"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12–13 (Believed means to do, to follow, to obey; it does not mean to merely intellectually believe)
Being a Christian is not merely following a creed, though it does include that. It is not merely believing certain truths, though it is that, as well. It is the deliberate and daily choice of receiving Christ into your life as your Savior and Lord, of following, doing, obeying Him.
Becoming a Christian is a lot like having a gift offered to you. God is offering you a gift, but you need to accept it and open it to understand what it is. But more on that later.
There has to be a point in your life when you realize that there is more then the physical world and you are awakened to your spiritual need and say, "God, I know I am guilty, I know I am a sinner. I know that I do not measure up to your standard and I never will. However, your light has penetrated through the cracks of my life, exposing the darkness of my life and my spiritual nakedness. You have shown me my weaknesses, and my complete hopelessness of doing it my way. At the same time, I know I it is not through my own strength that I can become a Christian. So I am coming to you on your terms. I am turning from my sin, for without doing so no forgiveness is granted, and I lie naked and guilty before you. I believe that your Son, Jesus, whom stood at your right side as all things were created, became a man and walked among us. I believe that he chose to die on a cross for my sin. I put my trust in you. I choose to follow you."
Have you noticed that people are funny about opening gifts. There is a very popular book out called ‘Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus’ Which I think is clearly demonstrated in the way that each views a gift. Personally, I think it is a complete waste of time to wrap a gift for men.
While a woman will admire the wrapping job and carefully unwrap the gift hoping to use the ribbon or perhaps the paper later, a man will simply rip through the brightly colored paper as an obstacle. To a man, wrapping is in the way. It's just keeping him from the thing he really wants, which is what's in the box. That's all men generally care about – what’s in the box.
My mother, on the other hand, enjoys - and frequently prolongs - the unwrapping process. I've never understood it, but when someone gives her a gift, she'll say, "Thank you so much!" Then she'll set the gift aside for a while (which of course drives my brothers and me absolutely crazy at Christmas). Neither I nor my brothers can do that. If someone gives me a gift, I am going to open it immediately. I want everyone else to do the same, so I impatiently ask, "Mom, are you going to open your gift?"
"I'm going to do it later," she'll tell me. "After I eat breakfast."
"The gift?" I remind her when breakfast is over.
"Let me clean the dishes first."
"The gift?" I will ask, as she is stacking the dishes in the sink.
"I need to call your aunt and uncle first."
"Open the gift!" I say, unable to bear it any longer. "How can you just sit there knowing that there is an unopened gift sitting over in the corner?" (Once she actually left a gift unopened for several years)
In the same way, God has given each and every person who has ever lived a gift, and while it may look nice sitting over in the corner, it's not any good until we open it. The gift is just sitting there and for most of us it remains just sitting there, gathering dust as the days turn into months and the months into years.
Maybe you're thinking like so many do, "I'll get to it later. I know it's there. I just love the fact that it is there, but I want to do some things first." However, you are not promised tomorrow, you need to receive it. You need to open His gift. Until you have done so you do not possess the gift; you are only experiencing what you want for you, you are not experiencing what God has in store for you.
Most only get as far as saying, "I know Jesus is the Lord. I know He is the Creator of all things. I know He died on the cross. I know He is the answer to all my questions. I know He can forgive me of my sins. He is there knocking and except for this one little thing I would open the door, but it’s nice to know He is there, when I am want Him “But that's not enough, a gift is only good if it's being used, otherwise it is simply a pretty box in the corner and it will do you no good at all. So reach out and receive the gift.
Your Christian family can't do it for you. You can't do it for yourself just by saying, "I believe in my own way." You have to say, "Lord, I receive your gift of eternal life, happily and gladly. I trust in your promises and I choose to follow Jesus." Then you have to do it.
Have you done that yet?