What is a Christian?

People on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway platform.
People on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway platform – which ones are Christians?

In a National questionnaire involving all adults: 72% said that they were ‘Christian’ ( yes that is 72 out of every 100 adults). *

But only 5 out of 100 go to church!

So that begs the question: “What is a Christian?”

Man mocking someone.

To help answer that, did you know that the word ‘Christian’ was a nickname!
It could have been a mocking name, to make fun of them.
The reason for the nickname was because these people based their whole lives on the teaching of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, if we call ourselves a Christian, we are saying that CHRIST is the most important thing in our lives.

Perhaps you can’t say that.
Perhaps we replace the Christ bit with ‘ME’ –

  • I am my own boss’
  • ‘I am the most important thing in my life!’

But a Christian is someone who follows Jesus Christ, not just occasionally, but for the rest of their lives.

It took discipline to follow Jesus day after day.
Jesus’ followers were called ‘disciples’, because they were disciplined.

Jesus laid out the rule for being one of His followers:

If anyone wants to be a follower of Mine, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For anyone who keeps his life for himself shall lose it; and anyone who loses his life for me shall find it again.
What profit is there if you gain the whole world – and lose eternal life?
What can be compared with the value of eternal life?”
Matthew 16:24-26 The Living Bible

This speaks of the cost of being a follower, a disciple, of Jesus.

It doesn’t mean that we must die to follow Him.
Jesus is talking about living our lives for Jesus and not selfishly for ourselves.
So that leaves us with two questions:

A man pointing at you

Are you willing to follow Him?
Is Jesus Christ the most important person in our life?

* = National Census 2002.
Images: thanks to Serif ARTGallery CD

By Peter Reason

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