On March 6, 1927, the British polymath and a leading agnostic Bertrand Russell, started his discourse “Why I am Not a Christian” by an attempt to establish what it means when people use the word ‘Christian.’ He mentions that the majority of people use the word, Christian, very loosely. Bertrand argues, “Some people mean no more by it than a person who attempts to live a good life. In that sense, I suppose there would be Christians in all sects and creeds.” Undoubtedly, if we go by that definition, then it would mean anyone seeking to live morally and holds a belief in a Supreme Being, is a Christian.
He then draws a contrast between orthodox Christianity and the 21st century Christianity: “The word does not have quite such a full‐blooded meaning now as it had in the times of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. In those days, if a man said that he was a Christian, it was known what he meant.”
Sure enough, today, millions of people are quick to profess their faith In Jesus Christ and pride themselves for being Christians. Whereas in a City in Syria called Antioch, where the word “Christians” emerged (Acts 11:26), those who believed in Christ were regarded as fools. Calling them Christians was a way of ridiculing them. It was not a trendy thing being a Christian back in the day. Bear in mind that Christians in Antioch travelled there after intense persecution in Jerusalem (Acts 11:19.) Their lives were not Characterized by a mere profession of Faith, but by practical obedience to the Lord.
Jesus admonishes those who honour Him with their lips, yet their hearts are from Him (Mathew 15:8.)
Jesus puts us on the spot by asking us in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” Butler, T. C. (2000) informs us that to call anyone ‘Lord’ is to admit that allegiance is owed. To repeat the address is to put a specific emphasis on the admission. My line of thought has always been that this is a rhetoric question posed to prompt us to obey. Be that as it may, after much contemplation, I believe we must give a response to this question if we are to live as practising Christians. After we have carefully identified why swear allegiance to Christ, claiming to Him, yet by actions deny Him (Titus 1:16, then we will be able to have a solution and live practically.
WE ARE ASHAMED OF CHRIST
Quite frankly, I have been embarrassed before for being a Christian. In all instances, I opted to disobey Christ. Shame makes a person reluctant to share the gospel with peers. It becomes humiliating even to pray or read the Bible, let alone making it know you are a Christian. Thus, to live practically as a Christian, we must resolve to firmly and fearlessly bear witness to Jesus. Christ gave us a warning in Mark 8:38, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Isaac Watts left us one of the most glorious hymns that require us to give ear to and apply in our lives:
I’m not ashamed to own my Lord,
or to defend his cause,
maintain the honour of his Word,
the glory of his cross.
2. WE ARE NOT SPENDING TIME WITH GOD
The Sanhedrin and rulers were quick to note that Peter and John had been with Jesus in ACTS 4:13. Why? They dared to preach boldly and authoritatively without formal training. Peter and John transformation can only be attributed to the time spent with Jesus while on earth.
The more we gaze upon God, the more we conform to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.
Time spent with God through His Word and Prayer gives us a chance to examines our lives, pointing out the things that we need to work on while strengthening our hearts. Ultimately, this remoulds, enabling us to apply his decrees.
3. WE LACK PROPER DISCIPLESHIP
There is this wrong idea that discipleship is a Church curriculum where new believers go through for a couple of weeks. We have so many youths who are enthusiastically serving in and attending Church without discipleship. Jesus appointed twelve apostles, that they might be with Him (be taught and moulded) and that He might send them out to preach. It took more than three years before they were ready to go out.
We learn a lot about what discipleship means from Timothy. From an early age, Timothy was taught about the things of God by his mother, Eunice, whose faith had been imparted by Timothy’s grandmother, Lois (2 Timothy 1:5.) He was then later discipled by Paul who writes to him, “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings” (2 Timothy 3:10.) From this, we see a personal, open and transparent relationship. To be a practical Christian Youth, find an older person earnestly following God. Be ready to expose your vulnerabilities, to be taught and corrected by them. Don’t forget; this is a lifelong commitment.
Norman l. Geisler and Paul k. Hoffman published a book “Why I am a Christian” featuring leading Christian thinkers. Just to let you know, it wasn’t a direct response to Bertrand Russell’s lecture. Anyway, Dr Geisler and Hoffman conclude their book with the testimony from Josh McDowell, who sent an appeal to believers to live practically. He wrote, “If you trust Christ, start watching your attitudes and actions.”