What it means to be a Christian is sometimes misunderstood by non-Christians – and even some Christians.
Sometimes the definition of what being Christian means gets watered down into “being a good person” or “being kind”.
While those two characteristics may be the result of what being Christian means, neither of these address the core foundation of Christianity.
What do Christians believe
The heart of Christianity is the belief that God the Father (the Creator of Heaven and Earth), sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to earth to save the imperfect souls of all who believe in Him. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, Christians will enjoy eternal life in heaven.
In short, Jesus Christ is the son of God and the Savior of the World.
The life of Jesus and His teachings while he was on earth are recorded in the Bible, notably in the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
The Book of John sums up the Christian foundation most famously in John 3:16 NIV:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus was persecuted and hung on a cross to die because His teachings upset the leaders at the time. After Jesus rose from the dead and returned to heaven, His apostles (the first Christians) continued to carry on His work. Once humans took over the ministry, their various views and opinions created rifts that resulted in the formation of many different Christian sects in the two thousand years since Jesus’s death. These include Catholic and various denominations of Protestant religions, such as Lutheran, Episcopal, Baptist, Adventist, Methodist, and Pentecostal among others. Each of these sects contains differences in interpretation of the Bible or specific religious practices. But the core belief that ties them all together is the belief that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.
Is Being Christian Just being Kind?
Because Jesus taught love and kindness, those characteristics became synonymous with being Christian. But there are many people who claim to be Christians who aren’t loving or kind. As humans, we’re not perfect and we do sin, but when we’re Christian, our love for Jesus is so great that we strive to emulate his love and kindness in our lives. It’s similar to how a child would want to do the things her parents expect of her because of her love for them.
How Can we Tell if Someone is Christian?
But no outward sign can truly show whether a person is a Christian, because being a Christian takes place in the heart. Kind and loving people may not know or love Jesus at all – there are just some good people in the world. On the other hand, people who are obviously sinning may truly know Jesus in their hearts and be trying to change their lives to live in accord with His wishes.
Being Christian isn’t about judging whether or not someone else is Christian. It’s about getting to know Jesus and having faith that He is Lord and saved us through His death and resurrection. Once that firm foundation is set, we can start adding the building blocks to create a solid Christian lifestyle.
A Prayer for Beginners:
If you’ve never prayed, it might be hard to get started. I wrote the following Prayer for Beginners that will help you open the door to your relationship with God. You also might want to check out these 10 Short Prayers for Beginners. They’ll get you started with some basic prayers for everyday life circumstances.
Dear Lord, I have doubt and fear about what it means to be a Christian. If you exist, please reveal yourself to me in some way. I’d like to get to know you, but I’m not sure how to get started. I’m opening my heart to you and I pray you will give me the grace to see or feel you in my life. Show me that you exist and guide me to the life you want for me. Help me in my unbelief. I ask this in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
What are the challenges you face in understanding Christianity? Tell me in the comments!
My Other Posts for Those Exploring Christianity:
More Resources to Learn about Christianity:
- Deepen your relationship with Jesus by Seeking Him with our free guides.
- Can the existence of God be proven?
- How do Christians Hear God?
- The Gospel Great resources for beginners
- Who is a Christian?
- How to Pray
- How to Understand the Bible for Beginners
- Bible Study for Beginners
- Where to Start Reading the Bible
- Study the Word of God Yourself
- Best Study Bibles for Women
- Bible Study Tips and Resources for Busy Christians
- When Reading the Bible Feels Dead
- How to Be Saved Video
- Christian Guidance and Coaching
- Are you good enough? For those who think they’re fine apart from God.
- Resources for Finding Hope Joy Peace
- Following God with Cassie Showerman (Discipleship). BLOG or IG
- How to Survive the Storms of Life
- Set Spiritual Goals for Spiritual Growth
- What Depression Feels Like