By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
Have you ever heard someone say sarcastically, “those Christians are a bunch of hypocrites.” Or, there is nothing Christian about this person. Many people are unsure about what it means to live the Christian life. The lifestyle and practices of many professed Christians have caused many to be cynical about the Christian faith. That cynicism has made if very challenging to proclaim the name of Jesus because some unbelievers cannot see any difference between a so-called Christian and a non-Christian. Therefore, we need to reimagine the Christian life.
What are the fundamental characteristics of the Christian life? First, the Christian life is about conformity to the will of God by the Spirit of God. In Romans 12:2, Paul tells us “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” That conformity influences the way we live, the things we do and say, and the altitude of our faith. The renewing of our minds to think of whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
Second, the Christian life is marked by a sensitivity to sin, repentance, and confession. In 1 John 1:8-10, we are told, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” The Christian life is not about perfection, it is about perfecting. We are being transformed into the likeness of Christ through a life of consecration and surrender to Almighty God.
Third, the Christian life is rooted in love. Love is the prerequisite for discipleship to Christ. In 1 John 2:9-11 we read, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” People wonder about our Christian identity when our actions are not rooted in love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, gives us a visual of what love is and how it should be practiced.
Fourth, the Christian life is defined by a pursuit of holiness. Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 put it more bluntly, “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Holiness is not a choice but a necessity for living the Christian life to the glory of God.
Fifth, the Christian life is faith-based. We know that we are Christian because we believe the things that God has revealed concerning His Son, Jesus Christ. We have eternal life in Him alone (1 John 5:9-12). Faith is the entryway to the Christian life according to 1John 1:9. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). The believer walks in power and authority because of their faith in the resurrected Christ.
So then, are you living out the Christian life? Is your perspective about the Christian life aligned with the word of God? Jesus gives a stark warning in Matthew 25:31-46, to those who identify themselves as Christians but are not living the Christian life. We must pray fervently for the Holy Spirit to give us the courage and discipline to walk in the will of God so we can live as his chosen people, his royal priesthood, his holy nation, and his special possession (1 Peter 2:9).
Prayer- Blessed Lord, please help us to live out the Christian life to the glory of your name. Reveal our spiritual blind spots to us so we do conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds through Christ Jesus.