Am I a good Christ?

By Francis Chan, Catalyst

I think it’s time we stop asking ourselves the question: “Am I a good Christian?” We live in a time when the term “Christian” has been so diluted that millions of immoral but nice people genuinely consider themselves “good Christians.” We have reduced the idea of a good Christian to someone who believes in Jesus, loves his or her family, and attends church regularly.

Others will label you a good Christian even though your life has no semblance of likeness to the way Christ spent His days on earth. Perhaps we should start asking the question: “Am I a good Christ?” In other words, do I look anything like Jesus? This question never even entered my mind until a friend of mine made a passing comment to me one day.

Dan is a longtime friend of mine who described a trip to Tijuana, Mexico, with a pastor named Von. Dan didn’t speak of the awful living conditions of those who made their homes amidst the rubbish. He spoke of the compassion, sacrifice, and love that he witnessed in Von’s words and actions as he held these malnourished and unwashed children.

Then he made the statement that sent me reeling: “The day I spent with Von was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to walking with Jesus.”

Dan explained that the whole experience was so eerie because he kept thinking to himself: “If Jesus were still walking on earth in the flesh, this is what it would feel like to walk alongside of Him!”

After that discussion, I kept wondering if anyone had ever said that about me, “The day I spent with Francis was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to walking with Jesus.” The answer was an obvious “no.” Would any honest person say that about you? What bothered me was not that I hadn’t “arrived,” but that I wasn’t even heading in the right direction. I wasn’t striving to become the kind of person who could be mistaken for Jesus Christ.

Isn’t it ironic that a man can be known as a successful pastor and Christian even if his life doesn’t resemble Christ’s? “He that saith he abideth in [Jesus] ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked (1 John 2:6). When John made that statement, he wasn’t speaking about how to be a church leader or even how to be a “good” Christian. He merely stated that anyone who calls himself a Christian should live like Jesus did.

So how did Jesus live? You could make a list of character traits to compare yourself to, but it would be far more beneficial to simply read through one of the Gospels. After you get a bird’s-eye view of the life of Christ, do the same with your own. It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of “success.” Biblically, however, success is when our lives parallel Christ’s.

May we make it our goal to someday have someone say of us: “The time I spent with ______ was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to walking with Jesus.”

As Christians, we often complain about how antagonistic people are toward Jesus. Personally, I’m not sure that they’re really rejecting Him. Maybe they just haven’t seen Him.