Typically, we as Christians tend to compare ourselves to each other to define the “normal” Christian. If we look to someone we admire or respect as a Christian we many times make them a model of what we think being a Christian looks like. When it comes to sin, we don’t look to the cross or to Jesus, but rather to Christians who are participating in the same sins or “worse” sins as we are. This does nothing but lead to immature Christianity with a shallow faith and much hypocrisy. It is a Christianity that leads to loving by mere word and tongue, but not in deed and truth (1 John 3:18). Unfortunately this seems to be the typical consensus and understanding of what a Christian is like from non-Christians here in America. And this could be because that this is what the typical Christ is indeed like here in America.
Okay, so as we look at our lives I think we would all admit that we are guilty of comparing ourselves to others to help make ourselves not look or feel so bad for all of our shortcomings. By looking at a respected Christian and seeing their shortcomings we automatically think, If he is struggling and he is a mature and respected Christian then how am I supposed to expect to be any better? Or maybe you might say, Look at him! He’s my pastor and he has this problem in his life, then I must not be all that bad. Or perhaps you make yourself feel better by saying, Look at all these sinful Christians around me. I don’t have a problem with that sin. I must be doing alright! This then gives us an excuse to not try to live in obedience to God’s Word. But here inlies a big problem. We are not to compare ourselves to each other to see if we are living out the faith or to define what a good Christian looks like.
We are to only look to Christ, His cross, and His Word. We look to Him and instantly see a man that has not overthrown the law. He has not destroyed the law. He has fulfilled the law. He was a living fulfillment of the law. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. Then we look to our lives and see that we utterly fall short of fulfilling the law. We are wicked sinners by comparison, no matter how you compare yourself to Jesus. But then is it hopeless? Far from it. God has given us the ability through His Holy Spirit to be able to not sin when tempation comes. Before one accepts Christ it is hopeless, however. They are slaves to sin and to death. But when one accepts Jesus Christ and His atoning death, God gives him freedom from obeying sin and life filled with the ability to love as Christ loved and to live as Christ lived with the ability to obey God and His law. This power is the same power which raised Jesus Christ from the grave (Eph. 2:19-20). We no longer have to serve sin, as we had when we were slaves to it. To serve sin would be as foolish as a freed slave going to back to the chains and imprisonment of his old abusive master.
The duty of the Christian as defined by the Bible can be summed up in two basic requirements:
1.) Be holy as He is holy
2.) Go and tell
How does the Christian accomplish these two things? I believe it can be done by following seven steps. They are easy to write out, but hard to live out. But we should daily be following these steps to be living in a way which pleases God and accomplishes His will in our lives.
1.) STOP SINNING
2.) FEAR GOD
3.) LIVE CONSISTENTLY
4.) PRAY FOR OTHERS (The lost, our enemies, the persecuted, etc.)
5.) TELL AS MANY AS POSSIBLE
6.) HELP OTHERS GROW
7.) THANK GOD FOR HIS BLESSINGS