“Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” – 2 Corinthians 5:14–15.
There is not a universal definition of being a Christian. To some, it means you were born in a “Christian” nation or you come from a “Christian” family. To others, it means you believe in Jesus or the religion that is based on Jesus’ teachings. Yet others use the word “Christian” to speak of a deeply personal relationship between Jesus Christ and an individual. C.S. Lewis describes a Christian this way: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
The word Christian is only used 3 times in the New Testament. Acts 11:26. Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16: “But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!” They were called “Christians” because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ Jesus. But what does being a Christian mean in the 21st Century?
Christians are people who acknowledge and live under the word of God. They submit without reserve to the word of God written in “the Book of Truth” (Daniel 10:21), believing the teaching, trusting the promises, following the commands.
Being a Christian still means living a Christ-centered life. A lot of people view a Christ-centered life as going to church, giving, praying, reading the Bible, and talking to other people about Jesus. You can do all those things and it is still possible to live a life that is controlled by self rather than Christ. The answer is not to give up on these good activities but to shift our focus to Christ and what He desires. Our battle with self is one that will continue as long as we live in these earthly bodies. That’s why Paul tells us to “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life” and to “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:22;24)
A Christ-centered life is fueled by love for the Savior, which flows from increasing knowledge of Him. And we learn to know Jesus more intimately through reading, praying, and quietly abiding in His presence. As Christ increases in our mind and heart, we’ll discover that our self-focus decreases and He becomes the focus and joy of our lives.
In 2020, it is easy to become distracted. And those distractions can compete for your attention. During those times we need to remain focused and connected to God and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit.
- What is your answer to “what is a christian?”
- What is one practical step you can take this week to live a more Christ-centered life?