What Is the True Christian?
In this mundane world, and in the vast sea of humanity, it’s because of the Lord’s selection and blessings that we can be so lucky to become Christians. And to be a Christian makes us feel glorious and proud. This word “Christian,” just as it suggests, refers to all believers who believe in and accept and follow Christ after God came to the earth and carried out His work. It is easy to understand its surface meaning. But what do we need to do to truly be called a qualified Christian and be approved by the Lord? This is the issue that many of us are concerned with, I believe.
The Lord Jesus once said, “And he said to them, Truly I say to you, There is no man that has left house, or parents, or brothers, or wife, or children, for the’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting” (Luke 18:29-30). After reading the words of the Lord, many people concluded a criterion for pursuing to be a qualified Christian, thinking anyone who could accept the Lord’s commission and preach the gospel more and bear more fruit, or serve the Lord for a lifetime to preach and toil as well as shepherd the church was exactly a devout Christian, and that they would definitely be approved by the Lord. Does such understanding accord with the will of the Lord? The Lord said, “He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37-38). When contemplating the words of the Lord, I saw the Lord’s will for letting us forsake everything to follow Him. He not only requires us to possess good behaviors outwardly, but more importantly, He hopes our heart can turn to Him and we can have true faith in Him. Only when we forsake and give up everything that belongs to the flesh and the world, obey the words of the Lord and pursue the truth and love the Lord, can we be approved by the Lord. Only such people can be called the disciples of the Lord. Clearly, as to the matter of following the Lord’s way and pursuing to be approved by the Lord, if we cannot have a comprehensive and unadulterated understanding and feel the true meaning of the Lord’s words, we will misunderstand God’s will. Meanwhile, we will rely on our wishful thinking and our own views to believe in God, and at this time, we will even think that we have walked the way of following God’s will, and that we should be approved and blessed by God. Thus it is easy for us to demand rewards from God.
The Lord warned us, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7: 22-23). From these words, we can see that many who believed in the Lord could expend and labor for the Lord outwardly, and they had even done many good deeds; then why did the Lord brand them as evildoers? The reason was that there were selfish intentions and purposes behind their outward expending and laboring, which is to say, the reason they expended and labored outwardly was not for truly obeying and loving the Lord, but to make a deal with God and exchange for the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. Just like those Jewish Pharisees of the past, from generation to generation, they believed in and served God, and they preached and sacrificed for God. Outwardly, they were devout, and they also did many good deeds, which were also praised and adored by others. However, in their hearts, they didn’t love the truth but fame and status, and they liked to put themselves above others and be adored by others. There were selfish intentions and purposes in their work for God, and they were just engaged in their own affairs! When the Lord Jesus came to carry out the new work, many people followed Him. However, seeing this scene, the Pharisees were filled with hatred for those who followed the Lord, for fear that they would lose their fame and status in people’s hearts as well as their livelihoods; they tried every way to fabricate rumors and defame the Lord Jesus. They didn’t pursue the truth and to understand the will of the Lord in the words and work of the Lord, but condemned, resisted and blasphemed the Lord according to their own notions and imaginations, and in the very end, they were detested, rejected, and cursed by the Lord. For people like them, no matter how many good deeds they did outwardly, none of them counted in the eyes of God, and God has never acknowledged them as ones who truly follow Him.
The Lord said, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8: 31-32). Only when we seek and accept as well as practice the Lord’s words can all kinds of wrong purposes and impurities in us gradually be changed and replaced. Only in this way, can we get rid of our views belonging to the world and philosophy of life as well as satanic rules, and can God’s words become principles of our conduct and guidance in our life, so that we will gradually break away from the bondage of sins and get new life from God. When we have some true knowledge of God, we can have trueand can obey and fear God. At this point, when we work, preach, as well as expend for the Lord, we will be approved by the Lord.
Peter, a disciple of the Lord Jesus, is precisely the example that we should follow. Peter could abandon everything to follow the Lord. From the beginning, he worked and toiled as well as expended for the Lord with enthusiasm, then gradually he focused on listening to the teachings of the Lord and practiced the words of the Lord. Though Peter did some ignorant things and was sometimes weak, like when he denied the Lord three times, after this, he could truly reflect on himself and have real regrets. He embraced the lesson of failure and constantly achieved progress and changes in his life disposition. During Peter’s experiences, he gradually gained true knowledge of the Lord, and at the same time, he also had true understanding of things belonging to the flesh and sins in him and hated them. From the beginning, Peter did good deeds outwardly. Gradually he was changed and began to have true faith in and love for the Lord, and lived out the reality of obeying God. In the end, he could be martyred in order to repay God’s love and bore resounding witness for God, gaining the promise and blessings of God. Peter was set as an example for the descendants. From the experiences of Peter, we can see that God loves and blesses those who pursue the truth and life. If we can pursue the truth and seek to know God as well as bear beautiful witness for God like Peter, we will definitely obtain the promise and blessings of God and become the one who is after God’s heart, a genuine Christian.
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