The ? Christian
It certainly would be nice if when we refer to someone as being a Christian that we would know that the individual is practicing godliness just because they are wearing the name. But that is not the case. We often must put some sort of adjective in front of the word Christian to better describe that particular individual. It seems that words such as “active,” “faithful,” “weak,” “strong,” “motivated,” etc. have become part of describing each Christian. But don’t be alarmed, this is nothing new. Christians have always been at various degrees of spiritual development in their lives. The apostle Paul referred to the Corinthian brethren as “men of flesh, as to babes in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1). The Hebrew writer said “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (Heb 5:12). The church at Sardis was referred to as being “dead” (Rev 3:1). Every Christian should be or strive to be the kind of individual that is described in the Bible, but in reality they are not.
The “Strong” Christian
It would be great if every Christian was a “strong” Christian. One can be a “strong” Christian even when they are still a babe in Christ. How can this be? When we look at the Christian life, we can quickly see that no matter who we are, we can be strong in the areas of living as a Christian ought to live. Let’s look at some areas in which all can be “strong.”
1. Examine ourselves to ensure that we are in the faith. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless indeed you are disqualified.” A “strong” Christian realizes that he has a responsibility first of all to save himself. In order to do that, he will pray diligently, keeping God at the very forefront of his thoughts. He will constantly check himself to make sure that he is doing only those things in which Bible authority can be found, trusting in Jesus to lead his life!
2. Study the Bible daily. By doing this every day we can’t help but grow in the Lord. Every Christian should want to grow, whether a babe in Christ or “mature.” The Bereans were excited about learning more about God’s Word and it is said of them: “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Timothy took Paul’s advice to heart when he was told to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). We know that Timothy was a “strong, motivated, active, caring” Christian. How did he get that way? He respected authority. He respected his grandmother, his mother, and the Word of God! Every Christian should have the attitude of WANTING to learn more and all they can about God and His will for man.
3. Be faithful in all things. This includes being faithful in the attendance of worship services at the local congregation. The “strong” will not have an attitude of “do I have to attend” but rather “I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Psa 122:1). Forsaking the assembly will not be an issue to the “faithful, strong” Christian. The spiritually mature understand that his presence and participation not only benefits him, but other Christians as well. He loves to attend all the Bible classes and to present every time the doors are opened to meet together. He develops a desire to teach Bible classes so that he can apply those things that he has read and studied. He realizes his need to be faithful because God is no respecter of persons and that he has a responsibility to set a good example before others.
4. Visit the physically and spiritually sick. The “strong” Christian is one who loves his brethren very much! In so doing, he makes it a point to set aside some time each week to visit those that are physically or spiritually ill. When circumstances don’t allow a personal visit, then he sends a card, letter, or makes a phone call to check on them. He doesn’t just talk about visiting, or think about visiting, he puts it into “practice” because he has studied and understands that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:15-26). Visiting or calling the sick shows them that we are thinking of them and that we really do care.