What Does it Mean to be a Christian?

What it means to be a Christian, at least according to culture, has changed over the years. Many people think that going to church occasionally or simply believing in God makes them a Christian. But the Bible presents a different perspective and definition of a Christian.

A Christian is someone whose behavior and heart reflects Jesus Christ.

Followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” in Antioch. Acts 11:26 says, "…for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." They were called "Christians" because their speech and behavior were like Christ.

What Does it Mean to Behave Like Jesus Christ?

As a Christian, someone who has put faith in trust in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ through His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, our behavior mirrors, reflects and resembles Christ.

Being gracious and merciful to others is behaving like Christ.

Forgiving, loving and praying for our enemies is Christ-like.

Welcoming and serving the marginalized, the "least" among us, is being like Jesus.

Caring for the sick, needy, underprivileged, widowed, orphaned, poor, abused, and vulnerable—those who are last—mirrors and reflects the Son of Man.

Striving for justice resembles Jesus.

But it’s not simply good works that make someone a Christian. Being a follower and disciple of Jesus extends beyond our outward behavior. It includes the condition of our heart.

What Does it Mean to Have a Christian Heart?

When we put our faith and trust in Christ, when we commit our lives to serving Him and serving others as He served us, our behavior and mindset reflects the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Christ is with us and in us. We are new creations!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" — 2 Corinthians 5:17

Our old way of thinking is gone. Our motivation, desire, and purpose are replaced with delight in the things of God. The joys and pleasures of our lives are exponentially enhanced through our relationship with Christ. And our selfish and worldly pursuits are exchanged for desire to honor God.

Life in Christ is not a life of "I don’t get to do what I like." It’s not a life of loss. Instead, it’s a life of abundance, where what I used to like and desire pales in comparison to what my heart now desires. Christians see, feel and experience the world in a different way. A much grander, deeper and meaningful way.

One of the new ways we see the world is through the lens of "others first." For example, Christians are called to love the orphan and widow and care for those less fortunate.

God’s concern for the vulnerable or marginalized is apparent in his command for us to defend them.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." — James 1:27

A Christian heart living out Christian values results in tangible care and compassion for others. It is characterized by active love for others. That's the meaning of compassion.

Jesus said, "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." — John 13:34-35

What Does it Look Like to Love Others as Jesus Loves Us?

One tangible way, and it is only one, that you can love others as Jesus loves us is by helping save a child who lives in absolute poverty. Often exploited, often oppressed, children living in poverty do not experience the innocence of childhood. Their world is not kind. In their world, they struggle to survive.

Child poverty destroys a child’s emotional and physical well-being. It affects their attitude, outlook and behavior. Children living in poverty grow up believing the world won’t get better. That their situation will never change.

Poverty didn’t let go of their parents. It wasn’t any different for their grandparents, and it won’t be any different for them or their children. This hopelessness is the great lie of poverty.

Through our Child Sponsorship Program, you can extend a hand of compassion to a child in need. You can love a child in Jesus' name.

When you sponsor a child through our holistic child development program you provide life-changing help to that child: medical care, nourishing food, access to clean water, education opportunities, support from caring adults, and the opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.

Share the heart of Christ with a child in poverty. Join us in our ministry to children in need.

Sponsor a Child Today!

When children find out they've been sponsored, the joy they feel is indescribable. Just knowing that someone across the globe cares means more than you can imagine. Sponsoring a child in need will profoundly change the future for your child, and it will change your own life as well.

Search for a Child
Select Today

Show more search options (child name, special needs and more)

Give With Confidence

With Compassion, your donation is used wisely to help children around the world.

Lock IconWe use industry-standard communication protocols to ensure your personal information is encrypted and transmitted without risk.

Trusted Charity Since 1952

Have Questions About Compassion and How We Work?

Donating to a charity is an important decision. So when you’re passionate about a cause and want to make a difference, we encourage you to do your research. Compassion is 100% committed to financial integrity, stewardship and using each dollar wisely. If you have any questions about Compassion or exactly how your donation will be used, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Questions?

Please call us at (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT to speak with a Compassion Representative.

CHAT