If someone asked us, “What does it take to be a Christian?” Would we say, “Try, fail, get back up, try again, so we can hope God sees our hard work and rewards us”? What if other people don’t have the same abilities as us? What if they don’t have the same ingredients? What if their limitations cause them to quit?
If all it takes to be a Christian is our determination never to quit and get back up after we’ve stumbled, how many of us have got the right stuff? There’s always somebody that we can point at and say, “They have so much better than I do even though they became a Christian so much later than I did.” That’s why it’s essential to communicate that being a Christian isn’t about doing what someone else does. In relation to God, success isn’t judged by what we have to go through to overcome our fears. Being a Christian isn’t primarily about encouraging each other to keep getting back up after we fail.
If all it takes to be a Christian is our determination never to quit and get back up after we’ve stumbled, how many of us have got the right stuff?
What does it take to be a Christian? Christ. Our primary responsibility as children of God is to trust Jesus to be our God and Savior. Second, we encourage others to look at the cross. We tell everyone the good news about Jesus, who died to reconcile us to God. We explain how he got there. We preach about what he went through to free us from sin, death, and Satan. We confess that he went through hell, so we never have to fear failing to be a good enough Christian.
We encounter so many obstacles in life. We stumble day after day. Sometimes it’s impossible to get back up. Eventually, and inevitably, we encounter something that robs us of our ability to get back up. That’s when we are tempted to quit. Nobody is coming to help us, we imagine, not even God, so why get back up?
We all go through this temptation at different times in our lives. Sometimes we fight; other times, we say, “I can’t do this.” Sometimes we fight, and sometimes we win, and temptation doesn’t drive us to quit. But do we then credit it to God’s grace? Do we recognize that our bravery and strength comes from the Lord? Or do we forget that there’s only one person who can honestly say, “I didn’t quit”?
We quit and give up on things all the time. We will never realize certain hopes, we will let many dreams fade and die, and we’ll invent excuses to help us avoid facing our fears. But the reason we praise, worship, and pray to Jesus as our God and Savior is because he never quit on us, not even when he died and went through hell.
What does it take to be a Christian? Christ.
When life’s challenges break us, Jesus is still with us. When something bad happens to us, and we feel inadequate, Jesus sends us a preacher to announce that Jesus won’t let go of us, like an umbilical cord that can’t be cut. No amount of damage done to us can separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ.
We hope because Jesus inspires hope in us. When life is horrific, Jesus rescues us, so we don’t have to be afraid. We love even when we’re exploited because he first loved us and offered himself for us on the cross.
This is why we say, “Christ” when asked, “What does it take to be a Christian?” When our confidence crumbles, life gets bad, and terrible things happen, Jesus shows up for us. In those moments when different things overcome us, he shows up for us no matter what happens. We’re Christians because of what Christ Jesus does for us.