I am a Christian first. I am a student, but a Christian student. I am a daughter but a Christian daughter. I am a sister, but a Christian sister. I am a friend but a Christian Friend. I am black, but a Christian that is black. And for this reason, all my views and thoughts are through the lens of being a Christian.
The day I decided to follow Christ, I also committed to representing who Christ is and what he is about. My thoughts and actions are no longer just guided by what I feel, but I operate in a way that will display the characteristics of God. Or I try to operate in this way. I have a moral obligation to God, not to my job, or to the people I am around.
It might not be the popular opinion, but my goal is to make it to heaven and hopefully bring a few people with me along the way. And at the end of it all, I want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant…” (Matthew 25:23).
A Christian is defined as a follower of Christ, which was in reference to Jesus’ disciples in the city of Antioch after Christ left earth (Tyndale Bible Dictionary). Hence, if we are following Christ, then our blueprint should be the bible which is the word of God.
One can become a Christian by (1) hearing the Gospel (that Christ came to earth, he died for our sins and was raised to life immortal), (2) accepting this truth and (3) following the commands of God. If we accept this fact, then the next logical step is to get baptized and then continue to follow the commands of God found in the bible.
We follow commands such as: Do not kill, do not lie, do not commit adultery, Observe the Sabbath (Exodus 20). Also, we are instructed not too conform to the world (Romans 12:2), to be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32), to love our enemies and do good to them that hate us (Luke 6:32-42). However, the greatest commandment is to love God and the second greatest is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).
These are just some of the few things we are called to do as Christians. We have chosen to put our pass behind us and step into this new life that is now guided by Christ; which means that I choose to put everything else in second place and put Christ in the first place (2 Corinthians 5:17).
According to Corinthians 5:17, it is important that I view all situations from Christ’s point of view. I try to view the world with love and try to realize that all have sinned and are in need of salvation. But these days, that is hard to do. It is hard to love people who hate you and try to do everything in their power to let you know that you are not worth much.
But being Christian first, means choosing to love in spite of feeling like an eye for an eye is the best option. We choose to love even when our demands for justice has been shut down. We choose to love, even when there is a long history of hate and discrimination piled up against us because of a character trait that we cannot control.
We are called to “ Love [our] enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and [our] reward will be great, and [we] will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. [So]Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6: 35-36).
This was a difficult concept for me because I used to think that sins should be ranked: the worse your sin, the less like you are to be forgiven, but this is not so. Whether I consider it a little wrong versus a big wrong, it is still wrong, and God forgave me, so the same grace and mercy should be extended to another who is also asking for forgiveness.
Showing love and mercy does not mean that we don’t seek justice. Looking at the blueprint (the bible), God is a God of justice, of love and of mercy. We don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. I heard a statement, which I’ll paraphrase: “Some people can hijack religious beliefs for their own benefit, and this causes the whole religion to look bad because of a few people who take the beliefs out of context and use it to support their actions”.
This is the danger in our world today, and as Christians we need to be ambassadors for Christ. We need to show others who God truly is because we have experienced him in our daily lives. We have a duty to stand with the oppressed, “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8), and to forgive as Christ forgave us.
The only constant thing in life is Christ and his words. Our duty on earth is to show others who Christ is. So, before we speak and before we act, let us think “Am I representing Christ with what I’m about to say or do?” Before all else, let us remember we are Christians first, and our duty is to present Christ to the world.
Ashea West is a third-year medical student from Manchester, Jamaica studying in the USA. I am passionate about sharing the gospel, using whatever opportunities I am given. I do believe in blooming wherever I am transplanted.