Since I've been gone though I've had a lot of different things I want to discuss on here on my mind! Today I'm going to start with Romans 8 which I decided to study this morning and just really hit me hard as I read it!
Now, I'm sure many of you probably read the title of this post and said...uhm yeah, duh. But today, I want to go beyond that question and ask HOW? How do you know that you are a Christian?...........Really! Take a moment and answer that for yourself. How do I know that I'm a Christian?
Snaps and claps for those who said, "well, I believe in my heart and confessed with my mouth that Christ is risen from the dead." Yay you! You've been taught salvation well! But guess what...salvation doesn't just magically make you a Christian! Christian by definition means follower of Christ and I'm sure you can think of a few people off the top of your head who are "saved" but don't follow Christ.
So, are you REALLY a Christian? That will require a deeper look into what it means to be a Christian. Now, I could write for YEARS on everything the bible says on what it means to follow Christ and spiritual discipleship but today, I want to just begin with Romans chapter 8 and a one simple things that the Lord requires of us if we are to identify ourselves as Christians.
Romans 8:1 says "This is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
There it is! The first key: Those who are in Christ Jesus (Christians), walk NOT after the FLESH, but after the SPIRIT. Just as we know a tree by it's fruit, people will know a Christian by his walk! Verse 5 says "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [mind] the things of the Spirit." To break this down into everyday terms - What does your heart long after? Why do you make decisions? What is leading you on a daily basis? Your flesh (mind, body, emotions, etc) or the Spirit of God who lives in you?
Now, I could make this a really long blog post but I won't. I just ask that you examine your heart! I don't know about you but it drives me crazy that so many people have hardened their heart to Christ because of what they've seen so-called Christians do! And it makes me sick to see so many "Christians" struggling when God has already provided all of our needs! He wants us to be prosperous so that we can reach more people and save our world! Verses 2-4 of Romans 8 talk about how Jesus DIED so that we could be free from the curse of the law and live the blessed lives he wants us to live but only if we FOLLOW HIM!
So, if you consider yourself a Christian I ask that you examine your heart, your motives, and your actions and decide whether you're really living up to that title. We all have work to do and need to make a DAILY effort to crucify our flesh and follow Christ but are you really making an effort?
And if you're not a Christian, I want to introduce you to my very best friend! I know that Christianity may not always get the best reputation because of the people who call themselves Christians, but the fact of the matter is CHRISTianity is about CHRIST, not people and people will always be crazy but Jesus will always be perfect. He is waiting on you with open arms. God wants to have a relationship with you and just like building a relationship with another person it requires spending time with him, talking to him (through prayer), and learning more about him through his word (the bible). He loves you more than you will ever know or can even imagine and in him there is fullness of joy!
If you want to receive him as your personal Lord and Savior just say these simple words out loud and believe them in your heart:
"Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus I come to you today to give you my life. I confess with my mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in my heart that God has raised him from the dead. I repent of sin by turning away from it and I receive you, Lord. Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer, for answering my prayer, and for saving me now!"CONGRATULATIONS! You are now saved!! I encourage you to, first, get a bible if you don't already have one! Commit to spending time reading your bible and praying every day. Additionally, find a church home where you will be taught the word and encouraged in your Christian walk. Lastly, find/ask God for a friend to walk with you, pray with you, and hold you accountable on this journey! God has such a bright future for you!! Get excited!! Welcome home!