Requirements for being a Christian Part A

There has been a revolutionary doctrine about who a Christian is. What it takes being a Christian has either been watered down or taken lightly or probably almost forgotten. Being a Christian is beyond being called a Christian be it in a religious, ceremonial, communal or even in some congregational settings. So many people have either partially forgiven or are probably unaware about its allotted responsibilities. Being a Christian is beyond being a church goer or attendant nor those that fill in Christianity into the religion column when filling any official or unofficial bio-data. There is so much in being a Christian than it is portrayed in this 21st century. The expectations of a Christian most be met before one will be sincerely known and recognized as a Christian.

To start with, the word 'Christian' can be divided into two. The first is 'Christ' which is the main word and the second is 'ian' which is a suffix. Suffix are words added at the end of a main word to give the new word a slight different meaning from the main word – for example, king+dom, relation+ship and so on. I took you through that route because we needed the main word far more than the suffix that was added. The name 'Christian' did not spring up overnight. It originated from somewhere. The name was given to a set of people after a careful observation and examination of their deeds and conduct. The name 'Christian' shows that its bearers are named after a Person called Christ. Being is the present tense form of 'be.’ Being a Christian is an everyday affair. One will have to deliberately decide that. But to become a Christian, one has to believe with the heart and confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus. Romans 10:9-10 says

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. People were first called Christians in Acts 11:25-26

Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. There are a few things we can draw from this scriptural reference. But we will list them out later because those points are not elementary.

Fundamentally, whoever that is named after Christ must follow closely whom he/she is named after. To say it in a simpler and clearer way, whoever that is a Christian must closely follow after Christ in all ways. Many opinions or arguments might arise from that last statement. Any argument against the statement made is one of such doctrines that has watered down what it takes being a Christian. The first scripture we will be considering is in the book of Luke 9:23

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Before we look at the above scripture intently, let’s run through a few other scriptures when a set of people wanted to follow Jesus and what was Jesus' response to them. Luke 9:57-62

And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. These verses are the conversations between some specific people that either wish to follow Jesus or was called to follow Him. There are 3 people involved in the above scripture (excluding Jesus Himself). Two of them supposedly decided to follow Jesus whiles the third person was called by Jesus to follow Him. Two of them wanted to do one thing or the other before they will eventually follow Jesus. The third person whom Jesus Himself called, was informed of what is involved in following Him. You will remember that there was a portion of scriptures that spoke about the five thousand men that followed Jesus because of the miracles He did and many other things He could likewise do (John 6:2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.)   Probably he might be thinking of the many privileges he is going to enjoy if you eventually follow Him. Rationally speaking, the reasons of those two guys that wanted to follow Jesus were good enough to be considered. Jesus’ response that “foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” does not mean that Jesus is homeless. Let’s consider the holes and nests of foxes and birds, these homes serve as a supposedly permanent home to them if all things go as expected. But what Jesus meant is that His primary assignment can lead Him to various places which would mean that he must then sleep over in that city or place. Scriptures below confirmed it.

Mark 2:1 - And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

Luke 1:23 - And came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.

Luke 2:46 - And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

John 4:40 - So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

John 4:43 - Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee.

John 11:6 - When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. These scriptures shows that Jesus had his own house but He never stayed in his house for so long.

Jesus’ other response as Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God” was because there could be distraction or discontinuity in his followership.

Now, we will be looking at the last scriptural reference and Luke 9:23. These two scriptures relate. There are two main steps to what it takes being a Christian. They are:

1.      Deny himself.

2.      Take up his cross daily.

The way to explain denying oneself is best illustrated in the light of kingdoms. The kingdom we were of before we got converted to being a Christian was the kingdom of darkness. And now that we are Christians, we belong to the kingdom of His Dear Son. Denying oneself means exercising one’s self control by the power of the Holy Spirit from fulfilling the deeds of the old man. The fact that we are Christians does not by any means suggest that we are free from exposures and temptations of the devil. In fact, we have become his target. He’s going to put in all effort to try and ensure that we are fully back into his kingdom. But one scripture strengthens our faith and walk in God. It is Philippians 2:13

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. God works in us to ensure that we have the will power to mortify the deeds of the flesh and gives us the ability and strength to do according to His good pleasure. If you remember what happened to Moses in the land of Egypt. The scripture said in Hebrews 11:24-26 that

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;

Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. Denying oneself is largely dependent on one’s choice.

The other part of what it takes being a Christian is taking up ones cross DAILY. The daily is very important. Without a daily exercise, one will only seem to be a Christian but not no more. Taking up one’s cross means doing what is expected and not what is wanted. It means rising up to one’s responsibilities in Christ Jesus.

Conclusively, what it takes being a Christian is that whoever that will follow after Christ, must totally put away distractions in his/her walk. Because distractions have the ability in themselves to pull one back.  

1/Post a Comment/Comments

  1. Hmmmmm
    * Being a Christian is beyond being called a Christian.
    * Being a Christian is everyday affair.
    * Denying oneself is largely dependent on one's choice.
    So powerful points .
    More grace Sir.


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