What type of person do you think of when you hear “Christian?” Maybe a person you know comes to mind or a list of attributes floods your thoughts, or you may think of strong biblical characters who showed great faith. The answer isn’t all that complex. The Bible actually clearly lays out the answer to this question multiple times.
Outside of my job, I don’t typically write on a schedule. I usually write when I feel particularly inspired by an issue or a passage. In this case, I saw a repetition in my reading I couldn’t ignore. What I found throughout the New Testament were traits a follower of Jesus should aspire to have.
To start we can look at the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-25. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Paul is laying out the character traits a believer will exhibit when they are in step with the Holy Spirit.
There are lists similar to these spread out in the New Testament:
- 1 Timothy 6:11 – “…Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”
- 2 Peter 1:5-8 – “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Titus 1:7 – “Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.”
After I originally started writing this, my wife and I had a conversation about how we were portraying Christ in our daily lives. We know where we stand between the two of us with our faith, but would someone who doesn’t know us look at us and know we are believers through the character traits we display in our daily lives? It was a great reminder to really come back to these passages and study them so we know what we are striving towards.
Usually I like to dig into the background and historical context of scripture, but I’m hoping this post can serve more as a resource or reference list. I don’t think we need to create a checklist and become obsessed with works, but I do think it’s important to keep in mind what the Bible lays out for us. I would encourage anyone reading this to visit the passages above in full context and search for even more character traits talked about in the Bible.