What does a Christian look like?
Do they all look the same? Should they?
If you asked 9 people you might get 10 answers. Most people think of them as they are portrayed in movies.
A Christian is someone carrying their Bible around, wearing glasses and a suit and tie, walking to church.
Unfortunately there is no way to tell if someone is or is not a Christian simply by looking on the outside.
Some are tall and others are short. Some are rich and others are poor.
Men and women, boys and girls, young and old are all members of the family or Christ.
Christianity is a heart change, not an appearance change.
The Bible has some instructions for how Christians should act so everyone will recognize them.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
WOW! That is a long laundry list of ways for Christians to behave towards each other in the body and also towards those outside the body of Christ. Mostly it is our love for one another that should set us apart from the rest of the world.
We should be known for how we give our grace (unmerited, underserved favor) to our brothers and sisters in Christ. These are represented as men and woman who are members of the body of Christ rather than brothers and sisters of the flesh. Not every person who is a child born as a descendant of Adam is a member of the body of Christ. Only those born into the family through the spirit are members of the body of Christ and part of the universal church.
What does this kind of love look like?
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Now love towards our brethren should be kind, tender, and affectionate, reciprocal and mutual; we should love one another; there should be no love wanting on either side; and it ought to be universal, and reach to all the saints, though of different gifts, light, knowledge and experience, or whether high or low, rich or poor; and should show itself by bearing one another’s burdens, bearing with, and forbearing each other, forgiving one another, and by edifying one another in their most holy faith, and praying with, and for one another.
Christians should think honorably of one another. We should esteem each other as worthy of more honor than we ourselves are worthy of. We should not be jealous of those who have more or proud if it is ourselves who have more than our brothers and sisters. We should each seek to lift up Jesus as we deny ourselves. Be joyful in your hope. Live at peace with everyone and do not repay evil for evil done to you but instead bless those who curse you. Christians should set a good example for how to respect and treat one another as Christ set an example by forgiving us everything we have ever done against God.
So in the end it seems that there is no way to tell from the outside who is and who is not a Christian. The only way to truly know if someone is or is not is to find out if they love one another as Jesus said they should.