Current statistics show that 83% of the Kenyan population belongs to the Christian faith. However, those who are devoted to their walk with God might be a mere 5%. It could be possible that most of those who belong to the 83% claim to be so because they do not fit into all the other religions. For the purpose of this post, let us define a Christian as someone who does not belong to any other religion apart from Christianity. Let us further refer to ‘being a Christian’ and ‘being born again’ as two separate entities.
Ephesians Chapter 4, is one of the best portions I have come across so far that urges us to live for God.
Ephesians 4:1 says
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
We are clearly called to live a life that is worthy of the calling we have received. Our lives are not a collection of random events that occur simply because we are breathing. Christians do not just exist. I used to wonder why salvation is also known as being Born again. I understand Nicodemus’s dilemma (John 3:4 ff) when he asked Jesus what exactly being born again meant. I would have had the same concern! When a person is born again, they are indeed born into a new life. A life in which one is more in tune with the Spirit of God. A life of purpose in which the believer now has a new identity in Christ and a relationship with Jesus. A life led by the spirit and full of the presence of God.
Jump over to verse 13, ‘
…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’.
So, if there was a way you could measure of ‘fullness of Christ’ in you, where would you rank? Out of 100%, or perhaps on a scale of 1-10?
Then Paul gets a bit too frank in verse 17-19
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
I have highlighted some statements that impacted me the most in that particular portion. (Paul used the word ‘Gentiles’ to mean those who have not accepted Christ into their hearts and lives.) I wouldn’t want to be separated from the life of God; I have tasted life both with and without God. There is just no turning back for me. Separation from God means attachment to the world. Separation from the world means attachment to God. Simple. There is no grey, just black or white. It scares me how the ‘Gentiles’ are referred to as, ‘darkened in their understanding’, separated from God, have lost ALL sensitivity, and have given themselves over to sensuality.
The rest of the Chapter goes on to give more ways in which we are supposed to live for Christ i.e. not letting any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, not letting the sun go down when we are still angry, putting off falsehood and being kind to one another. But who can attest to applying all these things in their lives?
Growing up in a Christian home, the bar seemed like it had been set too high. It always felt that I had to live a certain way so that God may accept me. I remember feeling so unworthy most times because I did not live a life worthy of the calling I had received. I felt like I could only be accepted by God if I lived a completely sinless and holy life. It was always a struggle trying to live up to the Christian standards that I had been taught growing up. At some point, rebellion felt like the easy way out since I could do whatever I wanted without having to keep asking God’s forgiveness. However, the guilt and condemnation always crept back into my life and thus drive me further and further away from God’s presence.
I realize now that I was only a Christian because I had grown up in a Christian home. I was only a Christian because I was not born in a Hindu or Muslim home. I was told not to do a number of evil things not because I understood the reason, but because I was told not to. I also did the right things because I was told that hell would be my destination if I did not. The goal is heaven, and it was up to me to do the necessary so that I can have my one-way ticket to heaven. It all depended on my own effort and doing the right things so that I could walk into the narrow path. Many Christians have this mentality, which puts them in the never-ending cycle of sinning and asking for forgiveness. We end up having double lives because in public we are leading praise and worship, praying loudly, and relating with the brethren. However, we have too many skeletons within our closets. This is what typical mediocre Christianity looks like. I know this because I was once there.
Being born again is having a deep revelation of who God is and having a thriving relationship with him. It is when the word of God becomes active and alive in our lives when we believe and activate what is written in the Bible. It means spending time with God and dwelling in his presence not because you are forced to, but because you want to. Your mind becomes renewed and your heart is drawn passionately to the things of God. Even though I was a Christian all my life, I had never lived my life in this way.
That said, I write this post to put everything into perspective not only for you but for me as well. I write these words challenging myself to grow stronger in my relationship with God. I have understood that it is not only dependent on me, but God gives me the zeal and passion to focus on him. I hope this has challenged and encouraged you as well. There really isn’t a difference between being a Christian and being born again. We become Christians when we give our lives to Christ and become born again. The problem arises when we chose to be mediocre in our faith instead, being referred to as Christians but not living up to the name. We can choose to live lives that reflect our real faith in God. That it is not just about the talk, but the walk as well. Our walk of faith.
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