Just because someone calls themself a Christian doesn't mean they are a good representation of Jesus. In fact, all of us who calls ourselves Christians fail in different ways to represent the amazing love, grace and purity of Jesus.
There are so many misrepresentations and misunderstandings of Christianity in the world. This is to be expected, because there are a lot of us who call ourselves Christians around the world. But it should be the goal of every Christian to walk true to the characteristics that Christ would call out of our lives.
DL Moody stated, "Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian." We are walking representations of Jesus to the world around us, and even to our own families.
It should be our highest aim to represent Jesus well.
So what does a healthy Christian look like? When I say healthy, I'm referring not to physical health, but to someone who represents Jesus well - in a healthy and true way.
Here are 9 characteristics of a healthy Christian - of someone who represents Jesus well:
1. Peaceful & Full of mercy
You might get the hint from some Christians that God is pleased when we tirade and rant about everything in culture. But the Bible tells us that, "The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." (James 3:17) Healthy Christians may speak out at times to culture, but they don't spend all their time doing this - they are most focused on being people of peace and mercy.
2. Lives in community with other Christians
Healthy Christians love to do life and grow together with other Christians. If a Christian can't seem to get along with others, then they are immature in their faith in Christ. (The Bible speaks multiple times about spiritual maturity, and how some Christians are immature, and others are mature.) (see 1 John 4:20)
3. Lives for the glory of God
A healthy Christian has grown into a singular focus of their life. They are most interested in laying themselves down, and becoming less, and in Jesus becoming a greater force and focus of their activities in daily life. (see John 3:30)
4. A friend of sinners
Jesus was known as a friend of sinners. A healthy Christian doesn't just hang out with other Christians, they are interested in befriending, and extending God's mercy to those outside the Church as well. (see Matthew 11:19)
5. increasing in loving-kindness
You recognize a healthy Christian by seeing the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. They are growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. (see Galatians 5:22-23)
6. Feeds on the Word of God
DL Moody was a late Christian leader who had a high view of the Word of God, and shared so many good illustrations of why the Scriptures build a healthy Christian. He once said, "If we don’t bring people into closer contact with the Word of God, the whole impression from religious meetings will be gone in 3 months." Until we learn to feed on the Word of God in our own personal, daily lives, we will never be the growing Christians God wants us to be. (see Psalm 1:1-3)
7. Practices God's presence
A healthy Christian regularly experiences God's presence in their life. They want to know God personally, and God fills and empowers them by His Spirit's loving presence. (see Romans 5:5)
8. Joyfully rooted in the gospel
A healthy Christian knows the entirety of their salvation rests in God's work on their behalf, through Jesus on the cross, not in their own feeble efforts at holiness. They do not spread mere moralism. They spread the gospel, which is focused on accepting Christ by faith, and following Him. (see Ephesians 2:8-9)
9. Faithfully endures suffering
A healthy Christian knows this life will not always be perfect. They have an eternal focus, and know this life is temporary and flawed. They are focused on believing God's promises in the midst of the pain of this world. (see Acts 14:22)