We are a strange people who love to complicate simple things. There is nothing as simple as being a Christian. Sure, in the depth of what God has done for us there are some incredible things to be understood. If you study theology you will discover some very long words that describe some deep truths. Following Jesus and studying theology is like being a driver compared to a mechanic. A mechanic understands how a car works but it doesn't mean he can drive whereas a driver just enjoys the car. Sometimes, in an effort to understand the car mechanics can lose the joy of driving.
Here's what we have to do to drive the car:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
I love what the Spirit did through Paul, revealing the deeper things but also keeping it simple so we can just enjoy the car. Let's review the elements to being a Christian.
First and foremost you have to start with Jesus. There is no other way to be a Christian, part of the Body, a member of the Church. A number of churches no longer require its members to profess Jesus, only asking them to lead a moral life. They fail to teach that without a personal relationship with Jesus we have nothing. It starts with Jesus.
Second, accepting Jesus is great but we have to continue with Jesus. It is not a one time decision. It is a daily decision to be in a relationship with Jesus, to have fellowship with him, to keep him as Lord, to obey his Word and to follow his direction. The only life we have is the one we live in Jesus and without him we have no life. We can't just say "I accept Jesus as my Saviour" and think we have bought an insurance policy for the afterlife. When we accept Jesus we enter into a relationship and a lifetime of service.
Third, we must be rooted and built up in Jesus. It means he is our only source of everything. We send our roots deep into His Word, we absorb our sustenance in prayer, we drink deeply in worship. As we grow closer to Jesus we also realize he is building us up, changing us, increasing us, transforming us into what he needs us to be in this place. What we are today is not what we will be in a month, year or 20 years from now because we experience constant growth. Jesus is our source for all things, not this world. We seek wisdom and knowledge from him, not this world. The Kingdom is not based on the principles of this world but instead on the principles of our King.
Fourth, we must allow our faith to be strengthened by Jesus. Often we think we have to have faith, which we do, but Jesus said it can be as small as a mustard seed. We just have to take the first step. We have to be willing to get out of the boat, like Peter. We have to speak to the mountain believing it will move. We just have to speak the words, we don't have to move the mountain. It is Jesus who does it. He increases our faith, lending us whatever portion we need. He comes along side and strengthens that little seed of faith so it becomes a powerhouse that moves mountains, causes the blind to see, raises the dead and gives chase to demons. We just have to have that seed to take the first step and Jesus strengthens it to do the rest.
Fifth, we must be overflowing with thankfulness. Some of us can't even be thankful let alone overflowing with it. A Christian knows and appreciates everything Jesus has done, is doing and will do. We realize that despite our circumstances here, what we have in Jesus far outweighs them all. We realize just how rich we are in Jesus and it keeps a song of praise on our lips. We are so busy counting our blessings that we don't have time to complain. It is with a heart of overflowing thankfulness that the sweetness of Jesus is able to dwell and permeate the work of our hands.
Simple, right? This is how we enjoy driving a car even if we don't understand all the mechanics of it. In this simplicity great things have been done in the authority of our King by people without education and privilege. Simple people who made a simple decision and kept making it every single day of their lives. Simple people who moved mountains and hearts and moved entire cities by a simple act of faith. That's all that Jesus is looking for, simple people who know what it is to be a follower of Jesus. You don't have to be a mechanic to know how to drive the car.