What Is a “Conforming Christian”?

Do you find it easier to believe in Jesus or live like Jesus? There’s a difference between the two.

What Is a “Conforming Christian”?

Romans 8:29; 12:1-2

Today's Scripture Passage

A Few Thoughts to Consider

Do you find it easier to believe in Jesus or live like Jesus?

There’s a difference between the two. Believing in Jesus is trusting he is who he says he is. He is God; he died on the cross for our sins; he rose again on the third day, and when we repent of our sins and put our trust in him, we receive the gift of eternal life. That’s what it means to believe.

But living like Jesus is a different matter. Unfortunately, there are many who claim the label Christian but have no interest in patterning their lives after him. According to Pew Research, there are around 2.18 billion professing Christians around the globe.[1] This raises the natural question: If there are so many Christians in our world, why is there so much evil and chaos? Why do so many “Christians” live in ways that look nothing like Christ?

The late Mahatma Gandhi famously stated of Christians,

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

And it’s clear he speaks for a large contingent of people today. So why are Christians often so unlike Christ? One of the primary reasons is that instead of following Jesus, many have invited Jesus to follow them. They’ve taken the label of Christian, cherry-picked a few Bible verses they’ve plucked out of context, and leveraged Jesus’ name to perform their agenda.

Author Dan White Jr. writes,

“Evangelicalism[2] has made Jesus so ‘personal’ that he can coexist comfortably alongside powerful ideologies of Consumerism, Individualism, Racism, and Nationalism.”[3]

This list could go on. But what is the solution? The answer is to be conformed to the image of Christ.

The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:29,

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

He then goes on to say in Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

 Fake Christians are conformed to the trappings of this world. They find their hope and security in materialism, sensual pleasure, and all things that are temporal. Conforming Christians are continuously seeking to believe and act more like Christ.

A Meditation to PRAY

Praise | God, thank you for the gift of eternal life. Thank you for letting me know that when I put my trust in you, the Holy Spirit is at work within me.

Release | Forgive me for the times I’ve believed but haven’t acted like Christ.

Ask | Help me be rooted in belief and committed to action. Conform every area of my life to your will.

Yield | Sometimes I’ll get this wrong, and I won’t act like you, God. So, in these moments, reorient my heart. I want your will accomplished in my life today.  

A Challenge to Act Like Christ  

Living a conformed life involves belief and action. The two are intertwined. This is why going through all of Scripture is important. Because as you do, you allow God’s Word to transform you from the inside out.

In John 3:30, John the Baptist makes this remark about Jesus that should be the motto for every follower of Christ:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

This should be the goal of every interaction with your family, at work, and at play. Less of me and more of him.

Discussion Question | Do you sense this tension between belief and action? What is one area of your life that could be more conformed to Christ’s image?

*Unless you specify otherwise, comments and questions you ask may be featured in upcoming podcast episodes.

[1] https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/2011/12/19/global-christianity-exec/

[2] A Protestant Christian movement emphasizing personal conversion, biblical authority, and the active spread of the Christian gospel.

[3] Facebook Post, September 17, 2023