Believe me, they are not the same thing at all! You can religiously do anything from watching the news to fishing or hunting or whatever you really like to do. But being a true follower of Christ, an actual Christian, who has had his heart broken by the Holy Spirit and has repented of his old life so he can live a new life in Christ…that is a whole other dimension of being a disciple.
Are there Christians in the world who actually live that way? Yes, there are but as the Lord, Himself said, “there are few who find it“. I don’t mean that being a Christian is an exclusive club or something but there are few who will follow the leading of the Lord on the way to eternity and that is by His words, not mine. Can anyone be successful at living the life of a Christian? No, at least not on your own strength and ability. If the Holy Spirit is not living in your heart and giving you the will to do what is needed and stay true to the narrow path then you won’t be successful at it…period.
It is not a decision which is made only once and then you go on your merry way back to the life that you enjoy until Jesus comes. Just because a fence is painted white once doesn’t mean that it will stay that way without maintenance. That is the life that you are taking on when you truly repent of your old life and determine to follow the Holy Spirit leading you into a new life. Reading God’s Word, praying about your walk with Him daily, seeking His will in every area of your life, praying for others to come to know Him as you do and keeping your steps on this pathway until He calls you home. Asking His forgiveness for any slip of the tongue or of your way as you do walk with Him and truly repenting of those sins as they dirty your feet on the way.
Can we live this way? As I said earlier, yes we can with the Holy Spirit’s help to focus our spiritual eyes and our ears so that we can see and hear those things which we need to hear and not those which do not help us in any way. Is it a struggle to do these things? It may be for a while, as we get accustomed to His teachings and His leading on a daily basis. But, after that, it will become easier. We will never be perfect at walking without sin but we will be able to avoid it or at least be granted forgiveness for those sins which do get in from time to time.
How will we know? Because, if you are walking this close to the Holy Spirit, any word or thought which is outside of Him will immediately be flagged by your Spirit as wrong and not part of His leading or His teaching. We won’t be perfectly capable of catching these all of the time but as you keep walking with Him it will get easier. The one sin which can creep into a disciple’s life is the oldest of sins and that is pride. That is the one which every gospel and every letter written in the New Testament says to guard against most fiercely because once it gets a foothold it can grow other sinful feelings along with it.