HOW TO BE A BETTER CHRISTIAN
In a World where sinful conduct is the norm, it can be a struggle to be a committed Christian. God has given us his Son for our redemption, but he needs obedience and loyalty in exchange. With all the worldly troubles, it’s hard to redirect our focus to God.
As Christians, we are constantly trying to show others who God is by our actions. God is love, and he wants us to act in love in everything that we do.
Here are a few suggestions intended to help you grow your faith while you serve God.
To become a better Christian, we need to learn how to improve ourselves.
Here are the ways we can improve ourselves:
1. READ THE BIBLE: The Bible has all the answers and will always support and advice on how to be a good Christian (a quick look at the Ten Commandments reveals that). Also, most bookstores sell books that will help us better understand the Scriptures if you find the Bible a bit difficult to comprehend!
• Participating in Bible study groups can make this a fun, enjoyable activity that you stick with over the long term. You’re going to make a lot of like-minded friends with whom you can share God’s word.
• Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” And by reading the Bible, you make sure His words live on.
2. PRAY DAILY: It’s important to put God first and to thank Him for everything, too. Pray when you wake up (and read the Bible), pray before you eat, and pray before you go to bed (and read the Bible). Always keep Him with you, which is the easiest thing to do in prayer.
• James 1:5 says that if you ask for it, God will give you wisdom in abundance. Prayer can be about anything, and whatever your prayer about, God will answer you as He sees fit. Ask for advice, forgiveness, but drop in to say hello from time to time!
3. ALWAYS PRAISE THE LORD: Always praise the Lord, be it through the way you talk to people in your day-to-day activities. Let everyone see that God is present and within you. This means cultivating an aura of positivity and light. Allow Him to live through you.
• Part of this is up to interpretation. Does praising the Lord mean praying to Him regularly? Singing? Speaking about Him with others? Some of these thoughts are right! Praising him means living in His light – there is no wrong way to do it.
• “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” Think about this: this is the day of the Lord – how uplifting and powerful is it? Realizing this makes it easier to turn every moment into a moment of praise.
4. PRACTICE FORGIVENESS TO OTHERS AND YOURSELF: This is a difficult thing for many of us — we read the scriptures, go to Church, and try to live as He would, but at the end of the day, we still play the blame game, even if that means that we blame ourselves. To be near to Him, make a deliberate effort to forgive yourself and forgive others. We should all try to do our best.
• Turn the other cheek rather than acting out of anger or malice. When someone rubs you the wrong way, show them that you live in the light of Christ, and you are taking a higher path. Forgive them for their sins, as Christ would. Who knows, your acts may inspire them!
• When next you beat yourself up over the tiniest thing, remember how imperfect you are to Him. He would hate to see you treat yourself like that! Instead, concentrate on doing better next time, focusing on the future, not the past.
• Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” If you are tempted otherwise, think of this simple yet beautiful statement.
5. BE RESPECTFUL AND MODEST ABOUT YOUR FAITH, EVEN THOUGH IT IS BEAUTIFUL: Never brag about how close you are to Heaven. This is just going to turn people away from the Gospel, and you’re going to miss your chance to witness to others. No one cares about pride – Jesus never did. In the Book of 1 Peter 5:6, it says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” Note, we are all his sons and daughters.
• Sadly, some Christians come off as arrogant, believing that their faith is stronger than others. Remember that Jesus preached that we are all sons and daughters of God and that everyone should be equally valued. Holding that in mind will make it easier to be humble in His image.
6. TRY TO TAKE PART IN RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES: Youth groups or other gatherings with people who share your faith can be wonderful things to do to bring yourself closer to your religion.
IMPROVING YOUR COMMUNITY
Improving the community is a very important way of being a better Christian.
Below are the various ways we can improve our community.
1. HELP THE POOR AND NEEDY: Whether it’s donating clothes to your Church’s next fundraiser or buying a sandwich for the homeless man you pass on the street every day, take action. Proverbs 19:17 says, “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”
• Almost every society has individuals that need a helping hand. Or if you’re uncomfortable giving money, that’s all right – do you have any old clothes that you don’t wear anymore? Would you like to bake a dish for a family, you know, or give it to a homeless shelter? Can you make a craft to brighten up someone’s day? Money is not the only path to happiness!
2. SPREAD THE WORD OF GOD: Tell the world His glory! A good way to be a better Christian is to be proud of your faith and talk about how wonderful it is to be loved. Do your part to make the world better by spreading His message. Who knows, you could change the lives of a few people!
• When you come across people who are ill or in pain offer to pray for them and ask God to heal them;
• You don’t have to do this directly (some people won’t be receptive and see even the smallest comment as evangelizing); instead, you can attribute your happiness and success to the Lord. Just embodying Him by spreading His power.
3. BE GENUINE ABOUT YOUR RELIGION: Do not put on a show outside that you think He would approve of, but you don’t feel right about on the inside. The opposite is true, as well: don’t put on a show outside to fit in and then asking for forgiveness later. If your religion comes up, please be honest about it. You have nothing to be ashamed of!
• Be true about your doubts: It’s only if you speak up about them that others can reinforce your belief, making it stronger.
4. DONATE TO YOUR CHURCH AND CHARITY: Give tithes to the Church, as written in the Bible, to the betterment of those who are less fortunate that the Church can help that one person you may be unable to reach; this concerns both your time and your belongings. But other organizations would also benefit from your time and money – so spread love as much as you can!
• It is said in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” Don’t give tithes out of obligation — offer them as a cheerful giver, realizing that you are doing your part.
5. GO TO THE CHURCH AND GET INVOLVED: Besides going to Church every Sunday, help out! Sing in the choir, teach, or be an usher – any effort is appreciated. It will make you feel more dedicated to your society, too.
• Find out how you can help – there is usually more help that needs to be done than there are hands. Have you got any special talents? Is it cooking, playing the guitar, Sewing, woodworking? Do them for your Church. They will be useful to the Church somewhere!
6. EXERCISE YOUR POLITICAL RIGHT BY VOTING: A perfect way to affect the world that God desires is to vote according to your beliefs. Whether it’s a presidential election or just a small neighborhood election, your vote is important, particularly to Him. This way, you’re doing your part to make your community a better place.
• As the Bible is sometimes subject to interpretation, think about what His words mean to you. If we are all the sons and daughters of the Lord, what would be the best for all of us, men and women, black and white, young and old?
DEEPENING YOUR FAITH
To be a better Christian, we need to deepen our faith in Christ.
Below are the various ways we can deepen our faith in Jesus Christ.
1. BE CREATIVE IN THE NAME OF THE LORD: Going to Church for an hour a week is not your “God time.” It is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So take that time and do something with it, where you can channel your energy and produce something in His name. Whether it’s painting, a song, a story, or a dish, he would be proud of it.
• This “creative time” is also good for you. It can help you focus, relax, and eventually make you feel better about your situation. We all need to relieve ourselves from stress from time to time, and this may be the push you need to feel ready to be a better Christian.
• Proverbs 22:29 says, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”
2. VOLUNTEER: The Bible strongly advocates helping our sisters and brothers — Hebrews 13:16 says, “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” And in this day and age, it is easier than ever.
• Volunteer at a hospital, homeless shelter, or a soup kitchen. Deal with abandoned children who need a mentor, plan the next lunch in your Church. There are hundreds of ways you can make the community better in His name.
3. VISIT OTHER CHURCHES: This may sound a little dumb, but visiting other churches helps us understand them, meet other Christians, and immerse ourselves in the Christian community, not just in your Church. As you learn more about your religion, the stronger it will be.
• Experiment with other denominations as well. The Orthodox Christian Church could be a fascinating experience. But don’t shy away from other Abrahamic religions (Islam and Judaism) either – visiting the synagogue or the mosque will also be a fruitful and enlightening experience.
4. STUDY GREAT CHRISTIANS: There is much to know in the lives of the great Christians who have come before us. Do some study and pick out a few people with stories that speak to you. How can you live the way they would?
• You’ve heard of Jesus, you’ve heard of Martin Luther King, Jr., you’ve heard of George Whitefield, Dwight Moody, or William Carey. So many people have stories that we can learn from and be inspired by.
5. KEEP A FAITH JOURNAL: Dedicate some minutes each day to your faith journal. You can talk about anything you want – what you’re grateful for, what you talk about, or what you’d want His advice on. The intention is to remain conscious of Him, and His presence in your life is the goal.
• As time goes on, flip back through the pages of your journal. You’re probably going to be shocked at all the growth you’ve made!
• Take it with you everywhere you go – you may have a quiet moment where you feel especially reflective, and having it by your side would be useful to record how you feel right then and there.
• Isaiah 40:8 – “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” This does not mean just the Bible; it may also be the Word of God through you.