“The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39)
One of the most fruitful discussions you can have with yourself occurs when you answer the question: What does it mean to be a Christian? How is a Christian defined? That question, by necessity, leads to a lateral question: How did Jesus define a Christian since He is the Author and Finisher of our faith? After all, it’s His definition that counts.
Jesus defined a Christian essentially in the verse above along with its preceding paragraph. A Christian is a believer, follower, and disciple of Jesus, one who loves Him and follows Him regardless of anything or anyone else, one who does not seek his or her own life, but seeks the Lord. A Christian is one who is committed to a faith relationship with Jesus that impacts every aspect of his or her life.
This concept may challenge some of the thinking in our society. For example, one popular idea today suggests that people “make Jesus a part of your life.” The idea behind this is that we each have a life segmented into various facets – family, work, social activity, education, religion, and so on – and thus we are to invite Jesus into our hearts to make Him “a part” of our lives. We give Him a room in the house, so to speak. When you hold this idea up to the light in one hand, and then hold the previous idea up to the light and compare the two, you discover that they do not, in fact, match.
This being the case, maybe we need to consider what we can do to help others see the reality of the true teaching of Jesus so they can make some adjustments in their message. Jesus does not want to be “part” of your life; He wants to be “central” to your life.