How Do I Act Like A Christian?

“HOW DO I ACT LIKE A CHRISTIAN? or Wanted: A Christian Character”
By Dr. Robert A. Cook

START WITH A PERSON

The Christian life has always been a mystery to the unsaved. Paul says the unsaved man cannot receive “the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”[1] It need not be a mystery to you, however, for it is now “made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” [2]

This whole truth becomes embarrassingly simple, once you see through it. A Person saved you, did He not? And it takes a Person to keep you day by day. “I need Thee every hour–stay Thou near by! Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.”

Well then, in this matter of producing a Christian character, what makes you think YOU can do it? The blessed Son of God now dwells in you, and it is He who now controls the development of your life.

The secret of Christian character is … Jesus Christ! Living within and living out through you, His life becomes apparent, where once only your failures were seen. This is what Paul means when he exclaims: “Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.”[3]

SURRENDER TO A PERSON

The Lord Jesus Christ dwells in your heart by His Spirit, but He will control only that portion of your life which you yield to Him. This is the reason behind Paul’s words: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”[4]

Present what?

Your body.

Why?

Because His Spirit now dwells in your body,and the only way He can express His life and love is through a yielded instrument. Don’t expect the Holy Spirit to transform your heart-house if you refuse to let Him into all the rooms in it! Because you’re a Christian, you have a right to all of the Holy Spirit as your birthright; but the big question now is: Does He have all of you?[5]

This need not be a painful experience, or something which you must necessarily seek. Right now, if you mean business with God about if. you can bow, and deliberately give over to God the Holy Spirit complete control of yourself–body, soul, and spirit. That is the first step in developing Christian character. Only He can develop it, so start by letting Him take control.

One big surprise you’ll meet about this time is that the things for which you sought so: eagerly along the line of Christian character–things like a loving heart, a generous disposition, and a faithful performance of duty–are not an end in themselves, but a result!

The passage that presents this truth is Galatians 5:23. Look it up, and read, first of all, the three verses which precede this passage. “Works of the flesh” is the ugly title. We ought constantly to remind ourselves that all the flesh–our old Adam nature–is capable of, is dead works; actually, a perversion of the good which we seek–every item on that heart-breaking list is a twisted, perverted opposite of some virtue.

“But,” he says,–the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…”

Fruit, did you say, Paul?

Yes, fruit.

But why change the figure of speech, Paul? You were speaking of the works of the flesh in those three preceding verses. Should you not now speak of the works of the Spirit? The aged apostle is silent a moment. No, he says, not works, for the Christian life is not mechanical, but vital. The life of the Holy Spirit unites with your life, and produces a life product.

[“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10, NKJV.

May we each be developing such Christian character through an abiding relationship with the Lord Jesus!]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Grace Notes: October 8, 2004.

Robert A. Cook. Now that I Believe Chicago: Moody Press, 1949, pp. 52-55.

[1] 1 Corinthians 2:14
[2] Colossians 1:27
[3] Galatians 2:20
[4] Romans 12:1
[5] Galatians 4:6

About the author:  “In 1948 Dr. Cook left the pastorate to become the second President of Youth for Christ International. He was President for a period of ten years. Youth for Christ under his leadership began Youth for Christ high school Bible Clubs, and the organization became international in its scope.

“In 1957 he began as Vice President of Scripture Press in Wheaton, Illinois. There he learned the power of the printed page.

“In 1962 Dr. Cook accepted the Presidency of The King’s College in Briarcliff Manor, New York. In his twenty-three years as president, the college grew, became accredited and had a major impact on hundreds of young people. In 1963 he started “The King’s Hour” radio broadcast. Dr. Cook retired from the Presidency in 1985, and was Chancellor of the college until his death in 1991.” Dr. Cook ‘s radio broadcast continues. See http://www.walkwiththeking.org.

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