What does a Christian look like? Depending on who you ask, you might get any number of answers. Hollywood has their own version of what Christians look like. The media usually portrays Christians as unloving, judgmental people. The term “Christian” is actually never defined in the Bible. It was given to disciples of Jesus Christ by those outside the church (Acts 11:26). The New Testament is clear what a disciple or Christian looks like. Here are 5 attributes every Christian should have:
1. A person of faith.
Faith is believing in something you cannot see. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” NKJV. Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of our Christianity. It is what accesses the grace of God in our lives (Romans 5:1-2). Our salvation and the forgiveness of sins is completely based upon our faith in Him. It is not about how good we are or whether or not we can live up to a certain standard. Being a disciple of Jesus is about a relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:8-9). After we are saved, we are to continue to live in faith (Colossians 2:6). For some reason many people believe in being saved by faith, but after that they believe their walk with God is based on their works. The truth is, we are to walk by faith. Our relationship with God is only based on our faith and the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. When a person places their faith in Jesus there is a great exchange. God takes our sins and gives us the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9). We are complete in Jesus (Colossians 2:!0).
2. A person of love.
Jesus said to His followers in John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” NKJV. This is what defines us. Our lives ought to be characterized by love for others. It is how we treat our spouse, children, family and friends, and the stranger we meet. This love is an action. It is not empty words. When we study the life of Jesus and see how he loved others, we see him feeding them, praying for them, healing the sick, teaching, forgiving, etc. Every Christian’s life should be a life of love and compassion toward others.
3. A person of humility.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6, NKJV. Every believer in Christ should have a humble heart because the truth is, we are no better than any other person in the world. The only difference is we have been given God’s grace. This grace is offered to everyone and can be received by faith. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness (Romans 3:23). Every person in this world no matter how rich or poor, no matter the skin color or country of origin, good or bad; all are made in the image of God and loved by God (John 3:16). We must see ourselves and others as God does.
4. A non-judgmental person.
It is easy to point out sin. It is hard to get involved in peoples’ lives so you can introduce them to the One that has the answer for their sin. Paul writes in I Corinthians 5:12-13, “For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges…” NKJV. It is not our job to go around judging the sins of the world. Our job is to love them and introduce them to the Savior. Our response ought to be the same as Jesus’ response to the woman caught in adultery. He said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:11, NKJV. Jesus was the perfect blend of grace and truth (John 1:14). We are to also be full of grace and truth. Truth calls sin what it is, grace does not condemn. Some are full of truth but have little grace, and become judgmental. Why do we focus on one particular sin and overlook another? Why are we so quick to point out the sins of others and slow to point out our own “mistakes”. Others are full of grace with little truth and refuse to call sin what it is. Grace and truth go together. God is the judge of this world, we are not to judge the world!
5. A person of hope.
Every believer should be living with the hope of eternal life. We have a hope that this life is not the end and when we lose a loved one, we will see them again (I Thessalonians 4:13). “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil.” Hebrews 6:19, NKJV. Jesus Christ is that anchor that will never be broken, “for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” II Timothy 1:12.
We cannot change anyone. Only God can do that. We are to love others and introduce them to the One who can forgive their sins and give them a new life, just as we have been forgiven and given a new life. Being a Christian is about having a relationship with the One who died for our sins, Jesus Christ.