Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s the fact that I am in my 40th year of full-time ministry. Maybe it’s that I’ve been a bishop for six years and see the church from a different perspective. Or maybe it’s the Holy Spirit at work. Probably it’s all of them – as well as some other things I still haven’t figured out. But for some reason, I’ve recently been asking myself a question (and, yes, I do talk to myself – a lot!) over and over, “What kind of Christian do I want to be?”

The interesting thing about my response (remember, I do talk to myself – a lot!) is that it always begins with the kind of Christian I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be one kind of Christian in public and another in my private life, although I’m sure that happens far too often. I don’t want to be a “super-Christian” fixated on trying to prove how holy I am. I don’t want to be a Christian who says I want to do God’s will, but then goes ahead and does what I want to do and lives the way I want to live, assuming God is fully on board with my plans. I don’t want to be mean-spirited, especially in an age that has perfected the art of shade throwing. But most of all, I don’t want to be one of those Christians others look at and say, “Well, if he’s what a Christian is like, there’s no way I want to be one of them.”

So, what kind of Christian do I want to be?

I want to be a Christian who knows what it’s like to have every bit of my life grounded in the unconditional love of God – especially when it gets up-close and personal. I want to be a Christian who actually experiences what it’s like to have God’s love be more powerful than all my insecurities, failures and mistakes when life falls apart, and not just when it’s on cruise control. I want to be a Christian who doesn’t just call on Jesus when I think I need him, but because this is the heart and soul of who I am.

So, what kind of Christian do I want to be?

I want to be a Christian who believes with every fiber of my being that because Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected from the dead, he gives me what I absolutely need but can never do on my own. I want to be a Christian who accepts Jesus’ invitation to be in a relationship with him as Lord and Savior every single moment of every single day. I want to be a Christian who is a Jesus-follower all the time, not just when it’s time to go into disciple mode. I want to be a Christian who is head-over-heels in love with Jesus for all of eternity.

So, what kind of Christian do I want to be?

I want to be a Christian who is becoming the person God dreams for me more and more every day because the love of Christ is transforming my attitude, beliefs, temperament, intentions and actions from the inside-out in. I want to be a Christian who not only can name the fruits of the spirit, but also can actually exhibit some of them. I want to be a Christian who will stand up boldly in the face of injustice. I want to be a Christian who is filled with joy regardless of what is going on in the moment. I want to be a Christian who can be honest – even gut-wrenchingly honest – because my hope is in Jesus.

So, what kind of Christian do I want to be?

When all is said and done, I want to be a Christian who so longs for everyone to experience the depth, meaning, purpose and joy Jesus offers that I am willing to share it with them.

So, how about you – what kind of Christian do you want to be?