Characteristics of a Christian

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” —Ephesians 4:1-2

As you come to the fourth chapter in the book of Ephesians, you may notice a change in Paul’s writing and thinking from the previous three chapters. In the first half of Ephesians, Paul deals primarily with doctrines such as the eternal plan of God for all believers, the blessings of God on believers, the knowledge and power of God, the work of God’s mercy, the gift of God’s grace for our salvation, reconciliation and peace, and the church itself.
But when he gets to the fourth chapter, we see Paul transition from doctrine to duty. He begins to expound on the idea of knowing what to do with what one has received—how to walk in what the believer has been given. There are now new standards of what is expected from the Christian and how he should walk in this newfound faith.

Christian Living
As Paul begins this transition, he appeals to the church of Asia Minor to practice what they have been preaching by walking out their faith. He implores them to walk worthy of their calling as Christians.
Understand that every Christian has a specific call on his life, and God has provided each one with gifts equal to that calling. This is known as the priesthood of all believers, and every Christian should seek the Lord daily as to what His will may be for his or her life. But this isn’t what Paul is speaking of when he writes about walking worthy of the calling wherewith one is called. Instead, he is speaking of Christians living as Christians in a sin-filled world. This world is disjointed, discombobulated, and in disharmony; its only answer is Jesus Christ.
For most of my life, I’ve heard my grandfather say that believers are in this world, but not of this world. What this means is that we currently live in a messed up society, and it will not get any better. Yet, we are not to follow the world’s lead. We have been called to be separate while residing in this present world system. We don’t operate according to its standards and procedures but by what is recorded in Scripture. We are not to live in isolation. As Christians, our specific function in this world is to share and show the love of God with those around us and to proclaim reconciliation through faith in Christ and the cross.
To fulfill this mission, we are to practice what we preach, for as the church lives in a worthy manner, so the church ministers to all, which results in changed lives.

How Are We To Walk Worthy Of Our Calling?
So, how is one to walk worthy of his calling? That is a good question, and it’s simple to answer. The first thing we need to do is understand that our victory comes through the finished work of Christ. Second, our faith must be anchored securely in that finished work, which results in the third way, which is the Holy Spirit working within our lives to provide the victory needed.
Without an understanding of the cross regarding our daily living, we will never be able to walk worthy of our calling. The cross is the foundation upon how we live for God, for the same faith that got us into the family of God is the same faith that keeps us in the family of God.

Characteristics Of A Christian
Once we understand how to walk worthy of our calling, the next thing all Christians need to comprehend is what is expected. Now that we are a part of the body of Christ, God expects us to demonstrate characteristics that resemble the life of a Christian, requirements to prove that one has been changed. These characteristics are humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, and love. Humility and meekness are the opposite of pride and arrogance, which cause more damage to the kingdom of God than any other qualities. It should go without saying that there should never be a prideful or arrogant one among Christians. We are to live our lives after Christ who was meek and lowly of heart (Matt. 11:29). Pride and arrogance are behind that which is disjointed and full of discord. The Christian is to live a life that is opposite of that—humble, and meek.
The next three characteristics are key in dealing with people: patience, forgiveness, and love. People are not easy to deal with, but once we understand that God has been so patient, forgiving, and constantly demonstrating love toward us, we should display these traits to others.
There should never be grudges held by Christians against other Christians, seeing that God does not and will not hold grudges against us for failing Him over and over again.
We must demonstrate grace toward others because God has done the same with us on countless occasions. The same goes with love. This is the God kind of love, which cannot be produced through our own strength or abilities. Love is the first characteristic mentioned by Paul as a fruit of the Spirit, meaning that once a person understands who he is in Christ, the Holy Spirit will begin to develop in him a heart of love toward everyone else, regardless of their spiritual situation.

The Message Of The Cross Community
How does this comply with the message of the cross? First, the one who understands the message of the cross for sanctification begins to understand that he should never exhibit pride or arrogance toward anyone else. One of the most damaging characteristics of the message of the cross community is pride and arrogance manifested toward others. We should never look down on someone else because he or she doesn’t understand this message as we do. Instead, we should constantly show humility and meekness, for these traits are important for all members of the body of Christ to live in harmony one with another.
At the same time, we who understand the cross for sanctification should always be patient and forgiving toward those who do not while constantly walking in love.
If you desire others to walk as you walk, live as your live, and believe as you believe, then allowing the Holy Spirit to develop these qualities in you will go a long way in doing just that.
But if a person claims to understand the cross for sanctification yet treats his neighbor unkindly through pride, arrogance, impatience, unforgiveness, and without love, then that is a surefire sign that he does not understand it as he claims. Instead of cutting each other down and constantly bringing up past sins of our fellow Christians, we should try and be more Christlike toward each other and walk in love, one with another.
If you desire to walk in these ways, then it is imperative that you understand the cross for daily living. In actuality, if the Christian does not comprehend the cross, then he cannot fully walk as he should or display these traits and characteristics.
The cross is the reason the believer can demonstrate these qualities as he should, because the Holy Spirit is constantly working to bring these traits to the forefront so that others can see who we are and what we do and will glorify our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).
We are all on this journey together, and none have arrived, even though we soon will. Until then, let us act as Christians toward those around us. Our goal should always be the salvation of souls and to demonstrate these qualities toward the lost will go a long way in allowing the Holy Spirit to reach others through our actions. Let us come to an understanding of what it means to love God and love people as we should.

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