The label Christian is a loose one. What exactly does it mean in this day and age? What sets apart those who are Christian by name only from those who are Christian indeed?
The answers to those questions could fill a library, but because I’m limited by time and space, I’m going to offer a simple answer based on Isaiah 26:8: “LORD, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.”
According to this verse, two characteristics of a true believer are obedience to God’s Word and a desire to glorify His name. Too bad our selfish nature rears its ugly head and makes these characteristics so tough to model sometimes.
I profess to be a Christian but I confess that obeying God’s laws can be challenging. When He tells me to forgive those who have hurt me, I don’t exactly grin with glee. When He tells me to give generously to others even when our monthly budget is tight, I say okay through gritted teeth. When He tells me to give thanks in everything, I balk and ask, “Even in this situation?”
That’s when the battle rages: Part of me wants to glorify God’s name while the other part wants to satisfy my own wants and desires. If I’m truly a Christian as I claim to be, then my responsibility is to obey.
Obedience isn’t always easy, but God requires it of those who say they follow Him. Doing what He commands proves that we trust His wisdom, sovereignty and love for us. As others see our willingness to set aside our own selfish desires in lieu of God’s ways, we bring honor to His name.
Yes, obedience is a litmus test of true Christianity. If we call ourselves Christians but refuse to obey God’s laws, then we’d better reconsider our claim.
How about you? Is there an issue in your life that God is addressing? Is there an area in which you’re refusing to obey Him? Consider your response and choose to show your trust in Him through doing what He says. Doing so will bring glory to His name and bring peace to your heart.