I think most of us here know how to become a Christian.
You know that to become a Christian, an encounter with Christ must take place, but so many do not know how to live the Christian life.
Now, first of all, what is a Christian? What does it mean to be a Christian?
Is it a person who is born in a Christian home? No.
I could be born in a garage, but that does not make me an automobile. You can be born in a Christian home and have fine Christian parents, but that does not make you a Christian.
You cannot inherit Christianity.
Three things must have taken place for you to become a Christian.
- First, you have made a choice (Acts 9:1-18).
- Secondly, a change must take place in the way you live (2nd Corinthians 5:17).
- Thirdly, you have accepted Christ’s challenge (Matthew 16:24).
Now the Christian life is not just being saved from hell. It is not just redemption and forgiveness–that certainly is essential, and that is a part of it–but the Christian life is a way of life. It is a way of living here and now.
The first thing in living the Christian life is to learn the secret of prayer. I do not believe that anyone can live the Christian life without first and foremost spending time every day in prayer. If you don’t spend some time each day in prayer, the rest of the day will be wrong. The decisions of the day will be wrong, business will go wrong, everything will go wrong.
Then the second thing is reading the Bible. Read the Scriptures every day. Now we don’t worship the Bible. We don’t take the Bible as a fetish and worship it. We worship the God of the Bible, the Christ of the Bible. The Bible is God’s inspired holy Word. God has spoken through His Word, so we read it.
Thirdly, have a disciplined life. Jesus taught that to live the Christian life takes discipline, renunciation, and sometimes hardship. There are a number of verbs in the Bible that are used to describe the Christian life. We are told that we are to “fight” [1 Timothy 6:12], “wrestle” [Ephesians 6:12]. We are to “run” [Hebrews 12:1], we are to “work” [Philippians 2:12], we are to “suffer” [1 Timothy 4:10], we are to “resist” [James 4:7], we are to agonize, we are to “put to death” [Galatians 5:24, TEV]. All of these are verbs regarding the Christian life, and we must work at it.
Live a clean life. Even your business associates secretly will admire you and wish they had the strength and ability to do what you are doing. And you can’t do it with your own strength, but Christ can do it through you, and in you, through the Holy Spirit that lives within.
Fifth, get into the church. I do not believe in Robinson Crusoe Christian fellowship. And Christian fellowship is not optional; Christian fellowship is essential. Christ said that He was the vine and that we are the branches [see John 15:5]. He said that we are living stones built together [see 1 Peter 2:5], members of the body of Christ knit together [see 1 Corinthians 12:12]. The Bible says all of us are important in the church.
Are you living the Christian life?
Are you living a victorious, happy Christian life?
You can’t do it by yourself. You can’t do it with your own strength. You can only do it as the Holy Spirit fills you.
(This entire post is pieces from a longer message by Billy Graham in 1958. Over 50 years later, still packed with truth.)