Is it that I stop wearing makeup? Is it that I stop wearing pants? Is it that I toss my worldly music and stop dancing? These are all things that I did do in my early Christian walk about forty-plus years ago. But did doing those things make me Christian? Did doing those things identify me as a follower of Christ?
No. Many religions do those things and more. In fact, doing those things did make me judgmental of others. Colossians defines it as a sign of will worship or asceticism, but that doesn’t make me Christian. That merely makes me feel better.
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason in his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. 20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations–21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:16-23 ESV
So, if that doesn’t do it,–What makes me Christian? God made me Christian, and is still making me Christian in my thoughts, words and deeds. It’s a lifelong process called sanctification. But what makes me Christian started even before God created the world.
He chose me to be Christian before he created the world. He determined that I would be holy and blameless, through his Son, Jesus Christ, by whom I would have redemption through his atoning death, and receive the forgiveness of all of my sins. (Ephesians 1:4-7)
The Apostle Paul describes that at the appointed time, God chose to reveal his Son in him. (Galatians 1:15-16) Before he was an apostle, Paul was a persecutor of the church.
So, like the Apostle Paul, I can say too, that when God chose to reveal his Son in me, God opened my eyes and ears to hear the good news of the gospel and gave me faith to believe it and repent of my sins. That all happens miraculously, and virtually unnoticeable by us. God does what he promised under the New Covenant in Ezekiel 36:26-27 — he took out my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh, which enabled me to hear, see, and believe.
This miraculous work was described to Nicodemus by Jesus Christ as being “born again”. (John 3:5-8) That is what makes me Christian.
Since I’ve been on this journey, I no longer hold fast to those outward things to make me feel better, and appear more holy. I have learned that it is not the works that I do; although, my works (obedience to his word, loving God, and my neighbor) will be the evidence that I am Christian because I can only do these through the power of his Spirit working in me.