The secret life of a Christian belongs in intimacy. Intimacy that is developed between a Christian and God. This is a life that is not easy to be understood just by observation of another’s faith through the other’s speech, thought or deed. Daniels’ secret life with God was not understood by his enemies. This revelation has often caused me to wonder as to what makes a Christian. When I first started my walk with God, I had many opinions about who a Christian should be even though I did not necessarily portray or demand that same expectation of Christianity in my own life. I aspired to become perfect and Christlike based on the convictions of my conscience, prayer, what I had heard preached, understood through my own study of the Bible and by observing what other Christians did. I realised then and do so even now that I was on a path that was not exactly what I expected when I was confronted with ongoing revelations of who a true Christian is. The changing dynamic of Christian life was like a see- saw for me when I observed what Christianity in modern days really portrayed. For example; one day I thought a person that I was observing was a true Christian, till I discovered some flaw in that person that was so un-Christian like. Then again, on other occasions, I would observe Christianity in persons who would least qualify for that title.
I began to realise the problems all these posed for unbelievers when observing Christians. Their first question was; “Why are there so many differences between people who call themselves Christians”? The second question was; “Why do they sin and expect us unbelievers not to sin”? The questions increased even as their observations increased about Christians. The same questions arose inside the so called Church and many started to leave and form their own groups and opinions. This of course caused even more confusion for everyone as to who a Christian really was because each one portrayed their own brand of Christianity. The dilemma for the ordinary person was growing. I decided, I could not try and understand Christianity based on what I observed in people without first aligning myself to Christ’s opinion of who a Christian is. So, this began a journey of study and understanding that brought much to light sobering me up somewhat greatly. I began to realise, to be a Christian, required my relationship with God through Christ to be constant in His will without blemish. When blemish was discovered, it required me to confess my sin, repent and correct my ways. These corrections were to take place not by my effort but by the conviction of the Spirit of Truth and the word. The Spirit knows what a Christian should think, behave and look like. I realised quickly that I could not decide for myself what God had already decided for all mankind. Apostle Peter found that out in respect of salvation to the Gentiles Act 10:15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
The uniqueness of each individual did not preclude him or her from the requirements of God to be Christ like. We observe characters in both the Old and New Testaments who vacillated between sin and righteousness to extremes and yet were accepted of God. However, the acceptance was not without correction. It is in this correction that we discover the compassion and love of God along with His grace toward a pitiable human being who considers himself somewhat proud to be who they think they are. King David was such a man who vacillated between sin and righteousness and yet, God considered him a man after His own heart. Strange as this may seem, what is even stranger is the non acceptance of sinners by God who have committed sins in like manner to King David, be it, they did not even come close to such enormity of sin as murder, adultery and lies all in the one go. In the New Testament, it is recorded that committing one sin is equal to committing all sin. Jas 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. Jas 2:11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
This makes me think that a Christian is whom God makes that Christian to be according to His application of His word to that person. There are common themes in the Bible that is applicable to all of us as to what a Christian should be like. Like, being born again and walking in the Spirit. Yet, the nature of one’s Christianity and faith can vary causing one to judge another wrongfully. The potential Christian is what we must see. God expects us to take the beam out of our own eye before we seek to pull the sliver out another’s. This means, we could be with sin and near to judgement and yet be thinking another is sinful or not a Christian. We are called to judge and know who is of God and who is not of God at any given time. This is not an easy task as we can easily be found to be judges of condemnation rather than judges of righteousness. By this I mean, instead of assessing correctly and dealing with the situation according to God’s word, we could be taking on our own method of judgement which may include the respecting of persons. This happened when the Pharisees brought the woman taken in adultery to Jesus to be judged according to the law. He did not judge her nor did He condone her actions. Instead He forgave her and corrected her. After this, it was up to her to continue in righteousness or face a worse end.
I am persuaded that the patience of God is separating the sheep from the goats. From the beginning of time, God has been judging mankind in so many ways that it would be impossible to conclude from that as to who can be saved. I do believe Peter asked this question of Jesus. Jesus replied; “with God, nothing is impossible”. The Old Testament had so many characters in it who were unsaved because of their behaviour and yet others were saved by faith in God without Jesus. They had a foreknowledge of the Messiah but it was only faith that drove them to God and the keeping of His commandments in fear. After Jesus, we see that faith has not lost its flavour regarding salvation. Without faith it is impossible to please God. This brings me to the many Churches with many so called Christians who are far from being Christians because they do not exemplify the Christian life. To many of them it is a religion to be kept that way.
The difficulty for each individual is in working out their salvation with fear and trembling. They really have no collective support in deciding their salvation. For example; they cannot belong to a Church or a denomination and be saved. They cannot do good works and be saved. They have to be born again and walk with Jesus and have their lives examined by the Holy Spirit to assure themselves that they are saved. It is very obvious to see many unsaved people calling themselves Christians but are not because of what they do, is just not of Christ. The more subtle offenders are harder to discern because they hide under so many doctrines and theological persuasiveness that they do not make sense to the saved but still exist among them. Then there are the wolves in sheep’s clothing to consider. That is why we are constantly warned to walk in discernment and test the spirits of man. At the end of the day, each individual will be required to know that they are saved for themselves. This makes up for the secret life of the Christian. I believe it is a beautiful life when one understands the simplicity of the faith and enters into the rest of God. Added to this, if we realise that our journey is not to condemn but love and save souls from darkness and sin, then, we would have done what was needed. Which one of us can say we knew we needed to be saved? Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. Salvation belongs to the Lord. The preparations of the heart are that of a progressive nature. One cannot afford to sit back and say they are saved and then live riotous sinful lives. It is in the progressive journey of salvation that we see the preserving hand of God, keeping us on the journey by His own will. Pro 20:28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy. The secret life of a Christian is most evident in the peace and wisdom of the presence of the Lord upon that person. This could even be when a person is very busy doing things. The presence makes the difference. Then we can conclude they are walking in salvation.
I have seen people die in my ministry who went in peace. They had been tremendously troubled by evil, sickness and disease but when their time came, they went in peace. In the secret place of their heart and mind, they had come into salvation with God. Pure observation alone is not going to determine who a Christian is, though it may help from time to time. I think we will be surprised as to who gets into heaven and who does not. The astounding statement of Jesus to the Samaritan woman is sobering. Joh 4:20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Joh 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Joh 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. Here was a whole sect of people who had been worshipping erroneously without understanding. When Jesus spoke to the people of Sychar afterwards, they heard Him for themselves and were saved. I believe many so called Christians are worshipping erroneously. Even, so called good Christians do not seek God for who He is. They seek Him who is a Spirit in the flesh.
I believe my ministry is to the Church. This has been proven to me so many times over. It is for this reason I spend my time preparing hearts. It is my job to lead them into the truth that God has given us as a people. Faith will decide who goes in and who stays out. The five foolish virgins realised at the last minute that they were left out. God bless you.
Lots of love