Monday, March 11, 2013

The heart and soul of being a follower of Christ?

I've been thinking lately, what is the heart and soul of being a follower of Christ? I mean what really does it mean to be a Christ follower? If you asked this question to a roomful of Christians you would most likely get several different responses. How would you answer this question? Go ahead, right now, write out your definition of what it means to be a Christian; get your pencil and paper and write it out in a a single sentence or two or three.

Is there any one definition that is wrong? Are there some definitions that really seem to capture the heart and soul of the word Christian better than others?

The Oxford dictionary gives us this definition of Christian:  1. of, relating to, or professing Christianity or its teachings: says: 1.of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: a Christian faith.

Merriam-Webster notes: 1.a : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ
I don't know about you but these formal-academic definitions don't get to the heart and soul of what it means to be a Christ follower. Now I'm sure no one would disagree with the above definitions, but they just lack the power and essence of what a follower of Christ is really all about.

There is nothing more that I detest than cold-dead religious orthodoxy. I can still envision those religious figures in the movies about Christ who looked down their noses on others, those religious figures in the days of Christ that received the Master's harshest rebukes and denunciations.

When I think of a follower of Christ, I think the opposite of cold-dead orthodoxy, I think of fire and life. I think of abiding and living in the life of the Holy Spirit---not one who keeps a set of religious rules, not one who follows all of the liturgies of a church, or walks around with nose in the air and Bible under arm.

You know the main thesis of the New Testament is that the follower of Christ is being made into the "likeness and image of Christ." It should follow then that those who call themselves Christians would then look like their Master. As one reads the pages of the gospels, we get a clear picture of whom Christ was and who Christ is today as He reigns with His Father.

                                               So here is my definition of a Christian.

Christian: One who has been made alive by a supernatural act of God. One who has the Holy Spirit of God living in them enabling them and equipping them to love and serve the Father. The Christ follower loves God with all their heart, mind, body, soul and strength.

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