How do I become a better Christian?McKay, England
Answer given by Pastor Christian Salcianu,
22nd June, 2022 – Watford
One of the best questions, definitely, and many of us have asked the same. Of course, one may believe that, by default, a Christian is a good person. And it is so. Yet, so many of us (myself included) feel we are not at our best, or not even close to it. What is our family expecting to see in us? Or society, or God…
The question then, once again, is a very good and honest one.
It reminds me of a young and rich ruler in Jewish society who came to Jesus asking something similar: “what must I do to inherit eternal life” (Luke 18:18). It is similar because by those times’ standards, a rich young ruler would have been automatically bound for heaven. However, his personal introspection and the outward expression of him being unfit for heaven showed a deep personal crisis.
I guess Jesus’ answer is as valid for all as it was for him: “You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honour your father and mother.’”
“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” the man said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Let’s review this
The cry is out there: “I want to be a better person.” It is the legitimate desire and expectation of every honest person.
The solution is there also: “keep the commandments.” This is not to be construed as salvation by works, instead it is an encouragement to keep obeying God, who saved you by grace. (Jesus simply and clearly quotes from the Ten Commandments.)
Having kept all things, even from childhood, the man testifies of his frustration still. Was there more to keep? (am I missing something?) Is that all, because I am not satisfied? (legalism is a dead end). Or maybe he felt that the closer he came to God the more imperfect he saw himself (like a magnifier that shows all imperfections).
“You still lack one thing”, Jesus said.
Aha, I knew it, there was one more little thing maybe? What am I lacking? What can I add to my life, my values, my practices?
Jesus’ final solution is not dry works as in “keeping more” things, but in free actions as in “leaving more” things. That is, be free from more worries of this life: selling assets, donating to the poor, trusting those riches will reach heaven before he does etc.
Jesus’ answer is clear: get rid of more. Detach from more. Not as an isolated person, but one to be more free than before. Free to follow Him. That’s it!
Steps to… Christ
My answer may not be satisfying if you were looking for a list of things to be done, for a set of steps to be taken… If you were looking for that, then follow Jesus’ answer: read the Ten Commandments, obey those and you will surely be a better person.
But in the end, a better Christian is a Christian closer to… Christ, his Model.
This invitation from Jesus – “Follow Me!” – is the answer. Indeed, that is how you can become a better Christian – getting closer to Jesus. Reaching a union with Him that leaves no room for anything else. Otherwise, if you follow people, rules, practices, or even compare with yourself, you may get to nowhere (just as the young rich ruler felt).
“Follow Me!” means: know more about Him, do more like He did, invite Him to take over your life.
It means to ask yourself: What would I do in this or that situation if Jesus were here with me? And then act accordingly.
We recommend to you a Christian classic best seller entitled… Steps to Christ. You can read it online, listen to an audio version or order a free hard copy from ADC. The author of this little book also said:
“The badge of Christianity is not an outward sign, not the wearing of a cross or a crown, but it is that which reveals the union of man with God. By the power of His grace manifested in the transformation of character the world is to be convinced that God has sent His Son as its Redeemer. No other influence that can surround the human soul has such power as the influence of an unselfish life. The strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian.”Ellen G. White
Be a loving a lovable Christian! 🙂