Become Christ-like to live Christ-like

BY: Jude Hama
The Bible says those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

Conversations are many on how relevant the churches are in their communities and in society in general today. The churches have the numbers on their side but is the lifestyle of church members serving as salt and light in our communities and nation?

It was in Antioch that the followers of Jesus were first called Christians:
Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers[a] were first called Christians.)
Acts 11:25-26 NLT

C.S Lewis, philosopher and eminent writer of many classic books has said, “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions , and sermons are simply a waste of time” The Churches exist to help people become Christ-like people who will live Christ-like lifestyles as salt and light .
You must look for a church that will help you become Christ-like and live Christ-like.

The Bible says, “ Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6 NLT
Can your Pastor help you to be on a journey with other believers in a small group to grow in every way, more and more Christ-like?
But who is a Christ-like person? Who is an authentic Christian? I will list the following seven marks that should characterise a true Christ-like Christian person:

• Professes or puts his or her faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. (Romans 10:13; 1 John 5:11-12; Ephesians 2:8-9)
• Has basic assurance of salvation. (1 John 5:13; John 5:24)
• Has an ongoing commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3-11; Hebrews 6:1, 12:1-2, 14; Colossians 3:17)
• Has been filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8, Ephesians 5:18)
• Has developed the basic disciplines of Christian living. (Joshua1:8&9; 1 Peter 3:11&12; Mark 1:35;Matthew 6:5-13; Luke 18:1; 1 Peter 1:22-23)
• Has developed the basic disciplines of Christian service.
• Has the capacity to raise other disciples who are able to raise other disciples. (2 Timothy 2:2)

And so, to become Christ-like and to be able to live a Christ-like lifestyle, you must gain each of the above seven characteristics or marks of a Christ-like disciple and continue to grow in godliness.

Next, there are seven principles or steps a church denomination or a church congregation will take to carry out effective disciple-making ministry. But there is a foundational and critical consideration before presenting the seven steps or principles.

In church life and ministry, our foundation and end is Christ and His Glory. Make Christ central in all of Christ's life. Make God’s word (The Bible) supreme in all belief , and behaviour, in all practices in church life. Without this centre in Christ, things fall apart.
Think Christ, live Christ-like! Christianity is Christ!! We were made by Christ. We were made through Christ. We were made for Christ. (Romans 11:33&36)
We now turn to the seven principles or steps.

1. Bathe everything in Disciple-making and Discipleship in prayer. Prayer must be our first option in starting a disciple-making ministry. Prayer must be our first activity in planning Disciple-making strategy.
2. Teach them to understand the critical importance and necessity of making Christ-like disciples. And to get a buy in, to be convinced and persuaded to go on the spiritual formation journey into Christlikeness and Christ-like discipleship.

3. Create a disciple-making culture within the Church and in every church organisation example, men ministry, women ministry, and youth ministry. Creating a disciple-making culture in the Church is essential to effective disciple-making and discipleship ministry. The Church must be seen to exist to make disciples. The pastor is there to make disciples. The leaders are there to facilitate the making of Christ-like disciples. All thinking, attitudes and behaviours in the Church must help to make disciples and establish true discipleship lifestyle.

4. Draw a disciple-making plan. Simple to understand. Simple to follow. Simple to practise in raising other disciples.
5. Design and provide appropriate and effective structure. People grow best spiritually in small group life.

6. Instruct in the faith/doctrine. That is to teach sound biblical doctrine and deal with biblical illiteracy. Take people through different levels of catechism to build them up in the holy faith.
7. Evaluate disciple-making within the church. Provide instruments and tools to measure progress. How do we know we have become true disciples of Jesus? Are you seeing God use you to change other lives to become spiritually firm as evidence that you are a maturing Christ-like disciple?
Indeed, we can become Christ-like and live Christ-like, loving God more fully and loving our neighbour genuinely and practically.

The author is a consultant in authentic Christian Spirituality and Discipleship and former CEO of Scripture Union.