In today’s reading from Acts, Paul continues to plead his case for freedom in front of the emperor. At one point, Agrippa says, “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?”
It wasn’t that long ago that I saw and realized such language doesn’t appear many other places in scripture – the language of ‘becoming.’ We BECOME Christians, we are not BORN Christians…we ARE (as in the verb, to be) humans at birth, children of God who become and grow into adults.
Duh? Well, yes and no. Something so obvious but it is helpful to be reminded by the Spirit that becoming a Christian requires something of me, just as becoming an adult does. Though we may be an adult in age many of us struggle to live as one, with all the commensurate responsibilities, privileges burdens and benefits of turning eighteen, then twenty-one. The buck just doesn’t stop at those birthdays. Aging into adulthood is not the same thing as becoming one.
And so as a Christian. Many of us are baptized as infants and graced at that sacrament with the Holy Spirit but unless we participate in our own formation as a Christian, as a disciple and follower and believer in Him, the Spirit, though in us, perhaps struggles to animate our lives and inform us.
A child of God? Yes. Always. A childhood-like trust and faith in Him? Jesus wishes that for us. But for the Spirit to animate our lives, to transform our hearts and minds, we have to grow up, to participate. Our childlike faith and trust in Him is nothing to take for granted. The buck just doesn’t stop at baptism. Becoming a Christian begins there.