“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 ESV
This past week I have asked different individuals to define what it means to be a Christian. I have read from blogs and discussion forums on different internet sites. This has proven interesting to me, with the many different views and explanations I have received. I have heard some say, “It is to be a follower of Christ”; others described a lifestyle that should be lived, and some expressed rather different definitions. This is a definition I would like for you to consider in the defining process: “living a life dedicated to finding ways to love God”. Every person who is a Christian, is so, because God has shown and has given love to us through His Son Jesus. Being a Christian isn’t just about living by certain standards of do’s and don’ts. It’s about living a life of loving God on purpose. Think about it this way. I follow God because I love Him. I live, choosing a certain way of doing or not doing something, as an expression to God of my love for Him. In one word….LOVE…Christianity can best be defined. Love should be the address of every Christian. We should live in a subdivision called Love with street names like Faith, Hope, Joy, Praise, Kindness, Generosity, Forgiveness, and on the list of streets names could go. It is a place where Christians live, not a place they visit. The foundation for all the houses in this subdivision has been laid by and is Jesus. Jesus never gave the name “Christian” to those who followed him; this happened for the first time at Antioch. (Acts 11:26) In fact, only two other times in the bible was the name “Christian” used: Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16. Jesus never said you should call yourselves Christians, but He did give us the material with which to build. This later caused others to attach the name “Christian” to the believers of Jesus.
LOVE ME: If you love me you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 ESV ….. Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23 ESV
This is living on purpose and for the purpose of loving God. Psalm 119:11 ESV I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. You do not memorize and live the Word to impress people but to love God. Being a Christian isn’t about having a ticket to Heaven, but believing and accepting the good news of the gospel that Jesus has saved/rescued you from death, and you live, loving and expressing gratitude every earthly day you have left.
LOVE IS THE GREATEST: 1 Corinthians 13 is often described as the love chapter and teaches what love is and is not. The last verse after all the teaching and description of love says this, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three: but the greatest of these is love.” verse 13 ESV Once again I remind you, love is where we live/abide. The love for God will be what matters when you enter into your eternal home, not the stuff described by some as being a Christian. Remember the words of Jesus, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 7:21 ESV So what is the will of the Father? For this is the will of my Father, that everyone WHO LOOKS ON THE SON AND BELIEVES IN HIM should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:40 ESV As I have often said, “What you believe will determine how you live.” If you believe John 3:16 and believe in Jesus as the Son of God who took away your sin, you will live loving Him on purpose.
LOVE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT: It was asked of Jesus what is the most important commandment, and Jesus gave this answer, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 ESV When you are living/loving God on purpose, it will be more evident that you are a Christian by how you live than by what you say; just as the cliche says, “Actions speak louder than words.”
My challenge to you this day is to live/love as instructed by Jesus in Mark 12:30. Do this, and others will know that you are a Christian.
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David