Como ser um cristao constante. (which translates from the Portuguese as
“How to be a faithful Christian?”)

There are many ways to answer this question, and I would suggest you find
someone you know who is a faithful Christian and ask them. (By the way, I
do not speak Portuguese, and am hoping faithful is a correct translation
of constante) To quote Hebrews 13:7, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the
word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate
their faith.” Based on this scripture, you may want to imitate the good in
the lives of those you consider to be faithful.

Let me add a couple thoughts of my own. Many people are well-described by
the parable of the sower. Their spiritual lives are like the seeds which
fall in the rocky soil. They sprout up, get fired up about God, but when
times of testing comes (and you can be assured testing will come), they
wither and die. Bottom line, emotions are not a deep enough source of
strength to be the faithful Christian you desire to be. I would ask you to
consider two scriptures which may help you to gain perspective on how to
remain “constante.”

First, consider Jeremiah 17:5-8. To paraphrase, the man is cursed who
trusts in his fellow-man for his strength. In times of trouble, if we
trust in ourselves or in people or possessions, they will not sustain us.
If we trust in self, we will be “like a bush in the wastelands.” However,
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord… He will be like a tree
planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream.” He does not fear
when heat or drought comes because God will sustain him. You need to be
sure that you have counted the cost and decided to put your emotional
trust in God, not your own power. This is not easy. It will require a deep
well of faith and a careful look at yourself. However, as God, through
Isaiah assures us, we can find a source of dependable lasting strength if
we can somehow train ourselves to depend on God. You can ask yourself
whenever a tough situation comes along, “Who am I trusting in here? Am I
relying on God or am I returning to relying on myself or another person
for security in this situation.”

I am afraid I have not given you an easy answer here, but the fact is that
there is no easy answer to how to be a faithful disciple of Jesus. I will
ask you to consider one more passage. One of my personal favorites is
Deuteronomy 30:11-14 and 19-20. In these passages, God is asking his
people to make the sort of decision it seems you are asking about. How
will we “love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to
him?” The answer God gives to his people (and to you) through Moses is not
to trust your heart. It is not to start simply doing the right things and
hope the correct feelings will come along later. Moses tells the people
that they should “choose live, so that you and your children may live,”
and experience “many years in the land he swore to give your forefathers.”
In other words, living the consistent, faithful life for God requires a
very high quality of decision. You must count the cost (Luke 14:23-35),
consider your life and what God has to offer, and make a decision, once
and for all who you will serve. Do not fool yourself with some sort of
emotional “decision,” but rather with sober judgment, consider your life
and consider the life God has in mind for you, and before you put your
hand to the plow (Luke 9:57-62), decide you will never look back.

To summarize, the faithful, consistent life of a disciple of Jesus
required a commitment to draw strength from God and a careful, sober
decision to follow God. All this requires a great well of faith, some of
which can come from articles found at this web site. Even more so, faith
will come from hearing and doing God’s will as found in the Bible if you
will begin to apply it to your life.

John Oakes, PhD

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