October 8, 2009

You Are A Christian, Already? Answering Maya Angelou.

In A Song Flung Up To Heaven, Maya Angelou, one of my favorite authors, challenges someone who says "I am a Christian." Her response is "Already?" She suggests being a Christian is an ongoing process, that perhaps one is arrogant or short-sighted when saying "I am a Christian." Is she right? No, she isn't.

It is my connection to Christ that makes me a Christian. That connection is based on God's love, care, and protection of me as I yield to His will and methods. That's what makes me a Christian.My status as a Christian is based on God's love and grace, not my personal goodness. My standard of behavior should match and shadow that connection, but it doesn't always match up. That lack, however, doesn't mean that I am not a Christian.

Yes, I can say I am "already" a Christian because my hope and desire is to live out God's purpose for me. I can say I am "already" a Christian because I no longer believe I have the right to control every event and outcome of my life. I trust God to lead me in that way that's best for me. I mess up sometimes, but I get back up and trod the path again because His way is the only way for me.

I can say I am "already" a Christian because I accept that final scores will never be counted in this world. I live a life that could never be lived in my own natural power and abilities. God works miracles in me daily. I am challenged, but not destroyed, in situations that would have made me crumble to pieces a year ago, five years ago, or twenty years ago. God's power resides in me. Yes, I am a Christian.

I can be generous and kind to those who have not shown generosity and kindness because I do not look only to other people for my reward, defense, and well-being. I know from His word and from my experience that He will make up for what others lack, will send those people who need to cross my path, and banish those who only wish me harm. If I let Him.

I am confident that when my spirit can no longer abide in this body, God will provide for and protect the part of me that is eternal. I no longer identify my life only by what I see in the mirror.

Yes, I am a Christian. Already. Praise God.

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