“So you wanna be a cowboy, don’t you know it’s more than just a ride?”
Just one line from an album by Bon Jovi, but one that has stuck with me since I first heard it – more years ago than I care to remember.
The thing is I have applied the question to pretty much everything I have ever done, particularly when it comes to my faith.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been times that I have forgotten the answer, but the question seems to keep cropping up.
Let me put it another way “So you wanna be a Christian, don’t you know it’s more than just a prayer?”
For me becoming a Christian doesn’t happen simply when you pray a prayer. It is a change of lifestyle, a commitment to try, with God’s help to get things right. It is an about turn, a purposeful march in the opposite direction. Ultimately it is a change in management, from one who was determined to bring destruction, to one whose wants to bring life in a way that I never thought was possible.
The term Christian really means someone who has put Christ first and foremost in their lives, someone who has chosen to model their life on His example. “little Christ” may be a better way of saying it. In the same way that in many ways my son is a ‘mini me’, I am to be a mini Christ. In time, I hope my son will grow to be more like me, leaving the bad bits to one side, but I try to be an example that is worth following.
Christ is the ultimate example of what I hope to be. The more I learn about Him, His ways and His mission, the more I want to emulate it.
Which is why when I meet or hear of people that profess to be Christians, the first thing I look for is whether I can see evidence of the one who lent His name to the label in the way they live their lives.
Too often today, the example that the world sees of Christ is people that have prayed a prayer to get them a ticket to heaven, but with no sense of change in their day to day lives. If Christ truly is living in me, then surely, I should be doing what He did. 1 John 2:6 says that “if we abide in Him, we ought to walk in the same way which He walked.” That means having compassion for those that don’t deserve it, loving the unlovable and feeding the hungry. That means healing the sick and telling others of the reason for the hope that we have.
John 14 quotes Jesus “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” (emphasis mine)
Christianity looks like something. There will be fruit if you are connected to the Vine. It’s not about praying a prayer and then going to church occasionally (or even regularly). It’s about changing everything, because He is the pearl of great price. Totally worth it.
So – you wanna be a Christian – it’s more than just a ride – but what a ride.