Be a Christian first. Above all else. Before anything else. All other traits must take a secondary back seat.
Do not be a Democrat. Be a Christian.
Do not be a Conservative. Be a Christian.
Do not be an Athlete. Be a Christian.
Do not be a Teacher. Be a Christian.
… (and many, many, many more examples)
- Can’t I be both? Not for this assignment. You can still play sports, but when games, training, or status alter your decisions, you are being an athlete. By being the Christian FIRST, you are choosing to let that be your standard and then you alter everything else. Game on Sunday? nope, I’ve got Church. Drinks with the team? Can’t, my friend needs me. Protest to join? No way, I want to identify with Christ and not the tiny factions of this world.
- Isn’t this just semantics? Not at all. If it weren’t for a single verse in the Bible we wouldn’t know Jesus was a carpenter by trade. It simply wasn’t important to Him. What were His favorite tools? What did He make the best? What work inspired Him? Not documented. It wasn’t important to Him. He wanted us to know what being a Christian meant and His profession, hobbies, pastimes, and personal interests had absolutely nothing to do with furthering the gospel. Was He still a carpenter? For a time, but it wasn’t what made His decisions for Himself.
Christian baptism is about burying the old and rising up of the new. We put to death the sins of our past. This is an exercise and extension of that act. In order to take on the Christian characteristics, we have to make sacrifices. Things have to be let go of. Whether its a temptation to argue, correct, condescend, overachieve, or any number of areas in your life it takes practice to get good at letting the worldly things go. As temptations arise, ask yourself some questions:
who do I really serve?
What is my end game goal? What do I want most out of life?
Fear comes from Satan. Jesus has defeated Satan. What am I afraid of now?
How can I best help others?
What do I want etched on my tombstone?
Try this as often as you can. Practice makes perfect. See if you can go 24 hours at first where you actively, intentionally, and persistently aim to act like Christ first and foremost in your every decision of the day and night. Then ponder how different life is from before.