"If God’s objective for every believer is to transform us into total Christlikeness, then the objective of preaching is to motivate people to develop Christlike convictions (to think like Jesus), Christlike character (to feel like Jesus), and Christlike conduct (to act like Jesus)."-Rick Warren
As Christians being a Christian doesn't mean a title, it doesn't mean a position in a church, it doesn't mean worshipping traditions, denominations, or selfish agendas. Being a Christian mans being transformed from a lost to found, sinner to saved, and most of all maturing and growing into being less like the world and more like Christ.
Too many churches and too many Christians have been going about it all wrong, have wrong reasons, and follow traditions, rituals, religion, etc...and miss the point of being a Christian in the first place. God wants to see our lives change. He desires to see us grow from a human being that is living by the world standards and become a spirit-filled being that is living by God's Word and standards and striving to grow into a fully-devoted follower who is a part of His body(the church).
Where did we go wrong? Maybe many started out wrong? I am not sure? But, the goal of being like-Christ is to be Like Christ! God doesn't want us following or living by religious traditions, or going through the motions of Christian rituals that do not change us.. If you think about the quote above, the goal of Christianity is to totally transform our thoughts to think like Jesus, our character to feel like Jesus, and our conduct so we act like Jesus.
However, if all Christians were all thinking, acting, feeling, and thinking like Jesus I think we'd have a lot less church splits and factions, we'd have a lot nicer Christians, and we'd be making a greater impact in our personal lives and communities. The harsh truth is we got a lot of churches that are not being the body of Christ or acting like Christ and we got a lot of Christians who truly aren't living, acting, or being like Christ.
So what is the problem? I think Christianity without transformation is just shallow religion. God deserves and desires better from His followers. I think many people want to be Christians, but do not "totally surrender" their wills or lives to Christ, that is the first problem. When you want to only partially-surrender your life to Christ He can't truly transform you. A second problem is we have too many Christians who care more about their church politics, practices, traditions, and self-centered focus than they do about truly being a Christ-follower that reaches the lost and make disciples, which is and should be our mission as Christians and churches. You can't reach the lost and make disciple when you are focused inwardly on yourself.
Another problem is many so-called Christians simply don't grow much after being "saved" or becoming a "Christian. Just like an infant is totally dependent on their parent to live, we as new-born Christians have to totally be dependent on God, hungry for His Word, and led by His Spirit. Too many just go through motions and don't or stop growing their faith. You have to be in the Word regularly studying, you have to participate in the life of the church body by worshipping, serving, and giving with the right attitude and motives, and you have to desire to grow and mature so that God can use you, develop and deepen your faith.
My question for you is were you transformed when you gave your life to Christ if you are already a Christian? Are you striving to grow and mature in your relationship with Christ? Are you acting, feeling, and thinking like Christ or are you still struggling with the same sins, still acting the same old way, and no real change has taken place in your life?
I firmly believe that too many churches would be better off to dwindle and die that continue the Christian charade because they are not about the father's business, but simply inward focused and not transforming anyone. I also believe many Christians are giving God a bad name or breaking God's heart because they aren't being transformed or transforming others for Christ, but are simply dragging his name through the mud of religion, ritual, tradition, or sin.
Being a Christian is not to be taking lightly, and the name of Christ and His Church should not be taken lightly either. Be transformed by Christ, strive everyday to be like Him and the only way you are going to be like Him is to spend time with Him, His Word, His Spirit, and allow Him to transform you into the follower He wants you to be. Our main goal is a Christian should be to live to please the Lord and seek Him daily. Only total surrender, willing attitude, and desire to grow will transform us and our churches.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.