The Big Question 37: How are Christians Meant to Live?
Mar 18, 2019 1957
How are Christians meant to live?
One of the weirdest characters from history is Simon Stylites, who was a Christian monk who thought that the right way to live as a Christian was to get as far away from the world as possible. So he lived for 37 years on a small platform on top of a pillar more than 15 metres high. If that’s not really how Christians should live, then how do you spot a Christian?
Christians look just like most other people. Your neighbour could be a follower of Jesus and you might not know it. But all the time, Christians are meant to be marching to the beat of a different drum to that of the self-centred, materialistic, power-centred values of our world.
The number one commandment that Jesus gave was to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself. So Christians are meant to love their neighbours. And Jesus’ definition of love is really different to the idea of “I’ll be nice to you just in case I need you to be nice to me”. Jesus’ definition is really radical. The Christian concept of love means that followers of Jesus are called to live sacrificially, putting the good of others first.
That’s why Christians are meant to be kind and accepting of others, just like Jesus, who was a friend to all. In fact, Jesus said that the way his followers welcome others and show kindness to them is actually the way they welcome him. Of course this applies to everyone, but in particular, followers of Jesus are to care for the vulnerable, just as he did, and to give a voice to the voiceless: the outcasts and rejected of our world.
Followers of Jesus look at money differently. They don’t see it as an end in itself, but as a means to an end, to help alleviate the sufferings of others, and to share the Good News about Jesus’ offer of eternal life. It was Jesus who said that the main thing that should define a Christian is selfless love.
I want to be very clear. I know I’m describing an ideal, and perhaps what some people have experienced in followers of Jesus isn’t what I’ve been describing. That’s a shame, and the reason for it is because it’s been too easy for Christians to get caught up in selfishness, and the broken values and systems of this world.
Ultimately, Christians are called to be agents of radical change in the world, change for the better. This is a change that needs to start in your own heart first, as it’s softened and transformed by the love of God. That way you can start loving and caring like Christ.