“The disciples of Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch.”
Living as a Christian can be described as:
- Believing (that which we think, confess, and teach as Christians),
- Behaving (how we live in the community and what we practice in the congregation),
- Belonging (how we are connected to a community of faith, hope, and love).
These three elements of our Christian life can emerge in our lives in any order. Belonging to a faith community like Providence is often a good way to grow in both what we believe and how we behave.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the may wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their umber daily those who were being saved.
(from the Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47)
- Confessing Jesus as Risen Lord.
- Knowing that God loves you and cares for you.
Believing can emerge gradually as you pray, and read, and meditate; or believing can suddenly blossom as a new, wonderful reality in your life, like turning on the lights in a dark room.
Believing can also grow to include knowing all that the Bible teaches about God as creator and redeemer, Jesus as teacher and savior, and the Spirit as comforter and guide. Or believing can take the form of reciting a short summary of Christian convictions or ideas, such as the Apostles Creed (as some congregations do each Sunday as a part of worship).
Behaving is desiring to live our lives like Jesus:
- Compassion for the needs of people.
- Gratitude for the gifts of life and love.
- Kindness toward all the people we meet.
- Generosity toward those who need assistance.
- Courage to do what is right even when it is not popular.
- Patience to wait for the right time and the right people.
- Trust in God as the One who knows our needs and hears our prayers and provides what we have.
Transformation: Behaving often involves giving up old habits, practices, prejudices, and addictions and replacing them with new ways of being, speaking, and responding. This transformation can take a long time, can even be a life-long struggle. We never live without sin and failure, but we can also trust God to forgive our sin and failure and to use us as agents of his love in the world.
One good summary of how we are to behave is found in the Hebrew prophet Micah: “What does God require of you, but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.”
Belonging is connecting with a group of people who share our desire to know God, follow Jesus, and live full of the Spirit; that is, to live in the kingdom of God or under the rule of God.
This belonging might take the form of a small prayer circle with whom we meet daily or weekly; it might take the form of affiliating with a congregation and joining in regular worship, study, fellowship, and service. In these days, it might even mean finding a network online, perhaps scattered in various states around the country—even this can give us a community of faith that will support our desire to please God and fulfill our purpose on earth.
There are many ways to belong to a Christian group, and we here at Providence are eager to welcome you to our community of worship and service, to support you in your intent to be the person God wants you to be, and to guide you into the things that pertain to living as a Christian. But there are many other churches in Hendersonville (or wherever you are); and you must seek and find the one that is right for you.
Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.