Most of the time, we don't really live the life God had planned for us to. We exist, but we don't really live. If we lived as if the power of God was within us, we'd live far differently.
Then there's Donald Miller, an amazingly authentic person who writes without benefit of exposure to the cultural Christianity most of us live in. He has this annoying habit of looking at what most of us and our churches do, and telling others about it.
We believe a person will gain access to heaven because he is knowledgeable about theology, because he can win at a game of religious trivia. And we may believe a person will find heaven because she is very spiritual and lights incense and candles and takes bubble baths and reads books that speak of centering her inner self; and some of us believe a person is a Christian because he believes five ideas that Jesus communicated here and there in Scripture, though never completely at one time and in one place; and some people believe they are Christians because they do good things and associate themselves with some kind of Christian morality; and some people believe they are Christians because they are Americans.You think?
If any of these models are true, people who read the Bible before we systematically broke it down, and, for that matter, people who believed in Jesus before the printing press or before the birth of Western civilization, are at an extreme disadvantage. It makes you wonder if we have fashioned a gospel around our culture and technology and social economy rather than around the person of Christ.
- Donald Miller in Searching For God Knows What
Being a Christian means following Jesus Christ. In every situation. With every thought, every word, every action. It means a surrendered life that renounces selfishness for a life spent in loving God, loving your neighbor, and serving both.
It is an intensely personal commitment lived out among others who share it, for the benefit of those who don't. It's first hand knowledge, like this:
From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in— we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we're telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. 3 We saw it, we heard it, and now we're telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!
1 John 1:1-4 (MSG)My heart aches for those I love who don't love Jesus. If I contributed to you hearing rumors or hearsay and tried to give you a second-hand faith, I'm sorry. Faith is won after a struggle, where you surrender in order to win - and admit defeat to claim victory. You choose to follow Christ, no matter what.
No one else can do that for you.
It's your life.