5 realities I love about being a Christian

The Bible on paper and Kindle

Whether on paper or my Kindle, the Bible is one of the treasures of being a Christian

Do you ever think about the realities of the Christian life?  I know I rarely do.  However, today this exactly what I am doing.

In the midst of hustle and bustle of life; the celebrations and pains; the laughter and the tears, it is easy to blow past the beauty of simply being a follower of Christ.  I am a Christian, yet I rarely stop and enjoy the realities this entails.

This very word of “Christian” is loaded.  It sometimes seem tainted by all that happens around us; broken relationships, church scandals, direct attacks against the basics of the Christian faith from the world at large.  There are many, many problems with the institution of Christendom.  There ARE hypocrisies and injustices and sin carried out by those under the cloak of Christianity.  No doubt.

However, this is NOT CHRIST and this is NOT Christianity.

Today, I am simply thinking about Christ Jesus and the sweetness of the realities of being His follower; of being a Christian.

Here are 5 realities I love about being a follower of Christ, i.e. a Christian:

  1. The Bible – Do you ever think about the reality that God actually spoke AND is speaking to us through the Bible?  Do you ever really open the Bible with the internal understanding that this IS GOD’S Word?  This is unspeakably powerful and something for which I am unconditionally grateful.  It would not be more of a “word from God” if Christ came to you in bodily form and spoke to you audibly.  The Bible is actually just this. . . God speaking to us, His children, audibly and directly.  It is a beautiful, wonderful reality which I often forget.
  2. Jesus Christ – God did not have to, but He chose to visit us in bodily form.  Not only this, He chose to have His own body crushed on our behalf.  This is a wonderful, humbling reality which I blow past on a daily basis without enjoying its personal, liberating ramifications upon me.  I am a full-fledged heir of the kingdom of God, with the purity and eternality of Christ Himself.  He came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died as a sacrifice for us that we might live a clear, unadulterated life with our Creator and heavenly Friend.  Amazing.
  3. The Holy Spirit – God, in reality, lives within me.  He has actually come into my being, made me pure and spotless, and cares enough to protect and guide even the seemingly mundane and sometimes painful areas of our lives.  He was there when I struggled with a coughing attack last night at midnight.  He was there when I hit my first home-run in high school.  He was there when Mom came down with cancer.  God was even there when I simply awoke and put my feet on the cold tiles of my bedroom this morning.  God almighty, the creator of the universe, the same God who saved and changed me in college actually lives within me through the person of the Holy Spirit.  In an eternally real and palpable way, I am NEVER alone.  I never have been and I never will be.  God is ALWAYS present with me through the presence of His Holy Spirit.  Wonderful, wonderful reality.
  4. Prayer – Embedded in these realities of the Bible, Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, prayer is actually meaningful, efficacious, and a natural outworking of our relationship to God Himself.  God is within me.  God speaks to me through His written word, the Bible.  God knows the very number of hairs on our heads and the days of our lives.  Prayer is simply a way of both acknowledging these realities AND enjoying unencumbered fellowship with our Savior and Heavenly Father.  Isn’t this incredible?  It all works together in a wonderfully symbiotic relationship.  Prayer makes sense and has real influence and power, because the Bible is true, Christ is real, and the Holy Spirit is present.
  5. REAL community – Just as Christ has saved me and made me an “heir to His throne”, just as I am His child, just as I possess the Holy Spirit of God and have His written word, the Bible. . . so does every OTHER follower of Christ Jesus.  Whether they are in Asia or America; whether rich or poor, a PhD or completely illiterate, we are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.  We are ALL members of the same body, the body of Christ.  I am truly NOT an island as unto myself.  I am part of wonderful family which stretches, not only throughout all tongues, tribes, and nations, but also spans all of human history.  In a world full of superficial relationships based on things as silly as sports teams, common hobbies, and even social media, I love that I have ACTUAL brothers and sisters all over the world through the person and work of Christ Jesus.

In a world full of “noise” from every imaginable source, it is easy to lose ourselves.  In societies which are constantly pushing us away from the significant and towards the trivial, it is wonderful to simply take time to think about and meditate upon the transcend beauty of being a follower of Christ Jesus; of being a Christian.

Today is such a day for me. . . my heart is full of gratitude towards my Savior and Friend, Christ Jesus.

(If you are not a Christian and/or have genuine questions about any of this, please let me know.  I would love to “enter into” this with you.) 

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Comments

  1. Nina says

    I was once like u John and I spoke these same words that u spoke for most of my youth. We were both influenced by the same person growing up. Since then, I have seen some horrible things and know for a fact that God was not there. I asked, and felt nothing. I called the church and was hung up on as well. I have experienced pure evil. I want to know why certain people want to believe that they are so special and blessed and others are not. I did everything I was suppose to do in life and u are right, the word Christian is not a good word. I still pray but do not completely trust.

    • says

      Heavy reading your comment, as your sincerity is obvious. Yeah, I have also had some seasons of doubts and darkness. Not something to be taken lightly at all. Life is no doubt filled with rough, hard stuff. No doubt.

      Also, I am so sorry it seems you have been wronged by a (multiple?) church in the midst of pain, questions, and horrible things, including pure evil. There really is no excuse with this. The church OUGHT to be a place of refuge for the hurting and those seeking answers.

      I wish I could answer all of your questions here, but for some of your thoughts/questions here, I am convinced that they will only be answered in the next life.

      I WILL pray for you. I know this seems and sounds empty. However, it really is the best I can do. I will pray that you can cut through the crap of cultural Christianity and the garbage that can surround many areas and find Jesus. It sounds trite, but He really is our only hope.

      Thanks for expressing yourself here, Nina. I appreciate your heartfelt comments and thoughts.

      Praying right now here in Asia.

    • A Friend says

      Nina –

      Thank you for your sincere message. My prayer is that God will draw you close to Him as you continue to seek Him. Unfortunately, we all live in a sinful world that was not God’s plan. Therefore, a Holy God does not deserve to be identified with an unholy world. Your image of God should not be shaped by the painful, bitter experiences that you have obviously encountered. I can only suggest that you try not to let your view of God be contaminated with the sinful imperfections and inconsistencies of His fallen creation and creatures. God’s nature should be derived from what He says about Himself in the Holy Bible and not from a man’s (or a woman’s) experiences or their speculations about who and what He should be like.

      God loves you Nina. Give Him a fair chance to show you.

  2. Alexis says

    I am once again amazed at our God and the timing of what he speaks through you in this space. I have thoroughly enjoyed the past two of your blog posts. Last week especially, I was so moved by the responses of your friends. You run with a deeply committed and very wise crowd, John!

    Currently, our church and home group is studying the book of Revelation. Last night we met and throughout our discussion were discussed several of the realities of which you mentioned above. So imagine the surprise of coming home to the content of this latest post!

    There were two other ‘realities’ we discussed which might be worth mentioning… hope and suffering. Both are true realities for the Christian. One we like to talk about, one we don’t. Christian hope is not something we wish for or earn as a reward for our good behaviours or gain because of our own abilities. Hope is a reality for us because of a merciful and gracious Father! Our hope lies not in what might happen, but what will happen because of what Christ has done. Suffering is the less popular to discuss, even amongst Christians. It was for me too in the way I was taught in my church when I was younger. So I don’t mean to stir up debate. It’s just that since working here in Indonesia, I’ve been leaning that Scripture tells us again and again that we will suffer…but that through the suffering God is good and will be with us and “… that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Romans 5:3-4 I have witnessed Christians suffer to varying degrees and for a variety of reasons. And from what I have observed and experienced myself, I’m beginning to see ‘gift’ in the suffering…through the suffering we learn to trust and depend on the Father more than what we do when all is ‘smooth sailing’. Through the suffering we grow in ways that we wouldn’t otherwise. I’m not yet to the point of asking for – or even ‘rejoicing’ in- suffering, but I am on my way to appreciating why it’s such a theme throughout the scriptures.
    Although I’ve a long way to go in my journey, these two also seem to be hallmarks of faith as followers of Christ.

    Enjoy the end of your week/weekend, John! Grace & peace to you…

    • says

      As always, thanks for your tremendous input through these comments, Alexis!

      Hope and suffering. . . love this. I completely agree and often think about both. Suffering AND hope are so intermingled in the Asian church. Wonderful balance I have been taught while living here.

      Also, yes, the comments were great on that post. As a matter of fact, a group I am in is now studying “Emotional Healthy Spirituality” because it was suggested like 3 times.

      Thanks again, Alexis, and enjoy the remainder of the week!

  3. Jerry C. says

    Great message, John.

    Related to #3 (The Holy Spirit) is the fact that all genuine followers of Christ are a NEW creation on this earth. Some “Christians” mistakenly feel that they are simply the same person with the only difference being that they now have better morals and have a ticket into heaven after they die.

    Being a follower of Christ gives you the opportunity to know God on a personal level on this earth because you now have a NEW mind and heart. Because of this, you can start partaking in the benefits/blessings of God TODAY, including the fruit of the Spirit, and not have to wait until you die and get to heaven. Some call this living the “abundant life.”

    Galatians 2:20 is a great verse that communicates this reality.

  4. Tom says

    Thanks for the great summary.

    What magnifies these five wonderful realities is that not only that they ARE Christ and they ARE Christianity, but also that they are FOR Christians. The taintedness of the term “Christian” really is an accurate reflection of Christians, however disappointing and profoundly sad the image is. No one deserves the grace and love made available from Christ. Yet Christ has freely offered it to all of us, no matter how undeserving any of us is. You’ve said it well – our sight today should be on Christ Himself.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. . .