“It should be the goal of every Christian to walk true to the characteristics that Christ calls out of our lives.”
Just because someone calls him or herself a Christian doesn’t mean they are a good representation of Jesus. In fact, all of us who call ourselves Christians fail in different ways to represent the amazing love, grace and purity of Jesus.
There are so many misrepresentations and misunderstandings of Christianity in the world. This is to be expected, because there are a lot self-proclaimed Christians around the world. But it should be the goal of every Christian to walk true to the characteristics that Christ calls out of our lives.
D.L. Moody stated, “Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.” We are walking representations of Jesus to the world around us, and even to our own families.
It should be our highest aim to represent Jesus well.
So what does a healthy Christian look like? When I say healthy, I’m referring not to physical health, but to someone who represents Jesus well—in a healthy and true way.
Here are nine characteristics of a healthy Christian—of someone who represents Jesus well.
1. You are peaceful and full of mercy.
You might get the hint from some Christians that God is pleased when we tirade and rant about everything in culture. But the Bible tells us that “the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).
Healthy Christians may speak out at times to culture, but they don’t spend all their time doing this. They are more focused on being people of peace and mercy.
2. You live in community with other Christians.
Healthy Christians love to do life and grow together with other Christians. If a Christian can’t seem to get along with others, then they are immature in their faith in Christ.
The Bible speaks multiple times about spiritual maturity, and how some Christians are immature, and others are mature (see 1 John 4:20).
3. You live for the glory of God.
A healthy Christian has grown into a singular focus of their life. They are most interested in laying themselves down, becoming less and allowing Jesus to become a greater force and focus of their activities in daily life (see John 3:30).
4. You are a friend of sinners.
Jesus was known as a friend of sinners. A healthy Christian doesn’t just hang out with other Christians, they are interested in befriending and extending God’s mercy to those outside the church (see Matthew 11:19).
5. You are increasing in loving-kindness.
You recognize a healthy Christian by seeing the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. They are growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23).
6. You feed on the Word of God.
D.L. Moody had a high view of the Word of God and shared so many good illustrations of how the Scriptures build a healthy Christian. He once said, “If we don’t bring people into closer contact with the Word of God, the whole impression from religious meetings will be gone in three months.” Until we learn to feed on the Word of God in our own personal, daily lives, we will never be the growing Christians God wants us to be (see Psalm 1:1-3).
7. You practice God’s presence.
A healthy Christian regularly experiences God’s presence in his or her life. A healthy Christian wants to know God personally, and God fills and empowers him or her by the Spirit’s loving presence (see Romans 5:5).
8. You are joyfully rooted in the gospel.
Healthy Christians know that the entirety of their salvation rests in God’s work on their behalf, through Jesus on the cross, not in their own feeble efforts at holiness. They do not spread mere moralism. They spread the gospel, which is focused on accepting Christ by faith and by following him (see Ephesians 2:8-9).
9. You faithfully endure suffering.
Healthy Christians know this life will not always be perfect. They have an eternal focus, and know this life is temporary and flawed. They are focused on believing God’s promises in the midst of the pain of this world (see Acts 14:22).
Matt Brown (@evangelistmatt) is an evangelist, author and founder of Think Eternity, an evangelistic ministry that impacts thousands of people with the gospel each year through live events and online. This article was originally published on Matt’s blog at ThinkE.org.