Nowadays, many Christians don’t bother about whether they study the word of God or not. Some do not care about going to church to contribute to the growth of the body of Christ. Others don’t even pray at all on their own while they find excuses for not going to prayer gatherings. If you ask a Christian who doesn’t go to church, you are probably going to get excuses from him/her. One of the common reasons given for not going to church is that one does not become unchristian for not going to church.
The question we should be asking ourselves is this: what does it mean to be a Christian? Does being a Christian mean that we can do whatever we like? To answer these questions, let’s get to the genesis of the term Christian. In Acts 11:26, we are told, “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
Notice that initially followers of Jesus Christ were simply called disciples. And noticed that Barnabas went to Tarsus to find Paul and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. As the scripture rightly said that they assembled themselves with the church and it was through their attitude that they were called by the gentiles Christians – they behaved like Christ.
Now, a disciple is simply a student or a learner. But being a Christian goes a step further. Matthew Henry in his commentary on this particular verse said, “Hitherto the followers of Christ were called disciples, that is, learners, scholars; but from that time they were called Christians. The proper meaning of this name is, a follower of Christ; it denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces the religion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it his chief care to shape his life by Christ’s precepts and example“. In essence, a Christian is someone who lives and behaves like Christ by following His example.
One of the excuses given by carnal Christians is that church is no more interesting or entertaining. Now, let me state that the Christian must have it at the back of their mind that the main purpose of any Christian gathering must be about the Father’s business. Two main things are needed to live a successful Christian life: the Word of God and Prayer. If you don’t study the Word of God, you won’t understand the importance of praises, prayer, worship, thanksgiving, evangelism, etc. You don’t go to church for entertainment – you go to church so that you can learn, pray, praise God and study the word of God. If you find the word of God or prayer to be of no interest to you or boring in Christian gatherings, then there is the need to check yourself. If you say church is no more interesting and that’s why you don’t go any more, ask yourself this simple question. Is church an entertainment ground or a place where you’re to meet with fellow Christians to build each other up? Singing of hymns, praises and worship are done to celebrate God – not to entertain you.
Concerning the Word of God, this is what the Bible say, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success“, (Joshua 1:8). Concerning prayer, the Bible says, “Pray without ceasing“, (1 Thessalonians 5:17). And to top it up, we are encouraged to, “Hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;). Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching“, (Hebrews 10:24-25). Notice the phrase, “as the manner of some is”.
A Christian is someone who follows the example of Jesus. We learn that Jesus was always in the Synagogue and he always found time to withdraw and pray, (Luke 4:16, 5:16, 6:12, Mark 1:35). The disciples imitated Jesus. In Acts 3:1, we are informed that, “Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.” It means there was a set time when the Apostles and other disciples go to the temple to pray as a group.
The apostles and the disciples found time to assemble to learn, study and discuss the word of God as well as pray. This was something they learned from Jesus for which reason they were called Christians. If your appetite for prayer and the word of God is waning, you’re advised to check yourself. If you don’t study the word of God and don’t pray, how would you stand when the evil days come? Jesus Himself advised us, “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation“, (Mark 14:38). The Christian who doesn’t pray and doesn’t care for the word of God can be likened to a man who built his house on sand and when the storms of life came it fell greatly, (Matthew 7:26-27). Such a Christian is lukewarm, and the Bible says concerning Lukewarm Christians, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth“, (Revelation 3:16).
If you are losing your appetite for the word of God and prayer, please remember that you are being a lukewarm Christian. Go to church, study the word of God, and pray everyday to get back on track. Let’s follow the example of Jesus and just be like Him.