Just a quick side note: These 5 essentials are in no way the only 5, and neither are they written in any order. These are merely 5 parts of being a Christian that, from a personal view, function as the glue in my own walk with Christ. If I ought to neglect these 5 aspects then I wouldn’t really be able to say that I am a Christian or I would be lukewarm at best. That said, let’s get right to it!
#1 Consistency and Commitment
If you want to know what goes on in your heart, look at your actions, thoughts and words. That’s why Proverbs 4:23 tells us to watch over our hearts with all diligence. Now if you want to know how committed you are to Christ look at how consistent your actions, thoughts, and words reflect the love you have for Him. Our consistency reveals our commitment. Reading the Bible is great, praying is great and going to church is great, but are you consistent in doing so? I think it’s safe to say that God allows the committed to experience more of Him because they draw near to Him every day.
This is definitely the case in my walk with Christ. I experience His presence more as I seek Him more. It’s like Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Seeking God with all your heart, for me, is seeking Him every day. A lot of times we make the error of basing our commitment on our feelings and emotions. Emotions change every day, our commitment shouldn’t. If we really want to find God, we must seek Him with all our heart; and seeking God with all our heart requires our actions, words and thoughts to consistently reflect our commitment to Him.
One of the things I always say is that satan hates it when we grow in our faith, but he’ll settle with keeping us stagnant in our faith. Often times our walk with Christ consists of a few steps forward and a few steps back and we seem to never make any real progress. We need to have a desire to grow. Life often takes the form of two decisions. Either you throw away all ambition and become satisfied with where you are now, or you look reality in the eye and fight for what you know you can achieve. The same counts for our walk with Christ. We can either look at ourselves and accept where we are or we can look at God and accept that we are made for more and then in our pursuit, rely on God, to get there.
#3 Pursue God for God
If you were to be honest with yourself and ask what the main reason is why you are following Christ, what would it be? Is it maybe to go to heaven? A lot of things can take God’s place in our lives without us even realizing it. This was the case for so many years in my walk with Christ. I got so concerned with running from sin that it became one of the main reasons why I followed Christ; because only He can truly deliver us from sin. Let Jesus be your desire and your reward. Let us not pursue God for the benefits of pursuing Him, but let us pursue Him because it is our hearts’ desire to be with Him.
#4 Understand Your Faith
It is one thing to say that Jesus died for your sins and it is a totally different thing to actually understand the implications and meaning it has for you today. It is one thing to say God is a gracious God and it is a totally different thing to actually grasp the immensity of His grace. Knowledge without understanding has very little value to us. Once you have the knowledge and you are able to understand then you start to change, because you are starting to grasp the immense weight of Jesus’ mission and the divine implications the completion of that mission has for those who believe. Always seek to know more about God and ask Him to reveal more of Himself to you so that you can also understand.
#5 Trust God
Now even though this might sound obvious, it is a vital part of the foundation of our faith. Let me explain with one example: Temptations have always been a great issue for humanity. Everyone has to fight against it, but not everyone is victorious over it. A temptation is simply a false representation of satisfaction. It promises all kinds of fulfillment, but it leaves you empty and filled with shame, guilt, and disappointment (James 1:12-16 describes it perfectly). Now, as Christians, we believe that God is our provider. He is our Father and takes care of us, however, when it comes to temptations we seem to forget about this. We lose trust in His ability to give us joy, pleasure, significance, and fulfillment, and so we turn our backs on God and pursue worthless voids because we don’t trust that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Imagine we trust God through all the ups and downs; we would have such fulfilling lives and reach so many great heights.
The Christian path isn’t always the easiest path to walk on. It is often really intimidating and requires great discipline because there are so many distractions that want to deceive us. So trust God no matter what and you will start to see that the more you trust Him, the more trustworthy you find Him to be.