are returning to the Gospels to have a close look at Jesus. We want to see how He related to a wide range of people, from a Pharisee who came to visit Him at night to the Pharisees who were constantly plotting to take away His life. We have recently looked at how He responded to religious hypocrisy, how He went about healing the sick, His relationship with the Sabbath and the life He shared with His disciples. In coming weeks we’ll look at Jesus meeting with Nicodemus, Jesus and the Samaritans, Jesus and Lazarus, Jesus relating with children and, in the New Year, we’ll look at some of the ways Jesus described Himself and what they mean to us.
Being Christian means, among many other things, being changed. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are open to the work of the Holy Spirit in you, convicting you of sin, showing you where you need spiritual growth, challenging your ideas and forming in you the character of Jesus. Sounds nice, but most of us resist this process on a daily basis because we are creatures of old habits and of entrenched pride. The challenge of being Christian is a daily challenge — not nearly as easy as the beginning of the journey, but a journey that brings many wonderful rewards. Knowing Jesus helps immensely and our goal for this series is to help each person who hears to know Jesus better.