What it Means to be a Christian
When our small children were running around our home every day, my husband and I constantly played Christian music.
I think it was one of the best decisions we ever made, because even now when decades have passed, I sometimes hear them singing a line or two of those long-ago songs.
Music has a way of embedding itself deep inside of us, and I’m so grateful we had the opportunity to plant seeds of God’s Word in our children’s hearts simply by playing those cassette tapes we used to get in the mail once a month.
One of the songs they sang spelled out the word Christian. They would sing along, “I am a C…I am a C-H.…” and so on.
That song popped into my head this morning. It brought with it a thought that I can’t quite let go of.
Being a Christian means being like Christ. After all, that’s what the word itself means.
Sounds easy, right?
Obviously, when we are born again, we shed our old selves and step into everything Jesus has provided.
“Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.”2 Corinthians 5:17
But do we really ever stop and consider what it means to be like Jesus Christ?
I’m not sure I ever have.
I love reading about the goodness of God.
I love reading the Biblical accounts of the unfailing love and kindness Jesus shared with everyone.
I want to be good, loving, and kind. And, since I know I can’t possibly fully be any of those things without Him, I am so grateful I, long ago, gave my heart to Him.
But Jesus, even though He absolutely was 100% love, didn’t always have an easy life.
I read about how people rejected Him, how they lied about Him, how they plotted against Him, how they ultimately did what they had to do to make sure He died.
None of that sounds like what I want.
It breaks my heart when people reject me.
I can barely stand it if I find out someone has lied about me.
If I caught even a whiff of someone plotting against me, I think it would tear me to shreds.
And hating me so much that others would actually rejoice in my death? I can’t even fathom that.
All of that happened to Jesus, and He still was completely good, loving, and kind. From the cross, a place that I don’t think I always fully understand the horror of, He forgave.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”Luke 23:34
I see no evidence of Jesus ever wallowing in self-pity. I see no evidence of Him putting Himself above others. I see no evidence of Him ever being less on one day than another.
Now, I know I will never be perfect like He is. I have no hope of that.
But I still can’t help but think about what I’m singing as my voice cries out joyfully that I am a C…I am a C-H…I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.
When I think about all Jesus went through during His 33 years on Earth, all He continues to go through today as scores of people over thousands of years have rejected and scorned Him, I understand a little bit more why my life doesn’t always go as I would like it to.
You see, I am a C…I am a C-H…I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.
And that means I will have times in my life when people don’t accept me, when circumstances are not what I want them to be, when I struggle to understand.
I’m so glad I have an example.
I’m so glad I don’t have to question why.
I’m so glad I have been told in advance that troubles will come.
I’m so glad I know Jesus and have been shown how to act so I don’t have to settle for my human reactions.
Jesus is the reason I can sing that song. He is my reason for the hope that I carry in my heart.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33