HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BE A CHRISTIAN?
That thought seems to have been on the mind of the rich young ruler. He wanted to know “what good thing” he could do to have eternal life (Matt. 19). That would be great, to have all your spiritual obligations wrapped up in one single act of piety! But as in so many other things of life, being a Christian is more than a single act of glory whereby one is forevermore marked as the Lord’s. Just how long does it take to be a Christian?
Long Enough To Hear The Gospel: — “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard…?” (Rom. 10:14). But some must think that they have heard enough after becoming Christians, because they are not present to hear preaching
afterwards. (Heb. 5:17). Ever how long it takes to be instructed, exhorted, and admonished by the Word — that’s how long it takes to be a Christian.
Long Enough To Attend Services: — That same book of the Bible which speaks of continued hearing and study (above) also teaches about the need to attend worship services (Heb. 10:25). They go together, exposure to God’s Word and worship. Ever how long it takes to attend worship — that’s how long it takes to be a Christian.
Long Enough To Work For A Living: — Christians are to work for a living (2 Thess. 3:10). Gambling, freeloading, and stealing are frowned upon by society, you’ve probably noticed. Being a Christian is more than just what happens on Sunday and Wednesday evening. Ever how long it takes to work for your bread — that’s how long it takes to be a Christian.
Long Enough To Maintain Your Marriage: — The Scriptures are plain that husbands are to love their wives, and that wives are to respect their husbands (Eph. 5). If it takes time to work through problems, keep the home fires burning, make each other happy, so be it. God intends for His people to have godly offspring (Mal. 2:15), but too many homes are nests of bitterness and misery. Ever how long it takes to make a marriage work properly — that’s how long it takes to be a Christian.
Long Enough To Be A Good Neighbor: — The story of the Good Samaritan shows the responsibility Christians have to interruptions, going the second mile, and extending ourselves (Lk. 10). The epistles portray Christians who invite the lost to worship services (1 Cor. 14:23), who watch their tongues carefully (Col. 4:5,6), and who do good to all (Gal. 6:10). Ever how long it takes to be a good neighbor — that ‘s how long it takes to be a Christian.
Long Enough To Exhort And Encourage Brothers And Sisters In Christ: — We are to “incite love and good works” (Heb. 10:24), bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), and otherwise encourage one another as Christians. Ever how long it takes.
Long Enough To Be Faithful To The End: — When will it all stop? The Christian has to be in the race for the long haul. Doing so will change attitudes and build character. The rich young ruler apparently never made any significant changes in his life. There are no quick fixes for sinners. There is a new creature growing inside Christians, and ever how long a Christian’s life lasts — that’s how long it takes to be a Christian.
Is it just too much time? When a shirking lady was approached by the preacher about missing services, she exclaimed, “Well if I made all the services, that would be my whole life!” Exactly!
Christians must have enough time to do these things, because God doesn’t expect something of us that we cannot produce. On the other hand, Christians don’t have enough time to get into too much trouble, if they’re engaged in good works and the responsibilities listed above (Eph. 5:15,16). Not being Christians explains why some have too much time on their hands.
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