Living the Christian Life – Chapter 2: Putting Jesus First

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries5 Minutes

According to the latest statistics, Christianity is the largest religion on earth, with more than two billion people identifying themselves as believers in Jesus. But according to the Bible, there is a big difference between someone who calls themselves a believer and someone who understands what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

What’s the Difference?

In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul described two important elements needed to enter into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ: believing and making Jesus the Lord of your life.

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your
heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with
the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth
he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10 NASB).

As you can see from this passage, it’s not enough just to believe. The apostle James explains:

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons
believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19 NIV).

In addition to belief, there must be a surrender of your will to God’s will. This is the way to make Jesus the Lord of your life. It means making a decision to live the Christian lifestyle by following the principles of the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

God and His Word are inseparable. The apostle John identified Jesus as the Word of God.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 NASB).

There are some who believe the Bible is an ancient book, out-of-date, and not to be taken seriously. But John says the Bible is Jesus—in other words, we know God by knowing His Word.

God gave us the Bible to show us how to live according to His plan—because He loves us and He wants us to have the abundant life that we talked about in chapter 1.

Many people have read the Bible or heard Christian sermons, but they have not allowed the principles to get into their heart and change their lives. They are merely “hearers” of the Word and not “doers” of the principles. The apostle James says hearing is not enough:

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise,
you are only fooling yourselves. But if you look carefully into the perfect
law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what
you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (James 1:22, 25 NLT).

You may have friends who tell you about their latest exercise regimen or weight loss program. You hear what they are saying, but until you go to the gym or change your eating habits, you will never reap the benefits of what they are telling you about how to lose weight.

It’s the same with God’s Word. Faith without corresponding action is dead (James 2:17). Christianity is more than just a religion—it’s a relationship with God through Jesus that requires a changed lifestyle.

Remember, God designed us to have fellowship with Him and to live according to His ways. If we embrace this relationship and this new way of living, we will experience abundant life. This life in Christ is like a fine sports car that requires ongoing maintenance and just the right kind of fuel and oil in order to have it run at peak performance to win races. To have peak performance in life, you need to live it according to God’s design.