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What does it mean to live like a Christian? Learn to tell the difference between what freedom is and what it is not…

By leaning upon God’s will, we are granted new and remarkable freedoms. The outside world sees us as chained. We go where they choose not, we see what they prefer to ignore, we dress in a manner they call severe. They hold up to us the so-called freedoms of this world and declare themselves happier for it. They live in blindness, both to the pains of others and the remorse and strife within their own souls.”

Quote by William Wilberforce, 1759-1833, A British politician and leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade

A venus flytrap (picture left)is like a spring-loaded trap that transforms into a ‘cage’ after responding to stimuli, such as when an unsuspecting insect contacts the surface.

Now you may be wondering what a carnivorous plant has to do with this post? Read on to discover the answer!

That fly was enticed by a sticky sweet juice emitted by the venus plant. This juice smells like a bouquet of fruit and plant flowers to the fly. Something quite familiar to the fly. Not realizing the danger it was in, it decided to check into what looked familiar to it. Thus it got mired down into the sticky substance and the teeth of the venus snapped shut and became a cage. Eventually the venus consumes the fly.

Christians who are not familiar with how the Bible defines truth are much like this fly. Their confusion about what is freedom and what is bondage leads to their entrapment.

A Christian whose search for freedom lies outside the boundaries of biblical truth, are venturing into a wilderness of deception. A wilderness where lies are disguised as truth and truth is disguised as lies. The side effects of living in this wilderness is blindness. A blindness that prevents them from seeing that the freedom and happiness they think they are experiencing is nothing more than license. And that happiness is nothing more than the thrill of getting their own way and getting pats on the back for it from others who wander about in the same wilderness.

But for a Christian, this fake freedom will eventually deteriorate. The Bible puts it rather succinctly.

 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12 NIV

Christians who adopt the freedoms that run contrary to God’s word are entrapped just like the fly in a venus plant. Yet, unlike the fly there is a way to break free from such bondage before being consumed. By returning to God’s word, we will grow in wisdom and understanding as to the difference between true freedom and bondage. God’s light will illuminate the path of their escape. As the disciplining love of God turns them around and brings them to their senses, they will be restored to the fresh and cleansing winds of true freedom.

What does it mean to be a Christian?

Because I believe we have become complacent about the answer to the above question, let’s start out with what a Christian is not:

We are not a Christian because we were born into a Christian family

We are not a Christian because we live in a Christian nation (you know, like America use to be called!)

We are not a Christian because our culture accepts Christian beliefs (up to a point).

We are not a Christian because we regularly or irregularly attend church.

We are not a Christian just because we call ourselves Christian.

We are not a Christian because we try to be a good person.

We are not a Christian just because we are religious.

And the clincher: We are not a Christian just because we believe in Jesus!

Therefore, if the above statements don’t describe who a Christian is, then what is a Christian?

A Christian believes Jesus is who He says He is.

First of all the Bible states it quite clearly several times throughout, Jesus is the Son of God (one such verse is Luke 22:70) (FYI Jesus is identified as God’s son, 23 times in the gospels and 18 times in the epistles)

Yes, a Christian believes in the existence of Jesus! AND also the existence of Satan 1 Peter 5:8

Here’s why:

God created man and planet Earth. (Check out Genesis 1)

Satan was a heavenly being initially. He was so taken with his own beauty and became obsessed with jealously toward God. The end result of this rebellion got him and his buddies cast out of heaven onto earth. (Eziekiel 28:15-17)

I insert references to Satan here BECAUSE he is the culprit that seeded our world with the concept of sin. And it is due to sin that God sent Jesus (God in bodily form) to provide a way for mankind to be rescued from suffering God’s wrath in payment of their sins. For you see, Jesus lived a perfect life. And since the debt of sin was death (remember God is love but He is also a God of wrath), God cannot leave sin unpunished).

And this is where Jesus enters the earthly narrative. Somebody had to pay the price for disobeying God! Because Jesus was innocent, and because He is God’s son, He could die in everyone’s place who confesses Him. Thus preventing us from paying for our own sin. (John 3:16)

Wrapping up, Jesus is God’s son, who came to earth as a human man, to pay the price for our sins, so we wouldn’t have to. Oh, and by the way, Jesus didn’t stay dead. Nope, He was resurrected (life was restored to Him). 1 Corinthians 15:17-21 He then went to heaven to get things ready for us to welcome those who accept His payment for their sins after their temporary life on earth comes to an end. For you see, eternal life or eternal death is permanent.

But heaven isn’t just for everybody. Please understand this. For those who reject Jesus, they are in effect saying, “I am paying for my own sins.” Meaning, they are heading to hell.

And this is where our lives depend upon being clear about fiery darts. Satan’s intent is to get us to not take seriously what the Bible says about Jesus. He will prevent us with distractions of all sorts. The main one being to keep us out of the Scriptures. He will tempt us to believe God isn’t who He says He is, nor is Jesus. As a matter of fact, he is most pleased when he can tempt us to deny God altogether. Or he will persuade us that the questions written at the beginning of my post define what it means to be a Christian. (Especially the clincher statement: (James 2:19’s purpose in highlighting the demons’ beliefs is to show that simple acknowledgement of God and His identity does not equal a saving faith.)