Living a Christian life requires actively loving and serving God and human beings. When Jesus was asked in Matthew's Gospel about which commandments were the greatest, He responded: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." The second greatest commandment is to “Love your neighbor as yourself." These two commandments form the basis of Christian life. Christians live in a way that honors God and encourages and allows others to experience a fulfilling life.
Christian Living Principles
Christian living principles are all derived from the two greatest commandments. To love God with all our hearts, we need to learn about God and be in a relationship with God. A primary way we learn about God is through the study of the Bible. Another way is through attending church, where we hear the Scriptures interpreted through sermons, Bible studies, and songs. Attending church also helps us to develop a relationship with God. Another way to develop that relationship with God is through prayer, which is talking with God.
To love our neighbors as ourselves, we must show compassion and seek to put their needs above ours. We also need to be able to share what God has done in our lives. God's gifts to us, especially the gift of Jesus, are so special that we want to share them with those we care about.
Read the BibleThe Bible tells us about how God has acted throughout history in the lives of God's people. It tells us who God is and how God acted out of love to send Jesus, or God in human form. The Bible is the foundation of our knowledge about God. Through the commandments and the way Jesus behaved, we learn how we are called to live as Christians. Reading the Bible daily, or at least several times weekly, is an important part of Christian living.
Prayer is communication with God. To love anyone, we need to communicate with them. To live into the commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, we need to find time to pray. Prayer has seven different types; to have a full prayer life, Christians practice all seven types.
These types are:
Attend ChurchThe church is the body of Jesus Christ on earth. Jesus is God in human form. If we really love God, we will actively participate in the body of Christ -- the church. Attending church also helps us learn more about God, praise God, thank God for blessings, and to learn about the needs of others within the church and community. Being with other Christians supports us in our Christian life and allows us to support others, as well.
Get Past TemptationTemptation is the desire to do something that dishonors God or our fellow human beings. We are often tempted to do something that will bring us short-term pleasure, even if it violates the principles of Christian living. For example, we may have pledged to give a certain amount of money toward the church's programs to help the poor, but we are tempted to buy a new dress we don't need with that money instead. Or, we feel we deserve a promotion at work, but our boss chooses someone else, and we are tempted to sabotage that person.
To live as Christians, we find ways to get past these temptations. Talking with another Christian, praying, reading Scripture, and attending church regularly all help.
Be a WitnessWhen we read a great book or see a great movie, we are quick to share these with the people we love. We want them to experience the same joy we've experienced. Jesus is the greatest gift ever presented to humanity. If we truly love others, we will want them to experience Jesus for themselves so that we will tell them about Him.
Jesus also has commanded us to be a witness to all that God has done for us. In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."