Because of interest in the truth, curiosity, misinformation, and/or confusing false claims about Christianity, many have wondered, “How do you live as a real Christian?”
Before getting to that, realize that real Christians have the Holy Spirit of God:
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:9-11, NKJV throughout unless otherwise designated).
Here is something the Apostle Peter taught about being given the Holy Spirit:
38 “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)
Real Christians hear the gospel message, accept that they have sinned and need God, have repented of their sins, accept God’s calling, declare and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, have been properly baptized, and possess God’s Holy Spirit (Acts 2:39; Romans 8:9-11).
Real Christians live by faith:
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
Real Christians are saints. Notice what the word of God says about them:
12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)
Saints keep God’s commandments, even under adversity.
Notice also what the Apostle John wrote:
4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:4-6)
35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)
Most religions, however, that profess Christ chose to allow warfare and other activities that do not show love to one’s neighbor (Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?).
Love, not war, is what life is supposed to be all about (see also What is the Meaning of Life?).
For loving as Jesus taught, Christians will be hated and persecuted:
16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause. (John 15:16-25)
Not all the troubles will come from the broader ‘world.’ Family and friends could be problems as well. Notice that Jesus taught about family issues, followed by something by the Apostle Peter:
35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:35-39)
4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. (1 Peter 4:4)
This does not mean you are not to honor your parents (cf. Matthew 15:4-6) or try to cause trouble–we are to strive “to live peacably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Jesus and Peter are basically saying that those who are converted may face difficulties with family and friends. Notice something else from Jesus and Peter, followed by something from the Apostle Paul:
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. (Matthew 10:16-17)
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:15-17)
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.(2 Timothy 2:15-16)
When dealing with those not in the church, Christians need to be wise and try not to harm. And Christians should study in order to answer questions others may ask. Not that we are to try to cram our religion down the throat of others, but that we humbly answer those that are sincere. We, however, should try to avoid unnecessary arguments (Matthew 7:6; 1 Timothy 1:4).
Notice something that the Apostle Paul wrote:
1 1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
True Christians live as the Apostle Paul did as he tried to imitate Jesus. In addition to keeping God’s commandments, they also kept His Holy Days. We are to do so as well.
Finally, notice what the Apostle James wrote:
26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:26-27)
Self-control, doing good, and not compromising with the world is something that real Christians are to do.
Being a real Christian affects your whole life.
For more specific information about many aspects of living as a Christian, check out the articleLiving as a Christian: How and Why?
For more on faith, check out the free online booklet: Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen.
For more on the Holy Days, check out the free online booklet: Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?
For more on the true church, check out the free online booklet: Where is the True Christian Church Today?
For more details about the beliefs and practices of early Christians, check out the free online booklet: Continuing History of the Church of God.