Being a Christian is more than following the teachings of Christ, it involves being an imitator of Christ so that every decision and action in one’s life is centered around Christ’s own behavior and lessons.
The apostle Paul led a Christ-centered life and taught others how to follow in his footsteps.
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
–1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)
Be forewarned that some translations misconstrue the meaning, such as the English standard version which reads: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” This translation tends to give the idea that we should imitate Paul rather than Christ. What is intended here is that we should follow Paul’s example, which is to follow that of Christ. What is the example Paul set?
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’
– Romans 15:1-3
It is about putting others first, bearing their burdens, strengthening them in all ways, including spiritual perfection, and suffering if necessary for the sake of our Lord and the Gospels.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
– John 15:13
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
In the verse above, “for you have died” is a metaphor, symbolizing the death of your world-oriented ways and you have been “reborn” in Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
–2 Corinthians 5:17
As a follower of Christ, you become one with Christ. Everything you do comes from a new mindset.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
You must put Christ in the will of God above all things. You must put God before country, politics, or any groups of people or organizations – sometimes even friends or family.
People are constantly trying to say that older values are outdated ways of thinking. Don’t buy into these new ideas that contradict the teachings of the Bible and of Christ – which are timeless, never changing, and don’t try to adapt themselves to the “times.”
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
– 1 John 2:15-17