What does it mean to be a Christian? Many people, believers and pre-believers alike, will answer, “Christians are those who believe in Jesus and attend church.”
What specifically about Jesus are Christians supposed to believe, and what must they do? The common answer to the first part of the question is we should believe that Christ had died to save us from our sin.
In the answer to the second part of the question, one would receive a great variety of answers, but I have never heard any Christian say that we have to deny self (self-centred life) and carry the cross (death to the prideful, selfish life).
When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also,
He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow Me. Mark 8:34 (NKJV)
If a believer refuses to allow the Lord to deal with his carnal self, it is impossible to follow Him in His altruistic character and ministry to the lost. He beckons every believer to, “Follow Me and I’ll make you fishers of men.”
True faith is not passive belief. Faith without works or corresponding action is dead. Active faith is applying God’s Word for both character transformation and ministry effectiveness.
That’s the only way we truly follow Christ and become more and more like Him, or conforming to His image by being more like Him and doing what He had done in His earthly life.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. John 14:12
While on earth, our Lord constantly took authority and action to demonstrate the power and reality of God. The early disciples were so successful because they followed His example and so must we if we want to see our generation saved and impacted.
So Lighters, arise! Let our light shine in practical ways and let us rejoice in His Majesty’s Service! Let our lifestyles prove that Christ is real and true.
As we follow our Lord and Saviour faithfully, in the narrow way, we will be accorded with much more priceless benefits than the sacrifices required. I will just cite 7 of them below.
No wonder, Jim Elliot, a martyr, had these words written in his Bible: He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.