How can we be more Christian in 2019
An article from ‘Church IS family’ Sunday Series
How can we be more Christian in 2019?
1 Corinthians 2:1-2 “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (NAS)
Sometimes we hear politicians or national figures refer to the UK as a Christian country. Are we a Christian Nation? Have we ever been? The Cambridge Dictionary definition of Christian states: “of or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ”, or “used to describe a person or action that is good, kind, helpful, etc.” I believe that neither of these definitions reflect the heart and power of the world-changing adjective or noun that is ‘Christian’.
Christian is an important term when we are considering how to live Christian lives, or how to operate businesses, schools and organisations on Christian principles or with a Christian ethos. It is much more than just ‘following the teachings of’, or ‘good kind, helpful, moral’ – the foundation of ‘Christian’ needs to include the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I suggest that ‘Christian’ means ‘transformed, informed motivated and empowered by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.’
An article in The Spectator (28 May 2016) commented,
“A landmark in national life has just been passed. For the first time in recorded history, those declaring themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians in Britain. Some 44 per cent of us regard ourselves as Christian, 8 per cent follow another religion and 48 per cent follow none. The decline of Christianity is perhaps the biggest single change in Britain over the past century. For some time, it has been a stretch to describe Britain as a Christian country. We can more accurately be described now as a secular nation with fading Christian institutions.”
A report called Europe’s Young Adults and Religion, a collaboration between St Mary’s University in London and the Catholic University of Paris, found that 70% of young adults in the UK identify with no religion.
Although sobering, it is important that we are realistic about the state of the UK and cry out to the Lord for change. We should also acknowledge this brings opportunities for the gospel.
Yinka Oyekan and “The Turning” movement (visit theturning.eu) are demonstrating the opportunities this faith vacuum has created, seeing thousands of people turn to Christ on the streets of the UK and Europe. I am excited about 2019. So far I have spent 33 years as part of Jesus’ church and count it a privilege and a blessing. Let’s build on what Jesus has taught us over the last few years – it will mean taking risks, walking in faith and stepping out of our comfort zones. Are you ready to come on an adventure?
The heart of Christianity is your heart.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
The message of Christianity is bad news and good news; bad news if we want to do it ourselves – if we are full of pride and want to work things out our way; good news if we realise that, as people, we are morally and spiritually bankrupt and have no ability to save ourselves. The message of the cross and the heart of the term ‘Christian’ declares: it all depends on Him, not on us. Understanding this is the key to becoming ‘more Christian’ in 2019. Do you want to be more of a Christian father, a Christian mother, Christian doctor, a Christian teacher, a Christian midwife, a Christian student, a Christian business man/woman, or a Christian neighbour in your community? This means, whatever vocation we follow, being transformed, informed, motivated and empowered by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. In practice:
- Make ourselves available to our Lord Jesus – don’t put barriers in the way of ‘I can’t, I’m not good enough, I haven’t anything to give.’
- Constantly and consistently renew our minds by choosing to believe God’s truth and promises, and not the lies that cripple us.
- Accept His forgiveness and allow Jesus to remove our self hatred and the shame we feel of past mistakes.
Galatians 6:14 “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
So, let us start 2019 living more Christian lives, with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ being the heart of all we do.
Ask yourself: do I just do a job? Why am I studying these subjects? What is my part in my community or neighbourhood? Am I just going through the motions in my life? And the key question: How is my life going to be more Christian in 2019?
I look forward to our Christian adventures together in the coming year.
Lots of love Neil
Photo by Jessie Andrew on Unsplash