Has Christianity changed you?

 

When a person becomes a Christian they are supposed to become a follower of Christ, which means that you life should change. However, there are many today who profess to be Christians who do not look any different than those in the world. In fact, thereís a group in Californian called the Barna Group who have been taking religious surveys for several years now and they usually will call a random group of people across the nation and ask them various questions. I want to share with you some of the results from their 2003 survey.

 

They divided their survey into 4 groups. First, were evangelicals who made up 7 % of those polled. Evangelicals are considered to be those that believe:

 

 

The second group was Born Again Christians who made up 33% of those polled. Born Again Christians are considered to be:

 

The third group was Notional Christians who made up 12% of those polled. Notional Christians are those:

 

The fourth group was Atheists and Agnostics who made up 12% of those polled.

 

In this survey, they selected 19 activities they thought would be affected by belief, but only Evangelicals and Atheists / Agnostics were consistent between their beliefs and their activities.

 

Born Again Christians were not distinguishable from Notional Christians or followers of other religious beliefs, such as Islam, Buddhists, or Scientology. In other words, they were much like the world in general.

 

One area that was surprising is that these more lack Christians were more likely to purchase a lottery ticket than atheists or followers of non-Christian religions:

 

Something more distributing than this was the results from a November, 2003, survey regarding what was morally acceptable.

 

Percentage of adults who consider a behavior to be ďmorally acceptable.Ē

 

 Immoral
Behaviors

Evangelicals

Born Again

Other Faith

Atheist / Agnostic

Gambling

27%

45%

69%

75%

Cohabitation

12%

49%

70%

87%

Lustful thoughts

15%

49%

71%

78%

Having an abortion

7%

35%

47%

69%

Sex outside of marriage

7%

35%

47%

69%

Pornography

5%

28%

49%

70%

Profanity

7%

29%

46%

68%

Getting drunk

8%

24%

44%

61%

Homosexuality

5%

20%

41%

55%

Drugs

6%

11%

25%

38%

Based on Barna Group reported dated November 3, 2003

 

While the majority of those called Evangelicals opposed these immoral behaviors even some of them had not changed their worldly ways. Of course the worse results were those called Born Again Christians. Now we should all know that a survey is always based on just a small sample of people, but nonetheless this give you a good idea that there are many who profess to be Christians today who have not been changed by their Christianity.

 

This is why I pose the question to you, Have you changed since you became a Christian?

 

 

It is important that we understand that becoming a Christian means that we must change our habits and the way that we think because we have become a new creature in Christ and old self had been crucified and put to death. Paul says,

 

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

 

When we become Christians we must stop thinking like the world and start transforming ourselves into followers of Christ, which means that we must change our ways to Godís ways. Again, notice what Paul says about this to the Ephesians,

 

Ephesians 4:17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.20 But you have not so learned Christ,21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

 

The change that has to be made is your mind. If you donít change you thought process, they you are not going to change. The more you allow yourself to think like the world the more you are going to be past feeling, which means you become calloused or hard hearted when it comes to sin. This is exactly what many of those self proclaimed Christians are guilty of in the survey that we looked at. On one hand they want to be recognized as Christians, but on the other hand they want to indulge in worldly ways.

 

But if want to be pleasing to God we cannot allow ourselves to be worldly or tolerant of sin as Peter said,

 

1 Peter 4:1Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles -- when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.

 

and James said,

 

James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

 

We cannot have it both ways, we either have to be for the Lord or for the world as Jesus said,

 

Matthew 6:24 " No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

 

There is no doubt, if we want to be real Christians that are pleasing to God then we must change our ways to God ways, but we need to realize that this take time to do and it will not happen overnight. We must work at it on daily basis because it takes time to break our old habits and our old way of thinking. Peter tells us how we must go about making the proper changes in our life,

 

1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

 

Here is where our growth process begins. It begins by studying Godís word and making it part of our lives. We must allow it to feed us, and as Peter says in the beginning of our Christianity we are to desire pure milk of the word and as we bring it into our hearts we will grow thereby. We need to develop the attitude that we read in,

 

Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it.36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness.37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.38 Establish Your word to Your servant, Who is devoted to fearing You.39 Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your judgments are good.40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness.41 Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD -- Your salvation according to Your word.42 So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word.43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I have hoped in Your ordinances.44 So shall I keep Your law continually, Forever and ever.

 

Being a Christian means that you are constantly changing your ways to the Lordís way. It doesnít matter if you have just become a Christians or if you have been a Christian all your life, you should always be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. If you are not growing, then you have become stagnant and ineffective for the Lord. If you neglect Godís Word you doing yourself a disservice and those whom you could possible lead to Christ. As the Hebrew writer said,

 

Hebrews 5:12 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.13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

 

Does this describe you? If it does I hope that you will stop being a babe in Christ and start growing and maturing in your faith. If you choose not to grow, you are putting your soul in jeopardy because you will lack the necessary knowledge to discern between good and evil. You also lose the opportunity to become a teacher that can lead more people to Christ. If you love God and you know how much He desires that all come to a knowledge of the truth, this should motivate you to want to become more knowledgeable so you can lead as many people to Christ as you can.

 

You need to realize that sometimes you may be the only person that can become a shinning light to certain people. That is exactly what you and I are to be to those in the world as Paul said in,

 

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. ††

 

Another important thing that we must realize as Christians is that we are not perfect and we are going to fail from time to time because changing and growing toward Christ can be difficult at times. That is why Jesus said,

 

Matthew 7:13 " Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

 

Not only is the way to heaven through a narrow gate the road that leads to it is difficult and it is full of challenges, but as Christians we must learn from our mistakes and use those times that we sin to grow closer to God by reaching out to Him in prayer and overcoming that sin. The most important thing that we must learn to do is not to allow our sins to overwhelm or to cause us to give up.

 

If we have the proper attitude and realize that we are going to stumble in Christianity and that God will be there to lend us a helping hand, it will help us to be prepared to rise up from our sin and start walking in the light once again. The best way that you and I can prepare for such battles is by following the advice of Paul in,

 

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints Ė

 

When we put on the whole armor of God by studying His Word and having an active prayer life, we are going to be prepared to overcome the sin that in our life and to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.

 

Make not mistake, if you choose not to grow in your Christianity, your making yourself easy pickings for the devil. That is why Peter said,

 

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

 

Notice the way to defeat the devil is steadfast in the faith and this talking about the system of faith that is found in Word of God. It should also comfort you to know that other Christians have faced the same sins that you have and because they choose to change their life to live for God and they put on the whole armor of God they were able to overcome that sin and this means you can to.

 

So again, I ask you, has Christianity changed you or are you still living like the world?

Are you growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord or are you being stagnate?

 

As you examine yourself, if you discover that you have not changed since you have become a Christian, then I suggest you start today by studying Godís Word and growing by it and by having an active prayer life because if you donít you are going to become a victim of the devil and you will find yourself on that wide road that leads to destruction instead of the narrow road that leads to heaven.