Some are satisfied just to be saved from eternal perdition, while others have continued to struggle to be better Christians. The question has many facets, implications, and complications. How to be a Christian? Is it all about good deeds? Is it all about trying to obey the Ten Commandments? Is it about doing great things for God? Is it about getting hundreds of thousands saved? Or is it just about being saved from eternal perdition? Let's take a journey along the path of this big question.
To those who are seeking the Lord in a genuine way, naturally we all have a concept of needing to do something for God. Like the disciples themselves had asked, "What shall we do that we may work the works of God?" (John 6:28). Also in Exodus 19, the children of Israel answered, "All that Jehovah has spoken we will do" (Exodus 19:8). To work for God is the mindset of most Christians throughout the ages.
This is how I often think of 'how to be a Christian' as well. However, the standard of God's work is, by no means, a human standard. Matthew 5:48 mentions, "You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." God's standard is God Himself. Yes, we can attempt to attain to this standard but in reality, we did and will always fall short of God's standard. So what then? Why then God put such high demands on us, if we can never attain them?
I don't know about you but I find the way the Lord answered the disciples' question in John 6 to be mysterious yet simultaneously revolutionary. Verse 29, "Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe into Him whom He has sent." So, as how to work for God, the least we can do and the best we can do is to believe into Him, Jesus Christ, whom God has sent. That's awesome! God put the highest requirements on us to emphasize the fact that we cannot do things for God and to emphasize the need of our believing that He will do all things for us. He becomes the supply to meet His own demand.
In Exodus 19, the children of Israel declared that they would do everything that Jehovah had spoken, but what had Jehovah been speaking? Jehovah was not telling them what to do, He was speaking concerning how He had done everything and would do everything for them-- He bore them on eagles' wings, He brought them to Himself to make them His personal treasure, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. I was deeply touched. I love the Lord but many times, I've misunderstood Him, thinking that He wants me to do something for Him. This shows how often I have loved blindly. The Lord wants to do everything for me, yet here I am, trying so hard to please Him without knowing what He truly desires. Believe it or not, His real desire is for me to believe into Him-- to believe that what I cannot, He can; what I have not, He has; what I am not, He is.
"...God did not appear for the purpose of telling man what to do. Instead, God came again and again to make promises, promises which indicate that God's intention was to do everything for man. On our part we should simply turn to Him, seek Him, love Him, be one with Him, and stand with Him in His interest. Then He will do everything for us. This was the situation with Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. These men received God's promise and they experienced Him coming to do things for them. God's intention is to do everything for His people" (Life-study of Exodus, pp.747-748).
You know, slowly I'm learning that what I really need is to subjectively know the Lord, not just know about Him. To believe into Him, I need to know who He is whom I have believed; and to know Him in this way, I need to spend more time with Him in His Word, praying while reading, reading while praying. This revelation has been a milestone in my journey, being a Christian.