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Question: When I pray the sinners prayer, I'm done right? Why do people talk about Christianity as a lifestyle?
Answer: Being a Christian is not a prayer. It is a lifestyle. It is living in the Kingdom of God. We give our lives fully over to God and live His Way. If you plan to pray a prayer and go on living your own way, you are not a Christian. But, if you are willing to lay your life down and follow Jesus, the greatest adventure you can imagine will begin.
Being a Christian is a beautiful journey filled with faith, hope, and love. However, it would be disingenuous to overlook that there is a price to pay for embracing this way of life. As someone who has walked the path of a Christian for over 30 years, I want to share my reflections on the price of being a Christian. While the cost may vary for each individual, certain aspects remain consistent. Before diving in, let's talk about why this is important.
Why Do We Pay A Price and Why Is It A Surprise?
When we give our lives to Jesus, we allow God to take over the authority of our lives. We no longer live for ourselves. We live to serve Him. We don't live according to what we want or desire. We now live in the Kingdom of God. This also means we will eventually come to a crossroads. At some point in our journey, God's Word will tell us to go in one direction, but our desires will tell us to go in another. At that moment, we will begin to understand what it means to be in the Kingdom of God. We will have to choose who sits on the throne of our lives, and we will have to determine if we are indeed Christian. A faithful Christ follower lives for Christ.
We need to talk about this because we live in a culture that no longer teaches the idea of denying ourselves, taking up our Cross, and following Jesus. We teach that Christ came to take away our pain and anxieties, make us happy, and lead us toward a successful life. This sounds great, but it is not the point of salvation. We don't serve Jesus because of what He can do for us. We serve Jesus because of what He has already done for us. His excellent work on the Cross has paid the debt of sin we owe. We allow Him to pay the price for our sins when we follow Christ. Our part in the deal is we now serve Him and walk after His ways. This is an excellent deal because He knows where He is going. God completely loves us and wants to grow us in freedom every day. However, He cannot do this if we constantly try to walk our way. We must realize that being a Christian is laying down our rights and picking up His ways. We are not ready to be Christian if we are unwilling to do this.
So, now that we have set the foundation let's explore the challenges and rewards of living a life dedicated to Christ.
What does it Look Like to Live Like A Christian in our Modern World?
1. Countercultural Living.
One of the fundamental aspects of Christianity is its call to live counter to the prevailing culture. It means standing up for moral values and principles in God's Word that often clash with societal norms. This can be challenging as it requires us to make difficult choices, withstand criticism, and sometimes feel like outsiders. However, the reward lies in the integrity and authenticity of living according to one's convictions, even in the face of opposition.
- Pro-life advocate because every life is precious in the eyes of God.
- Having a God-defined view of marriage. (The heterosexual union of a man and a woman.)
- A Biblical view of sexuality. (Holy Sexuality = same as above.)
2. Sacrifice and Selflessness.
Christianity teaches us the importance of sacrifice and selflessness. Jesus himself demonstrated this through his ultimate sacrifice on the Cross. Christians are called to lay down our desires and preferences, serving others with love and compassion. It can be demanding to prioritize the needs of others above our own consistently, but the joy that comes from making a positive impact on someone's life is immeasurable.
- We sometimes deny our desires because of the weakness of others.
- We serve others without expecting anything in return.
- We make a difference in our lives and are not always looking for angles.
3. Perseverance in Faith.
Living a Christian life often entails facing trials, doubts, and spiritual battles. Faith is not a shield from hardships but rather the anchor that keeps us steadfast. It can be disheartening when prayers seemingly go unanswered or our faith is tested. However, the reward lies in the growth and strength of enduring these trials. Our faith can shine brightest in the darkest moments, and God's faithfulness becomes evident.
- We learn what we believe so we can defend our beliefs to others.
- We learn what we believe so we can share our hope with others.
- We keep praying for others even when we do not see fruit immediately.
4. The Cost of Love.
Christianity strongly emphasizes love, instructing believers to love their neighbors as themselves. While this may sound simple, it can be challenging to love unconditionally, especially when faced with difficult people or situations. Loving others might require forgiveness, humility, and genuine empathy. It can be emotionally draining, yet the reward lies in experiencing the transformative power of love and witnessing lives being touched and changed.
- We realize forgiveness is a decision, not an emotion.
- We choose not to be victims but allow God to determine our future.
- We hope for the best in people.
5. The Eternal Perspective.
As Christians, we believe in eternal life beyond this earthly existence. While this offers hope and assurance, it also challenges us to live with an eternal perspective. This means recognizing that our choices and actions have far-reaching consequences, both in this life and the next. Living with such weighty responsibility can be daunting, but the reward lies in the assurance that our lives have purpose and that we are part of something much more significant than ourselves.
- We live beyond momentary discomfort and look toward eternity.
- We remember to share our hope of eternity with others.
6. Daily Spiritual Disciplines.
Why would you want to serve a King you don't know? I wouldn't. So, we spend time every day getting to know God more. Some of the ways we do this is by reading God's Word, praying, and with our fellow Christians. As we grow in His goodness, we also grow in freedom from everything that breaks us and isolates us from one another.
- Reading through God's Word consistently.
- Doing life together in Christian community.
- Memorizing Scripture.
- Silence and Solitude.
The price of being a Christian is indeed a real and personal journey. It requires countercultural living, sacrifice, perseverance, and unconditional love. It may not always be easy, but the rewards of living out one's faith in Christ are immeasurable. As we navigate the challenges and joys, let us remember that the ultimate reward awaits us in eternity—a life in the presence of our loving Creator. So, let us embrace the price, for it is through this journey that we find true fulfillment and purpose in our Christian walk.