Are you ready to profess your faith? Then understand that it means that your life is no longer yours. You have a Lord, and you are supposed to submit to Him. The good thing is that this Lord is not like any Earthly king. He is immortal, infallible, & just, the definition of hope, grace, and love. But still, you have to make the choice to submit to His will, daily, which is not easy.
Secondly, you have to go on this endless journey to become more Christlike. Why would anyone knowingly choose such a long, arduous, humiliating, trying path? In Chapter four of my memoir/self-help book, I shared about my conversion event which occurred during my sophomore year in college. The truth is that when I first surrendered my will to that of childlike faith, I had little idea of the whole new world I was entering. In my unbelieving mindset, I figured that Christian faith was about doing the good and right things, but with the additional support of a best friend (in Jesus) by my side. It turned out that I was only partly right. The rest, about the painful, humbling sanctification process, dawned on me later as it dawned on me later. There’s no way of knowing what it means to be a Christ follower ahead of time, to fully grasp the wisdom and majesty of the Trinity God. That’s because believers are lead each step of the way but only one step at a time.
Thirdly, it means that you will be both fully equipped and always needy. When you are indwelled with the Holy Spirit, which is your power cord to God the Father and God the Son, you have all the vision, strength, and direction you need. The only problem is that the Holy Spirit is always about God’s glory, not about ours. So, we become equipped as we ask in earnest prayer, as we study God through the Scriptures, as we fellowship with the rest of the body of Christ, often under the pastoral care of human shepherds.
The Holy Spirit only shines in us and through us for moments at a time, always to reflect God’s majesty, as we faithfully care for God’s people and make disciples of Christ. It’s not about our knowledge, character, or might, but about Him. We are useful only to the extent that we decrease, and God increases in us. We are a weakened vessel, a broken jar of clay, an unfinished masterpiece, a child of God who is freed from fears to the extent that we completely depend on Abba Father to shine his light on us.
Finally, being a Christian means that we have to live in this world, but we are not of this world. We are spiritual creatures made in God’s image. The Earthly mothers and fathers He gave us may not be as wonderful and inspirational as we imagined parents are supposed to be. Our growing up experiences may be too painful or traumatic to believe in a good, loving God. We might even find relationships in adult society to be less than satisfying, riddled with conflicts and frustrations. Our only solace is the fact that we were not made to pursue successful lives in this world. The Bible tells us that despite being set apart for God for a wonderful dwelling place later, we will have troubles in this life. That’s because we have the consequences of the fall, would continue to be stricken by our flesh, deceived and tempted by the ruler of this world, aka the Accuser, until Christ returns.
No, the life of a professed Christian is not for the faint of heart. Because to be Christlike, we must also be ready for the persecution that befell Him. Jesus—the most significant whistle-blower, truth teller, Pharisee confronter, woman honorer, forgiver of our sins, child nurturer, compassionate social worker, wonderful counselor, and inspirational leader, was himself scorned, rejected, and killed. To follow in His footsteps means that we can expect to be ridiculed, mocked, laughed at, excluded, and minimized for our beliefs. In other parts of the world, where freedom of religion is not a reality, Christians face grave dangers like imprisonment and execution for practicing their faith. I’m thankful that we have not come to that in America, and yet our world views can still be shaken to the core, challenged from outside and within the body of Christ. Hope in this omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator will seem incredible. Families will be divided. Innocent children will be sexualized and sacrificed. All that is left will be an intimate relationship with our Creator, sweetened by the communal prayers of some fellow sojourners.
Are you still sure that He is the Christ?