[forthright] Are We a Faithful Christian?

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Oct 2007 08:35:13 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: Square One

Are We a Faithful Christian?
by Richard Mansel

Discerning between a Christian and a faithful
Christian may seem an unnecessary distinction.
However, careful distinctions are necessary when
dealing with imperfect beings. Human complexities
negate the neat packaging of lazy minds. The minds
of men act in concert only in broader cultural
contexts while their personalities and manners are
much more intricate. Accordingly, the hasty person
who desires easy answers will never grasp the
human mind. They will simply project their own
prejudices onto the human canvas before them.

The delineation between being a Christian and a
faithful Christian will become clear upon further
examination.

A Christian is someone who has become a follower
of Christ. They have faith in him, repented of
their sins, confessed him as Lord, been baptized
for the remission of their sins, and are being
faithful until death (Hebrews 11:6; Luke 13:3-5;
Romans 10:9,10; Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16; Revelation
2:10).

A faithful Christian adds the element of daily
discipleship. Jesus said, "When He had called the
people to Himself, with His disciples also, He
said to them, 'Whoever desires to come after Me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and
follow Me'" (Mark 8:34). Once we yield completely
to Christ, we serve, worship, teach, live, and
love to bring glory to the Lord (Ephesians
3:20,21). We commit to him for life and will
persevere against all odds. What does this say
about the first group? What characterizes them?

The faithful Christian lifts his cross daily and
lives obediently while bringing glory to Christ.
If we look at the disinterested Christian from
this perspective, as opposed to a faithful one,
what are these lackadaisical Christians doing? Are
they taking up their cross weekly, monthly,
yearly? Why do they inconsistently serve him? Each
will have their own particular rationalizations.

What is required is a complete commitment within
our human capabilities. No one can live faithfully
enough to merit salvation. However, we are all to
be seeking to live a life that, in all aspects,
draws people to Christ (Ephesians 4:1).
Disinterested Christians reach the point where
they are no longer bearing fruit and will be cut
off from the vine (John 15:1-8). Faithfulness
indicates allegiance, attitude, and direction in a
life filled and flooded with God (Ephesians 3:19).
Unfaithfulness leads to apostasy.

Jesus told of men who received invitations to a
great supper and all begged off with excuses (Luke
14:16-24). A man sought to follow Jesus and yet
wanted to do other things first. Jesus told him to
leave everything behind and follow him (Matthew
8:18-22). Some want to follow Jesus on their own
time line and in their own way. However, Jesus
expects we will die to self and live completely
for him (Matthew 11:28-30). We will become tools
for his purposes rather than negotiators for our
time and talents.

When we face doing something for the Lord or for
ourselves, we are judging which activity is more
worthwhile. The Lord understands we have families,
jobs, errands, a need for rest and relaxation, but
we must not place the Lord's work low on our list
of priorities. He will be first or not at all.
There will be a high price for spiritual
indifference.

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