Were you in church last Sunday? Perhaps so. But, important as it is, church attendance does not necessarily make one a Christian. Entirely too many church members act like Christians on Sunday and then go out to live for the devil the remainder of the week.
If Christianity is really worthwhile it must be something which transforms our lives seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day.
A grim prospect? Far from it. It can and should be a glorious experience which completely changes our perspective and our daily way of living.
At the moment what America needs is not more church members but more Christians. Church membership has been made entirely too easy and its meaning so superficial that it assumes the aspects of a respectible club with prepaid privileges in the Over-The-River-Burying-Society.
Confusion exists inside and outside the church because so many are mislabeled and further confusion comes because so few Christians really know what it is to yield to the Lordship of Jesus in daily living.
Within the church much time is spent trying to make non-Christians act like Christians, and outside the average worldling wonders what difference it makes anyway—if Christians live, act and talk like those who make no profession of knowing Christ.
However, this is being written to and for Christians, people who truly believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and their Savior from sin.
What a tragedy that so often we find ourselves completely defeated in the pressures of everyday life. In our hearts we know that we believe in Christ, but deep down inside we find little comfort because Christ means little in the place where we find ourselves six days a week. To this dilemma we speak, and toward its solution this is being written.
A long time ago Jesus said to his disciples: “For without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Within the compass of these seven words is found the cause of our trouble and also its cure.
The immediate and natural reaction is that this just isn’t so. We all know hundreds of men and women—doctors, lawyers, people in business, technicians, engineers, farmers—all of whom are successful and who make no pretense of being Christians or of taking Christ into their daily lives.
But wait a minute; what is success? Is it money, or popularity, or power, or expertness in some chosen field of endeavor? By the standards of the world these things constitute success but are the world’s standards valid? Will they last for eternity?
There is nothing more important than that we all should get a right perspective on life. That perspective is given by God, not by man. Man looks at the outside of man, while God looks at his heart; man thinks in terms of time, God thinks in terms of eternity. Speaking of material success our Lord says: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
Paul tells us that Christ has been laid as the one and eternal foundation, but that Christians may find themselves building on that foundation a very flimsy structure, one which will not withstand the coming fire-like testing (1 Cor. 3:11–15). This is an additional indication of our Lord’s meaning, that without Him we can do nothing which will last for eternity.
This being the case, how practical is our Christianity? Are we taking it into our every day lives? Into our homes? Our business? Our profession? If not there is something radically wrong. In this let us not try to fool ourselves. Rather let us sit down and take stock. Ask God to probe into our lives. Stock-taking may be embarrassing but it can also be very profitable.
Let us never forget that after becoming Christians we should live like Christians. Strange to say, if one asks the average church member whether he is a Christian he will receive some inane reply: “I hope so,” “I try to be” and so-forth. Ask a man whether he is married and he knows whether he is or not. A Christian should have similar assurance of his relationship with Christ.
J. B. Phillips, paraphrasing Paul’s statement, says that being a Christian is a matter of “believing, not achieving.” To many, Christianity is a matter of trying to do something to merit the title. But it just isn’t. We are Christians or not, depending on whether we trust in Christ as the Son of God and our Savior. This does not make us mature saints but it starts us in the right direction.
Having taken this step, what difference does Christ make in our daily lives? Well, there should be a complete change for we no longer have to walk blindly, we have Someone to go with us every moment of the day and night.
With Christ in our hearts we get an entirely new perspective; we begin to look at this world in the light of eternity; we commence to ask his guidance and help in decisions small and big; we find that we are no longer alone with our problems; we discover our interests and incentives change and we realize that we can talk with him any time and any place—and, he talks with us.
Obviously this has a very practical bearing on every phase of our lives, our home, our business, our social relationships, our recreation.
A Christian home, founded on faith in Christ, strengthened by daily prayer and study of the Bible and cemented by love is a little foretaste of Heaven. A home without Christ and all that he gives can be a sample of hell itself.
When we take Christ into our business something immediately happens—honesty, truthfulness and fairness take precedence over profits and become the basis on which profits are expected. Does this come as a shock? Just give him a try and one finds that he gives not only a clear conscience but also a sense of divine leading and blessing which cannot be measured in dollars and cents.
All of us have social contacts. They are inevitable and are desirable. When Christ controls our lives it makes such a difference that non-Christians will immediately sense it. Christians should be the happiest people in the world for they know where they stand now and where they will be for eternity. Love, consideration for others, courtesy, tact, patience—these and many other things should characterize the Christian as he comes in contact with others.
To make Christ the Lord of our lives means that we take him into our recreations and pleasures. He knows of these needs and wants us to enjoy life. The big difference for the Christian is that he really can have a good time. In all of this he will go only to those places and do those things in which he has a sense of the Lord’s presence and blessing.
If Christ is our Savior then he must be the Lord of our lives. It is high time we clarify our thinking along this line. He will not be our Savior on Sunday while we serve Satan the rest of the week.
Give him the green light in our hearts and lives.
He will do the rest.
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