What’s a real Christian?

a small church in Senegal rises out of the desert.

As I sit in my guest house room this morning in Thies, Senegal, I’ve been contemplating what it means to be a Christian.  Is it just saying a prayer?  Is it just going to church every Sunday?  Does it mean following a code of ethics, a list of legalisms or subscribing to a specific church’s doctrine? 

As I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a Christian, especially within a country where the church makes up less that 5 percent of the nation’s 16 million people, I’m forced to think about these things. 

“Nondiscipleship is the elephant in the church.  It is not he much discussed moral failures, financial abuses, or the amazing general similarity between Christians and non-Christians.  These are only effects of the underlying problem.  The fundamental negative reality among Christian believers nos is their failure to be constantly learning how to live their lives in The Kingdom Among Us.  And it is an accepted reality.  The division of professing Christians into those for whom it is a matter of whole-life devotion to God and those who maintain a consumer, or client, relationship to the church has now been an accepted reality for over fifteen hundred years.”  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, page 301).

Wow.  Isn’t that worth discussing?  That the body of Christ has allowed being a follower of Jesus to become a new brand of materialism?  I’ve got Jesus.  Ya, I’ve got Jesus.  So what is a real Christian?  I really do think it has more to do with being a disciple than anything else.

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