“I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Introduction:

Sadly, it seems that Christians today are better recognized by what we are against than what we are for. It is true that there are many things God has called us to turn our backs on, but I think we should be recognized by what we are for. I think we should be living examples to both unbelievers and fellow Christians as well. Following is a handful of characteristics that I believe the bible teaches that Christians should be known for:

One – LOVE: 1 John 4:8, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (ESV).

Love is an automatic internal result of anyone who truly follows Christ. In reality, it appears to me that one’s faith in Christ is questionable if they do not demonstrate love. Regardless of the circumstance, reaching out in love is one of the things that should separate us from the rest of the world. “God loves us, even when we don’t reflect the same image in return” (Jarrid Wilson). We owe it to others to try and do the same.

Two – GRACE: Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (ESV).

The Grace of God has covered a multitude of sins, and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross paid the penalty for them. Although we don’t deserve the grace we have been generously given, Jesus continues to offer us grace regardless of our situation. As Christ is our ultimate example, we should be known for the grace and forgiveness that we show others. It is true that it isn’t always going to be deserved forgiveness, but we need to remember that ours wasn’t either.

Three – PURITY: Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV).

This is much harder to say and read than it is to live out. Something to remember here too is that when Christ-followers use the word “purity” the implication goes beyond that of just sex. It certainly includes that, but it also refers to our speech, actions, and motives as well.

Four – PATIENCE: Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” (ESV).

“In today’s fast-paced, drive-thru, entrepreneurial world, patience is key. And while the rest of the world may like quick-fixes and turnkey circumstances, the Word of God has called us to be patient amidst all things. This may not always be the easiest task, but it will always be the right path to choose” (Wilson).

Five – SACRIFICE: John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (ESV).

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross demonstrates the unparalleled amount of sacrifice that God bestowed toward His people. Although we can never begin to match the ultimate sacrifice that took place around 2,000 years ago, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue the example of sacrifice placed before us. Christ-followers should be known for their selflessness and willingness to sacrifice.

Six – SELFLESSNESS: Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (ESV).

I wonder how many people give only because they hope to receive. The Word of Faith movement preys on victims by preaching this message. Do you give to allegedly receive “ten-fold” or because of an overflow from your heart? The concept of selflessness paints a portrait that says, “Whatever I can do, I will do. Whatever I can give, I will give.” Selflessness is putting others before yourself, and God before everyone. It may not always be the easiest thing to do, but displaying selflessness says more about a persons heart than any words they speak. All that we have is never really ours to begin with as it all belongs to God.

Seven – DEPENDABLE: Matthew 5:37, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (ESV). Or, as we might say today, “Keep your word.”

When Christ-followers say they will do something, they should make sure and follow through with it. “In the ways of Christ, we must show the world we can be trusted, and that our word will not be broken” (Wilson).

Eight – RESPECT: 1 Peter 2:17, “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (ESV).

It is a given that we will come across people with views that are different from our own. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t still be respectful in our discussions and debates in our areas of disagreement. At the same time we shouldn’t take differing theological perspectives as attacks on our person. We have too many thin-skinned believers trying to take part in “iron sharpens iron” discussions. It would be wise, and much less stressful, not to enter these types of discussions if one gets hurt too easily.

One place that disrespect runs rampant is in today’s media coverage. You’ve heard the saying, “Christians are the best at shooting their own wounded?” Well, it’s true. You have the media highlighting stories of disrespect toward Christians from Christians. We read the headlines and claim, “I would never do that” or “I would never say that” before we even know if the story being shared is true. We should be known as a group of respectful people who, even in disagreement, can accept and give criticism while showing love and grace.

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that “respect is earned,” and there is much truth to this. However, as believers, why not go in with the intention of showing respect from the very beginning until we are given a legitimate reason to believe one to be disrespectful? When and if this occurs then we can re-evaluate and wait for them to earn that respect. But we can do this without being disrespectful ourselves.

Just some thoughts I was reflecting on and decided to share. I know this list is not exhaustive, what would you add to this list of Christian characteristics?

Source: FaithWriters.com

Tagged with:

Filed under: Christian Living

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!