I am a C
I am a C-H
I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N
And I will L-O-V-E, love Him
Till the day I D-I-E
Cause I have J-E-S-U-S
In my H-E-A-R-T
Repeat 10,000 xs
Am I really?
So many people when asked if they are a follower of Christ answer, “Yes, I am a Christian.”
However merely saying “I am a Christian” doesn’t actually make anyone a Christian.
I could identify myself as a professional athlete. My pastor seems to really like a specific team, so I’ll go ahead and claim that I’m a Dallas Cowboy. I could purchase a Dallas Cowboy jersey. I could even buy a Dallas Cowboy jersey and have my name printed on the back, but if I showed up for practice, wherever the Cowboys actually practice, I’m pretty sure that someone would escort me out the door. Quickly.
They would probably ask me, “Who are you?” I would quickly reply, “Don’t you remember me? I’m Carrie Prouse. I am a Dallas Cowboy.” To which they would say, “Who? Carrie Prouse?? Never heard of you.” And that would be that. My claimed career as a Dallas Cowboy would end before it truly ever began.
It sounds so silly. Delusional, really. Sadly, though, that’s how many of us are with our faith.
We own a Bible. It may even have our name engraved in gold or silver foil on the cover, but that doesn’t make us a Christian anymore than having our name printed on the back of a Dallas Cowboy jersey makes us a professional football player.
To be a professional athlete in any sport, it takes time. It takes hours and hours of practice — blood, sweat, tears, and years of practice. Professional athletes have to spend countless hours training, working out in the gym, and I’m guessing most of them have a very strict diet. Repeatedly in practices, they have to take hit after hit — no pain, no gain. I cannot fathom the physical endurance you have to have to make it to the big leagues. There is no telling what goes into being a professional athlete that my feeble, little, non-athletic mind knows nothing about!
To truly be a Christian…let’s scratch that title first. To truly be a Christ-follower, we have to do just that. We have to follow Christ. How can we follow Him if we know absolutely nothing about Him other than being able to say we believe He is the Son of God?
To follow Him we have to put in a lot of time. I don’t mean spend a lot of time at church. Being inside a church building doesn’t make us a follower of Christ. What I’m talking about is hours upon hours of reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God.
“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16
According to this verse, it takes a special diet to know Christ intimately. It also takes time and effort on our part — time in prayer, communicating with our Heavenly Father. Being a Christ-follower takes blood, sweat, and tears. It takes years upon years to grow in your relationship with Christ, becoming a more spiritually mature disciple or student, as you grow in your knowledge of Him and His Word.
It isn’t always easy follow Christ. Sometimes you feel like you’re wearing a target, constantly feeling defeated, isolated, misunderstood, ridiculed, and judged harshly by others because of the claim you make to follow Jesus. Those hits sometimes hurt more than being physically knocked down.
My hope is, one day, when my time here on earth is done, when I meet my Father face-to-face, He will lovingly put His arm around my shoulder and say to me “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21, 23)
Sadly, there are so many people who wear the title “Christian,” but they poorly represent Christ and give other actual Christ-followers a bad name.
My fear is that many who claim to be a Christian will meet Him face-to-face, and He will say, “Who are you? _______ ______?” “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23) Many who claim to be a Christian haven’t put in the time and effort: the blood sweat, and tears it takes to really know Him intimately. They never open their beautifully engraved Bible, but instead leave it sitting on a shelf.
If you feel like this is you, you claim to be a Christian, but you’re realizing you have a lot of work to do in your life to actually follow Christ, I encourage you to find a healthy church to be a part of. If you need help with this, I would be honored to help in any way I can. The best place to start is in prayer. I believe if someone humbles himself/herself before God and asks Him with a pure heart and pure intentions, He will lead and guide you in the right direction. It will take time, because nothing with God is instantaneous, but over time God will guide you to exactly where you were meant to be.