ARUpon the RockHave you ever asked yourself, "Why am I a Christian?" Let us go beyond the superficial and delve into the essence of our faith.Some believers don't know why they are Christians. A person who does not know exactly why he is a Christian must seriously examine his position. Unless he consciously commits his life to the lordship of Christ with full understanding and conviction, his church attendance is mere ritual and his faith is mere superstition. We need to have a full understanding of why we attend church. The church must be built on the correct foundation; members must seek after spiritual rewards and recognize Christ as their sure foundation.
Some Believers Don't Know Why They Are Christians
Sometimes we may wonder how seemingly fervent believers can suddenly drop out of church altogether. Previously active in church work, regularly attending Bible study and never missing a single service, they now keep Christ totally out of their lives. We just cannot reconcile our observation of their past zeal with their present indifference because we think that they were once like us, truly knowing why we are here and why we are Christians.
Yet there may be times when we ourselves question why we ever got involved with Christ. A person who does not know exactly why he is a Christian must seriously examine his position. Unless he consciously commits his life to the lordship of Christ with full understanding and conviction, his church attendance is mere ritual and his faith is mere superstition.
We Need to Have a Full Understanding of Why We Attend Church
Not everyone who enters the church gates does so with the same motives or expectations. There are myriad reasons why some people attend church: pressure from parents, spouses, or friends; interest in eloquent speakers, activities, material benefits, or miracle; or sometimes, simply having nothing to do. But a church made up of such people rests on flimsy foundations and does not even approximate the church that Jesus said would prevail against the gates of hell (Mt 16:18). Unless its members fully understand the reasons why they follow Christ, this is not a true church.
The Church Cannot Be Built on the Wrong Foundation
Some people who saw Jesus' power wanted Him to be their earthly king and overthrow their Roman oppressors. Their faith in Him was founded on an expectation of a physical kingdom. But Jesus withdrew from them, for His kingdom was not of this world (Jn 18:36).
To those who seek political and economic gains, everything, including spiritual things, can only be understood in terms of the physical-unless they see a sign, they will not believe (Jn 6:30, 36). Indeed, there are many today who say that unless they see God, they cannot believe that He exists. And there are Christians who need to experience miracles at regular intervals throughout their lives, or they will forget or lose sight of the reality of God. Their foundation is not Christ, but miracles that they can see and feel with their physical senses.
Seek Spiritual Rather than Physical Rewards
In contrast with these wrong motivations that hinge on physical rewards, the love of God is the spiritual reward of a person whose faith is founded on Jesus Christ. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper points to the simple fact that the sacrifice of Christ is what spiritually attracts and keeps the true Christian (Jn 12:32-33). This is the beautiful way in which the Father draws people to Him who will persevere until the end. None of them will be lost, because they are taught of God (Jn 6:37-38). Those who come to Christ because of Christ Himself will have the full conviction that secures their resurrection on the last day.
Those Who Truly Know God Are the Foundation of the Church
The spiritual bricks and mortar of the church are those who truly know God and are known of Him, who stand on a sure foundation (2 Tim 2:19). They truly know why they are Christians and what they aim for in life. They confess that they are mere sojourners on earth and look forward to "the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb 11:10-16).
Seek to Be Rooted in Christ
Recognizing Christ as our sure foundation is only the beginning of establishing our faith. God has known "from before the creation" those whom He sets upon this sure foundation. The Christian, then, has to know Christ deeply—that is, to be rooted in Him—before he can be built up into His perfection (Col 2:10). The process starts with an intense desire to know Jesus Christ. This was the key to Paul's transformation from a merciless persecutor to an apostle with profound knowledge of Christ's love.
The Christian Needs to Share in Christ's Suffering
The sweetness that a deeply rooted Christian experiences as he "grows in the knowledge of (the) Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet 3:18) is something incomprehensible to someone outside the relationship. It thrives even in adverse circumstances: "that I may know Him ... and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming conformed to His death" (Phil 3:10), "and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed for I know whom I have believed" (2 Tim 1:12).
Sharing in the sufferings of Christ draws the Christian closer to Him, because by drawing closer he cuts himself off from sin (1 Pet 4:1). In this manner, the Christian not only shares in Christ's death, but also experiences the power of the resurrected life: "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection...that...I may attain to the resurrection from the dead" (Phil 3:10-11).
The More We Know Christ, the Deeper We Are Grounded in Him
The goodness of Christ fully satisfies a Christian who reaches deep enough to tap its inexhaustible resources: "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph 3:17-19).
As the Christian begins to understand Christ's love, he also begins to realize his own imperfections. To the Corinthians, Paul wrote (circa AD 55): "For I am the least of the apostles" (1 Cor 15:9). Years later, he wrote to the Ephesians (circa AD 61): "I am less than the least of all the saints" (Eph 3:8). And toward the end of his life, he wrote to Timothy (circa AD 63): "sinners, of whom I am chief" (1 Tim 1:15). The more he knew Christ, the deeper Paul felt about his own imperfections, and the more he appreciated the extent of Christ's love for him. At this stage, nothing could separate him from his Lord.
A Christian Must Be Deeply Rooted Because He Stands against the Tide
A Christian needs to be deeply rooted in Christ and His words because he is called to stand against the tide. Being rooted in Christ, we grow in "the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph 4:13-14). We must be "strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Eph 6:10). Then, not only can we defend against evil, but we can also "wrestle against flesh and blood, against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12).
Christ Is the Foundation upon which the Christian Stands
There is no other foundation but Christ, the solid Rock upon which the Christian stands. Rooted in Christ, a Christian is like a strong tower, an emblem of unyielding strength against the tide. The world passes away quickly, but the Word of God endures forever (1 Pet 1:24-25). Every Christian who hears the Word and practices it faithfully also endures, as he has built his house upon the rock of Jesus Christ (Mt 7:24).