Living a Christian life
As a Christian, you will always have joy -
even if life doesn't always bring you
“He was a real Christian…” It’s one of the things that is said most often to ministers when they visit bereaved relatives to prepare a funeral. What do they mean? They're usually saying that the deceased was a decent sort of bloke. He didn’t hurt too many people and you could usually trust him… or something along those lines.
I’m always glad to hear that someone has led a good life, that they have been liked, and that others respected and loved them. It’s important—but I don’t think this is what marks them out as having lived a Christian life!
To live a Christian life is…
To follow Christ. A Christian is someone who follows Christ. This is so obvious that we can often miss it! It’s the essential starting point, though. You can’t live a truly Christian life without being a Christian. This does mean that we will strive to do all the good things that God calls us to; we probably will help the odd old lady across the road. But we need to be clear about which is the cart and which is the horse. We do good things because we are Christian; we are not a Christian because we do good things!
To live within Christian discipline. Again, this follows naturally, but if we are living a Christian life it follows that the most important things we need to do are the things that build up and work out our faith. This means that we are disciplined about prayer. We are faithful in reading the Bible. We are careful to be generous with our money. We are deliberate in the way that we use our time. We seek to worship God and serve others. We try to be graceful and kind and loving.
To be in Christian fellowship. Finally it is plain to see that we cannot do this alone. The normal life of a Christian is that we are part of the church, the wider Christian community. This is clear through the Bible and also through history. The church is imperfect, but it is important to belong. We were not designed to live the Christian life alone. Others help us, pray for us, encourage us, and correct us. Together we are stronger than we are alone.
Living the Christian life is the best life we can lead. It is a tragedy that so many people seem to turn the best thing into something that looks like the worst! Jesus said that he had come that we may have life, and have it to the full. In him there is hope and freedom and joy and fullness; there is everything that life was always meant to be.
So let’s live it!
Pray: Father, I try to be a good person, but I realise now that that’s not enough. Show how to live by your will, and help me to see that that's the way real joy and freedom lie. Amen.
Hear the poem Humanifesto
Watch a video clip on Christian living
Watch the video clip The Church Saved My Life
Watch a video clip of the band Third Day talking about living a Christian life
Watch the music video I Never Knew (Brighter Day)
Smile: read the book Bacon Sandwiches and Salvation: An A-Z of the Christian Life by Adrian Plass
Read the book The Life You've Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by John Ortberg
Read the book Beginning the Christian Life by Richard Bewes
Read the book Twenty-four: Integrating Faith and Real Life (How to worship God in everything you do) by Krish Kandiah
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