Wouldn’t it be great if the Christian life had a check list? A recipe of sorts to provide instructions that we could follow to ensure we were being “good Christians”? Few things in life really work that way. In fact, even recipes followed exactly don’t always turn out. They fail to account for effects of the weather, slight differences in ingredients, variance in oven temperatures, or a number of other factors. And “good” is in the taste buds of the eater. So what does it take to be a good Christian?
Many will say that it means reading your Bible daily, praying at least twice a day, serving at church, tithing, supporting a missionary, evangelizing, and the like. These are all great activities for Christians, but they are not what the Christian life is all about.
A Christian is someone who has been made new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and restored to relationship with God. The Christian life is about getting to know God, enjoying Him and bringing Him glory (Isaiah 43:7; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 17:1–5, 22). It is true that when we know God certain actions will naturally result. Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14). But before that He said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. . . . Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. . . . This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:1–11). Obedience—living the “good Christian” life—flows from a loving relationship. And obedience helps us remain in God’s love and therefore experience His joy.
Being a “good Christian” is not about performing certain actions. It is about growing in love for Christ and allowing His Holy Spirit to transform our hearts and lives. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), the recipe-writer and taste-tester for our lives. As we seek to know God and glorify Him, we also get to enjoy Him (Psalm 73:25—26). The good Christian knows God, enjoys God, and grows in grace.
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