Do you know what is the main characteristic of a professing Christian? Often times when a professing Christian is asked this question, some of the most common responses I have heard deal with an association to a church or being a good person. There are many other responses that can be given, but the main characteristic of a professing Christian is to desire to do the will of God.
Unfortunately, in our imperfection that means we don’t always do it, but the desire is there. That is a sign of a regenerate heart. When we fail to follow through on doing the will of God, we should feel a sense of quilt and shame because we have let our heavenly Father down. But ultimately, we are striving to do the will of God.
When we look at Scripture, Hebrews 10:16 says "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."
Ezekiel wrote the law of God was written into the heart. Jeremiah the prophet wrote about the new covenant, in that the law was written in the inward part. This truth makes known to us if we are a new creation in Christ as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:17, God has imputed His law within us. Meaning, God has planted in the person who has repented and believed on Jesus, the knowledge of the law and the desire to fulfill the law.
But we in our nature take on a very different attitude. James writes about this attitude in the Epistle of James 4, verses 13-17. He writes, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
We have a tendency to make plans in life with no regard for God or as if God does not exist. We should set goals and we should make plans, but we should regard God within them. We should make plans and we should set goals but should hold those plans and goals loosely. What we should do is put God’s desires at the center of our planning. When we do, God will never disappoint us and in the end we won’t be disappointed.
James asks a very important question in verse 14. He is addressing an assembly of believers who act a lot like the church today. This group of people to whom he is writing have their own agendas. They are moving through life with no regard for God. They make plans as if they know what tomorrow will bring. This is when James asked this very important question. I do believe the modern church needs to be asked this question as well. James writes, “What is your life?”
Colossians chapter 3, verses 1-4 answers this question for anyone professing to be a Christian. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 WHEN CHRIST WHO IS YOURLIFE appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
What is your life? Have you been raised to a new life with Christ? Do you seek the things that are above where He is seated at the right hand of God? Has your old sinful self died with Christ? Are you hidden with Christ in God? When Christ appears, will you appear with Him? And here is the ask that any person claiming Christianity must answer, is Christ your life?
You don’t live in vacuum where you are in the middle making a claim and not following through on it. In this life, either you are under God’s authority or another authority. You simply cannot just stand still. Seek to make Christ your life. Repent and believe. Seek first the kingdom of God.
Paul is a Christ Follower. He has been married to his beautiful wife Rebecca for twenty-four years. They have two beautiful children, a dog, two cats and a turtle. They love being together as a family and doing the adventure that is ministry. They love the outdoors and enjoying God's creation.