The personal evolution of what it meant when I said, “I am a Christian” has transformed in so many different shapes, colors, textures and forms since the beginning of this course. The knowledge presented and enfolded while I read through the assigned articles and chapters advanced and enlightened my perspective on what being a Christian biblically and precisely meant. With my heart surrendered and open I am now able to recognize logically and intelligently what confessing, “I am a Christian” means and have a more detailed focus on the power and name of the person Jesus Christ and applying His name over my life.
Are you a Christian? I don’t know. Define, “Christian.”
“The word Christian comes from the Greek word christianos which is derived from the word christos, or Christ, which means, “Anointed one.” A Christian, then, is someone who is a follower of Christ.”
-Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, Dictionary of Theology
To answer your question then, yes, ringing affirmative, I am a Christian. In the Bible in Acts Chapters 10 and 11, the use of the word Christian appears for the first time. Close your eyes and picture Peter, a dedicated disciple of Jesus on his way to Jerusalem. He decides to stop and have a time of prayer. During this time of prayer his stomach begins to growl in hunger and slowly he begins to drift off into a daze like trance. Through Peter’s daydream, God speaks, directing him to not only associate but also to eat with ‘foreigners” that were on the way to round him up. In present day language, a “foreigner” as used in the Bible was any man that was not a Jew. In the Old Testament, believers were told not to interact with unbelievers because they were too impressionable and would surely fall to evil. In the New Testament and the coming of Christ, believers and unbelievers come together for worship and following the teachings of Jesus. When Peter got back to Jerusalem he was immediately bombarded with accusation, “Why had he dwelt among and eaten with the uncircumcised people?” Peter began explaining how God had come to him in a vision and told him not to judge any man unclean or unholy! Hearing this, the people of Jerusalem glorified God and recognized His grace and mercy for His gift of everlasting life was to be given to all! The word spread far and wide, from people to people, from Barnabas to Saul, and the Bible says, “And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians.”
I moved from Texas to Virginia in September 2012, the trees had begun turning and the scenery captivated my attention aesthetically to a tee. I had lived in Texas for twenty-five years and was raised, sheltered and contained by a tightly wound family. I worked for my family in a family owned and operated business and spent three to four nights a week at my grandmothers house having dinner and conversing after working together throughout the day. I was destined to take over the family business; a golfer from four, a server at heart and a charismatic salesman with extremely blessed good looks and an eagerness to learn. After praying for four years for God’s direction I was shown the light, my light, Liberty University. Coming from a family of believers, hindered believers, that had religion somewhat shoved down their throats, they weren’t too eager about my choice, and that is putting it lightly. I slid out quietly because I am not big on goodbyes but certain questions arose, specifically, “Why?” At first, all I could reply was, “Jesus.” One can only imagine the looks I received from those close to me. Even as I have come to Liberty University, taking online classes and working three jobs, I am still asked the question, “Why?” Waiting tables at a downtown fine dining restaurant in old Lynchburg, I was questioned by a Liberty teacher herself announcing she did not understand why students would move to Lynchburg if they are taking online classes. As I read through Praxis Beyond Theory by Etzel and Gutierrez, Chapter two on Faith has a section quoted, “Blind Faith doesn’t work.” Okay, insert shame attack here. “I am always taken back by Christians who claim to have “blind faith” in the Lord and there is “no way to prove that their faith is true or not-they just have chose to have faith in Jesus Christ.” (Page 10) This haunted me for days in the form of a challenge accepted by my heart (Praxis, page 71-74) to intellectually claw through the columns of comprehension stored in my being and illuminate the response to this life-changing, important, mountain moving question, “What makes you a Christian?” Easy as pie, a Christian is a follower of Christ. This question no longer intimidates me and now sparks a fire of intense passion and courage inside because I have practical and logical understanding in myself through question and reflection of what it means to me when I say I am a Christian. Having faith and believing in God is not just an experience but also an intellectual process and should be. We should be able to back up faith not only with factual evidence but miraculous events.
“…I pray this in Jesus’s name, Amen.” Why do you pray in the name of Jesus?
“Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14). Right now in heaven there is a man, Jesus, who is Mediator between us and God the Father (1 Tim. 2:3). Jesus is our advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1). He is our Savior (Titus 2:13). He is our Lord (Rom. 10:9-10).”
-Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, Dictionary of Theology
I pray in the name of Jesus to protect and seal my prayer with power that only the name of Christ can authorize. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) John 14:6 may be the boldest, most powerful statement in the history of the world.
Jesus is the way.
Let us envision a man under a shaded tree, head lowered and eyes focused, right hand moving over a parchment vigorously writing a letter. This mans name is Paul, who is an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and he had begun writing a letter to the people of Ephesus to inform them of the news of blessed redemption and new life made through Christ. Throughout Paul’s letter to the Ephesians inspired by God Himself, he explains how the man Jesus Christ who was sent by God to pay the price for our sins and redeem the world, had also come to be our advocate to God, “for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18).
Jesus is the truth.
I believe we all have a physical image of The Son of Man in our mind. Picture Jesus sitting in a corner of the temple of God surrounded by his followers in a circle, as you would see a teacher in the center of his students on a round colorful carpet in a kindergarten class. Indiscreetly a group of Pharisees, a group of self-righteous law enforcers historically in times of the Bible, burst in and demand Jesus to come cast judgment on a adulterous woman who had literally been caught in the act and tossed out in the middle of the square at the center of town. The Pharisees were attempting to trick Jesus into breaking His own truth, which He breathed, taught and lived, for He was the truth. He would not condemn her and the woman was set free without judgment and was told, go and sin no more. Through Jesus we have the power of truth and through truth we have the power of freedom, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).
Jesus is life.
Amidst a heavy crowd Jesus stands and preaches through His superb and complex analogies and figures of speech, teaching eloquently and profoundly that He is the way to new life. But the students could not understand what the Teacher was saying. Jesus Christ is the new life for all who will believe and He alone holds the power to give salvation and new life to the world. And so He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-18).
At the dinner table, heads bowed and eyes closed, my grandmother is leading us in a prayer before dinner. The conclusion of every prayer is, “I pray all of this is the name of Jesus.” When I first began living my life for Christ, I mimicked the style of prayer from others, taking bits and pieces for myself as I heard them not knowing that each phrase was used in a specific manner and for a specific reason. Throughout the book Core Christianity by Elmer Towns, the words “in Christ” are crucially focused and repeated many times through various chapters in hopes to emphasize the power of using our Lord Jesus Christ’s name. Learning how to pray through the name of Christ not only accurately but also with purpose and concentrated direction has advanced my prayer life in my prayers for others and myself. The Bible says when Cain slain Able the blood was spilt and God heard the blood crying out to Him from the ground. The blood spilt when Jesus was nailed to the cross and His side was punctured, the blood spilt to cover all mans sin, the blood spilt of Jesus Christ, God in flesh; the blood spilt holds the power of Jesus Christ. I understand now that through the chain of command, “God calls upon Jesus Christ who calls upon the Holy Spirit” on our behalf and why it is done that way even though they are all equal through a video presented in the course by Elmer Towns.
To conclude, the profound philosophical and factual knowledge gained from the study in this course concerning what it means to be a Christian and the proper use of power when using the name of The Lord Jesus Christ has exploded my spiritual understanding of what it means to be a Christian. The growth and ideology continue day to day as the teachings stir and saturate into my yearning soul to know, understand and expand in all things Christ.