I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. – C.S. Lewis

Being a Christian means more than wearing a cross around our neck, a fish on our bumper and being baptized. It’s a way of life. It means believing the Bible as God’s word and using it as a blueprint for how we live our lives.  It means believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins. It means knowing the difference between what is right and wrong and choosing what is right. It means letting Jesus be the example of how we should live our lives.

The Bible is a blueprint on how to be a Christian. It has always impressed me that no matter what challenge or obstacle I face in life, the Bible gives a detailed description about every situation that can be faced in life and how to handle each one. Most importantly, the Bible consistently shows how God loves us.  The Bible is more than a historical reference, it shows us how Jesus lived when He walked on Earth and the amazing plan He has for each of us.

The easiest way to know what is Christian is whether it points us to Christ. At the end of the day, a product that is “Christian” should equal Christ. Thus, we must be careful to retain the cross as the centerpiece and deciding factor to whether we call a thing “Christian” or not. We cannot settle for less. Christ and Him crucified — that’s Christian. Anything else… is something else.

Living for Jesus after we accept Him as Savior is really quite simple, regardless of how complicated it has become.  It can be summed up in one word — “surrender.” Jesus made this clear in Luke 9:23: “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Surrender is giving up all rights to yourself to Him. He is in control.  He makes the decisions. He calls the shots. We simply live in obedience and devotion to Him.

When we surrender, we are better able to integrate spirituality into every facet of life. When we are growing in intimacy with Him, which is the natural byproduct of surrender, we will be hungry for His Word, and we will build a Biblical world view on life.  We will become better disciples.

My constant prayer for Northstar is that we will be a church filled with surrendered believers. A church where Jesus is the main focus. When that day happens, Northstar will be even more alive and healthy; and when a church is alive and healthy, it will grow. We won’t need to hire consultants, assemble task forces or committees or follow complicated charts and graphs to see what we are supposed to do. Just surrender to Jesus and obey His word. That’s all we need.

If it is so simple, why has Christianity taken the complicated route? Probably because surrender is at the opposite end of the spectrum for our culture, where “self” is the focus and goal of life. Surrender. Are you kidding me?  I want to call the shots.  I want to be in control.  So we take matters in our own hands and end up making a mess of something that was intended to be so simple. Then we seek God to help us pick up the pieces.

What then, in summary, is a Christian? A Christian is a person who has been radically changed by the power of God. A Christian is a person who has been deeply convicted by the Holy Spirit of his own unworthiness before God and of his desperate need of God’s mercy. A Christian is a person who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came into the world to be the only Savior and Substitute of sinners. A Christian is a person who has genuinely repented of his sins and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

I would ask you a simple question. Can you honestly say that you are a Christian? Remember the essence of Christianity is not some of the things I talked about in this series.  We have seen from the Bible which is the only book to which we can turn for an answer to the question, “What is a Christian?”  If you have been clinging to these illusions about Christianity, the Bible has the answers to your question, “What is a Christian?” Turn from your own opinions and the opinions of others to the infallible Word of God “which is able to make you wise unto salvation which is by faith in Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 3:15).  If you want to talk to someone about salvation, I encourage you to call the church.

Let me finish the Christian series with this thought. It is a fantastic privilege to be a Christian,  but one that requires dedication and carries heavy responsibility. The rewards are enormous for all those who choose to serve God and become true followers of Christ—or Christians as defined in the Bible.