I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
What does it mean to be a Christian? What does the life of a Christian really look like? What is God’s standard and desire for a Christian brother or sister? In this article, I want to elaborate on what I’ve come to know true Christianity to be. There is no cookie-cutter kind of Christianity, as God has created us all uniquely and for a specific purpose. However, there is a common place we all must start in this journey.
I’ve titled this article, “This is what is always in God’s Will,” but before we dig into the details, I just wanted to create a baseline for what or who a Christian is. This is because God’s Will is that we all become Christians – followers of Christ.
Just as John 3:16 tells us, God sent His only Son to come to earth to become the atonement for our sins, and to buy us back through His blood shed on the cross. That we would accept Jesus Christ and believe in Him and follow Him and be set free from the grasp of death. In doing this, we would be forgiven for all our sins and would be given the free gift of Salvation – Eternal Life in the presence of God in Heaven. This is God’s Will. Everything else in this article moving forward is just details for right-living unto God.
But it’s the details of how we live that build our character into one that God can use to further grow His Kingdom and accomplish His Will in others. God can always find ways and people to do His work, but there is a blessing that comes with obedience. There is growth and wisdom and closer fellowship to God, and this alone is a great reward.
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So, what is God’s standard and expectations of a Christian?
Knowing that believing in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior will gain you Salvation, it’s also vitally important to know that this isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it lifestyle and decision. Growth only happens through action. To be a Christian, you need to be Christ-like.
Think about when you were growing up. Who was your hero? Who did you look up to and most want to be like? Chances are, you mimicked what they did, how they talked, and maybe even the way they dressed. You wanted to grow up to be just like them.
Well, following Jesus is similar to this. Jesus is the perfect role model. The four Gospels in the New Testament showcase His life on earth, and they lay a great foundation for how to be like Him. Jesus didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it. We aren’t called to judge the world, but to be loving and kind, unconditionally.
God is the Judge and there will be a day for Judgment. But we as Christians play no part in leading that trial. Instead, we as Christians are expected to Worship God, and to be of service to Him by being filled with love for others and extending God’s mercy to others as He has for us.
We are expected to have a daily engagement with Christ, getting to know Him more personally. We are expected to deny ourselves daily and follow Christ, just as Luke 9:23 tells us.
Here are three steps of action we can take to be Christ-like and to move towards fulfilling God’s Will.
- Daily spiritual growth leading to spiritual maturity
- Daily obedience to God
- Daily service to God
1. Daily spiritual growth leading to maturity
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God
Spiritual maturity happens over time. New Christians aren’t spiritually mature. Christians who don’t actively follow Christ and deny themselves daily aren’t spiritually mature. Only those who humbly seek the Will of God each day through developing closer fellowship with Christ are on the path to spiritual maturity.
This sometimes seems difficult, and it is. But it’s not impossible. God will enable you to do His work and to stay on the path He puts you on. It won’t necessarily be pretty, and you will surely make mistakes. But God isn’t looking for perfection; He’s looking for devotion and loyalty.
God has grace and mercy. This means, He forgives and blesses, even the imperfect. Many people want to follow God, but feel like they’re not good enough. Don’t let Satan tell you this lie. Ignore it when you hear it. No one is good enough. That’s why Jesus died. When you have Christ in you, you have the righteousness of Christ in you, also. God sees the Son in you, and this makes you, “Good enough.”
Daily bible reading and praying will allow you to increase in knowledge and understanding of who God is and what He expects. It’s by the constant study of the Word of God that you will grow and develop your relationship with God. It’s a developed relationship with God that unlocks spiritual maturity.
As you are gifted another day, use it to get to know God more intimately. Again, it might not be perfect, but put in an effort to remain devoted to following Jesus and resisting the devil. You’re stuck in a world of spiritual warfare, and the best defence is to be filled with the Spirit and knowledge of God.
2. Daily obedience to God
If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land
Obedience to God comes in many forms. Understanding His expectations and doing your best to follow them are the first steps to obedience. Sometimes, you might get a message from God to do something specifically, but not always. For the times when you don’t, just understand that God still expects you to be obedient in your daily devotion and loyalty to Him.
Surrendering to Him and denying yourself of sinful living is the expected obedience that pleases Him. By doing this, you will grow and develop the way He desires. God doesn’t want you to defeat the devil everyday. He wants you to surrender to Him and allow the Holy Spirit in you to defeat the devil everyday.
Spending time learning the Word of God will equip you with the knowledge of how to live and what truth is. This way, when the enemy comes and tells you lies or tries to tempt you, you can remain obedient to God and faithful to Him.
Rebuking the devil when he’s attacking you is obedience to God. Not allowing yourself to stray from the path God has you on will get easier as you mature and learn Scripture. Learning of God’s expectations through bible study will reveal many ways that you can be obedient each day. Learning to hear the Spirit of God speaking to you will aid in your ability to make the right choices.
The Scripture here in Isaiah says that if you’re obedient and willing, that you’ll eat the good of the land. This really sounds like it’s saying that God blesses obedience and good behavior. People always want to be blessed by God, well, here’s the secret; be willing and obedient.
3. Daily service to God
1 Peter 4:10
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
When you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you get more than Salvation; you get the Spirit of God as your Helper who will never leave you. He is your Seal, which is your mark that you belong to God.
With the Holy Spirit, you get a spiritual gift, and maybe gifts (plural). Some people will never realize one spiritual gift, let alone multiple gifts. However, this doesn’t mean that they weren’t given one. It means they never put in the effort to realize it and develop it.
I spent nearly twenty years just drifting along pretending to be a Christian. I believed in Jesus and I prayed daily, but I sure didn’t act like a Christian. I didn’t spend my time growing closer to Him, nor did I spend much time being of service to God or His Kingdom. Instead, I floated through life chasing every dream and personal desire. Eventually, I got to a point where I felt like life had very little meaning, and that I was merely spinning my tires and going nowhere.
I heard of spiritual gifts, but I believed that I didn’t get one. I believed that God chose to not give me one, that I didn’t deserve it. But this was a lie the devil sold me, and I bought all of it.
Moving forward, I spent time reading the bible and watching sermons specifically concerning spiritual gifts and learned that as a Christian, I was given a gift. But this gift wasn’t one for my glory and fulfillment, but for the glory and fulfillment of God. This gift was meant to help other believers and to benefit the Kingdom of God.
The way to find what your gift is, is to make yourself available to the service of God. Start with what you’re good at or interested in; can you turn it around to help others grow in Christ? Your gift from God will primarily be meant for building the body of Christ, fellow believers or soon-to-be believers of Jesus.
If you can’t find ways to use your obvious skills and talents to help others know and grow in Christ, then try making yourself available to your church. As you try different things, you’ll start to find what you’re good at. Others will confirm this for you. When someone thanks you and tells you how your service blessed them, you’re well on your way to realizing your spiritual gift.
This is the starting point. Keep making yourself available to God each day and He will reveal your gift in greater detail to you.
God’s Will is portrayed as mysterious and profound. However, this isn’t His intention. Sometimes, we can overthink things and make them more complex than they ought to be. God’s Will is that we accept His Son and Worship God. His Will is also that we live a life of devotion and obedience to Him. He wants us to be loyal to Him, which means, denying our sinful nature and resisting self-seeking pleasure.
The devil wants you to live for the moment and to be self-reliant – apart from God. Many people are choosing this path of self-sufficiency and personal achievement. God wants you to be the best you can be, as this is good stewardship. However, your best is not meant for you. The best version of you will be the one that loves the Lord, that seeks to do His Will, regardless of difficulty or persecution, and one that builds others up in the Kingdom of God.
God’s Will is that you surrender to Him daily and strive to grow an intimate relationship with Him. His Will is that, even when times are hard, you still praise Him for all the good He has given you and that, even when it looks like He’s not there or has abandoned you, that you still worship Him and resist the devil. That’s what a Christian does; that’s who a Christian is; that is the step you can take towards fulfilling His Will.
If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, you can follow this link (Prayer for Salvation) to find out how. Also, if you need prayer for your life or your family, feel free to fill out a private prayer request in the provided prayer box in this article. My wife and I would love to pray for you.