Questions and Answers
What does it mean to be a Christian?
Some people think to be a Christian, it is enough if you do no seriously bad things. Other people think that being a Christian means going to Church once a week. Unfortunately, too many of us are lazy Christians.
The real meaning of Christian life is to be one with God. It means to be thinking of Him all the time, to be wondering what more you could do to please Him, to learn more of His secrets, to be at peace knowing that He is finding rest and comfort in your heart.
The truth is “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). It is “the God of peace Himself who sanctifies you completely” (1 Thess 5:23).
If you don’t feel this spark for God, if you think your relationship with Him has no energy, if you do not have this desire to please Him, to speak with Him, to be in Him, one with Him, energised by Him and overflowing together with Him towards others, then you have lost what it means to be a Christian. Like the eldest son in the parable of the prodigal son, you may feel that you are just working for Him, like a wage earner, and getting nothing in return. So that when God opens his arms to you and says come into the Feast, you turn your back to Him, angry, because you can’t even understand what all the joy is about. You do not know His love. You refuse the Kingdom of Heaven!
If these words ring true to you, then perhaps you do not have a relationship with God. Perhaps you are a lazy Christian who has taken God’s love for granted. Perhaps you have become misguided, self-centred, seeing yourself as a wage earner rather than an heir.
Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). We are His joy! Change your mind and heart. Change your life and look to Him.
Start with a little bit of prayer and a little bit of spiritual reading. Get into some holy habits such as fasting and performing acts of love to those around you. Go to Christian fellowship. Start attending Confession and begin clearing out that mess in your heart. Immerse yourself in the Liturgy. Receive Holy Communion. Ask Him to help you!
Step-by-step, God’s love will grow in your heart, and you will grow in your love for God. Your life will change and you will see and feel God working in you and around you. You are now slowly, but surely, developing a relationship with God. Don’t stop! It’s a life journey.
Being a Christian means that you are changed on the inside – not controlled from the outside. It does not mean that you are required to go to church, required to help the poor, required to be good. It means you desire to do those things because you’ve been changed.
In today’s fast-paced, secular world, there is more work to do than ever. It is easy to spend hours upon hours absorbed in work, or tasks that offer no benefit to our relationship with God and do not produce things of eternal value. If we are not careful, we can fall into the same self-centred habits again and lose touch with God.
So then, what if I slip up again? Acknowledge that you have strayed and fix it. Being a Christian means that you undergo changes in your heart and soul as you learn more about yourself and more about God. So that at the end of your life, you can run, with open arms and bright eyes, into the embrace of Our Father, knowing that this is where you belong.
† Fr N. S.
Source: February-March 2015 Lychnos Edition