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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Are you (really) a Christian?

Are you (really) a Christian?

Have you noticed how whatever someone likes finds a way to mark that person?
Many of you know that I like the greatest football team in history, the San Francisco 49ers and ultimate rocker Bruce Springsteen. I mean, my blog is named after one of his albums for crying out loud! During football season you can see my running around in Scarlet & Gold rooting on my Niners and when Bruce is on tour, you can bet that I am at all the concerts within reason (<-- reason is relative here btw).

We see this type of thing all the time, anything a person really likes they sort of surround their life around and find ways to include their hero or favorite whatever into the fabric of their lives. Faith is similar. Did you know that there are certain marks that distinguish a follower of Jesus? I am sure that you mind is racing ahead to fill in those marks …

-go to church
-say your prayers
-be nice to the poor
-do not judge (ever)
-suits, ties, offerings …

I’ve got good news and bad news. Which one do you want first?
OK, the good. Congratulations! You named some important marks of Christendom. All the above have to do with how a believer acts, or should act. The bad news is that demonstrating those marks is only 1 of the 3 vital marks of being an authentic Christian. In the book, “A Call to Resurgence” Mark Driscoll shares 3 marks of the bona fide Christian.

Mark #1 is a profession of faith. This means to confess Jesus as Lord of your life. The first mark of Christianity is as follows, “Christianity is not behavior modification, it is heart transformation.” So the first mark is absolutely imperative. In fact, without the first mark, a person is not a Christian at all. Truth be told, Jesus spoke often about people that would do all kinds of “outward godly” things, yet be far from God (see Matthew 7:20-23).
Mark #1 = Transformed Heart. 

The next mark is to practice that profession. Mark #2 = Live out what you profess. Now you can start adding the answers you gave above into the equation. The fruit of repentance is a change life. Your outward actions will start to reflect that inner change. I like to say that your hands and feet will follow your heart. And this does not just apply to Christianity, this applies to any area of your life … A person always find a way to express what they truly behold in their heart of hearts.

Finally, mark #3 is to posses the faith. This is a continual renewal of that profession and practice. Hear this clearly, I am not referring to losing and regaining your faith. I am simply saying that in your faith walk, you will experience different seasons. Some good. Some bad. At times you will feel like totally giving up. Other times you will be on fire to the point where other people need SPF just to be in your presence.

I'll end the same way I started:
Are you (really) a Christian?

The purpose of this post is not for condemnation. The last thing that I want to do is finger point.
Instead, this is more from a standpoint of self-reflection. I do not want anyone to confuse “doing things” with Christianity because that is simply not the case. Re-read this post; then find some time to soul search.
And as always, if you want to go deeper, you can always write me.

-If this inspired you, please share it with others!

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