Have you ever met someone and were astounded to discover that they were a believer? Perhaps they live a life contrary to that of a Christian. Or perhaps they act flippant about Christianity in the presence of unbelievers.
To be clear at the outset: our actions are not what makes us Christians. Rather, the only way we can become a Christian is to put our full faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, believe that He died for our sins, and repent and turn from our sins. (Romans 10:9-10; John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 10:13; Acts 2:38-39; Romans 6:23; 1 John 1:9, etc.)
However, actions are important. After we become Christians, our desire is (or should be) to please the One who gave His life for us. A changed life and the continual desire to become more like Jesus everyday in our actions and in our thought lives are two ways
we can show our gratitude.
What are some other ways we can align our actions with our claim of Christianity?
- Model Christlike behavior with the help of the Holy Spirit. We are all sinners. Only by His help can we achieve such things as honesty, kindness, compassion, and gentleness. Only with His help can we be sure to guard our speech.
- Continue to grow in your walk. This can only be achieved by spending time in God’s Word, in fellowship with other believers, and spending time in praise and worship. Our goal should be that we strive to be more like Him this year than we were last year.
- Give others the benefit of the doubt. This can be a tough one. In our culture, it is popular to think the worst of others without knowing anything about them. This shouldn’t be so for those of us who claim to be Christ followers.
- Embrace humility. We all make mistakes. Everyone has things we struggle with no matter how long we’ve been a Christian. Be humble and own up to your mistakes and shortcomings. Seek the forgiveness of others when you have wronged them.
- Practice discernment. Our society glorifies things that counteract what we read about in the Bible. We live in a culture that places a great emphasis on feelings and opinions. Those in and of themselves are not bad, but when we turn to the only Truth Meter – the Bible – we are told what we should put our focus on.
- Show grace and mercy to others. It’s been said that those who have been shown grace are more willing to show grace to others. Haven’t we been shown much mercy and grace by our Lord? Shouldn’t we extend that to others especially when they don’t deserve it?
- Love others. This can be a tough one. As I sit here typing this blog post, I can think of someone I know who is extremely difficult for me to love. However, we are commanded to love others as ourselves and to place their interests above our own. Such love for others is a testament of our love for Him.
We should be different. We should be set apart. We shouldn’t blend in with everyone else, but rather we should stand out. It should be plain to others who we strive to live for. Nothing temporary. Nothing that perishes. But the One who is eternal.
May our actions align with our words. May we give no reason for someone to doubt our authenticity.