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How To Live, Love & Lead Like Christ

Updated: May 17

The Core Principles of Living Your Life With The Values of Christ

In a previous article I wrote on “How to Have a Christ Centered Relationship,” I quoted a common phrase that many Christians use in their spiritual growth and development.  They often say, “It’s not about religion, it’s about relationship.”

I went on to discuss three (3) key components to help distinguish the difference between having a Christ centered relationship and just following a Christ-centered religion.  Those components were: Commitment, Communication, and Consistency.  

If you want to dive deeper into each component, you can find that article on my blog.

But in this article, I want to go beyond the components of a Christ-centered relationship, and I want to get to the “Core” of making that relationship a reality.

The core of having a Christ centered relationship requires concentrating, focusing on, thinking, acting, and applying the character of Christ to everything we do.  That means going beyond just accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, but also making Christ the Lord of our lives.

This isn’t as hard to do as you may initially think, but due to our fears, doubts, shame, guilt, and pride, it’s just very challenging to do it consistently.

christ centered relationships

Living With Christian Values Starts With Intimately Knowing Jesus

Allow me to share a story with you that will make this a lot clearer, so you can see the difference between “religion” (i.e., religious activities) and “relationship” (building intimacy).

When my son (Kendall), was 12 years old, he asked me to do a challenge with him.  We had just finished doing a Quiet Time devotional together on “Loving, Living, and Leading Like Christ.” Kendall said, “Dad, let’s see if we can be like Jesus and go 24 hours without sinning.”

After I overcame the initial shock of his request, I enthusiastically agreed to do it.  Not because I thought we could do it (go without sinning) successfully, but I was confident we would learn a lot from the attempt.  And boy did we ever.

The truth of the matter is, it’s impossible to love, live, and lead like Christ unless you first have a personal intimate relationship with JesusIn other words, you must know the character of the Christ before you can imitate it (Ephesians 5:1,2).

From our Bible reading over the years (at that time, 12 years for me, 3 years for Kendall), we knew the following about Jesus’ character:

  • His ATTITUDE always displayed the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

  • His THOUGHTS were always honorable, pure, just, lovely, commendable, and excellent. (Philippians 4:8)

  • His ACTIONS never conformed to the norms of this world; but rather just the opposite, he always focused his attention and actions on pursuing the will of God. (Romans 12:2)

  • He always CHOSE love and forgiveness over bitterness, resentment, revenge, malice, or slander. (Luke 23:34

  • His PRIORITIES were always God over man, relationship over money, and purpose over popularity. (Matthew 6:33, Matthew 22:36-39, Luke 14:26)

So, in order for me and Kendall to go without sinning for a day, all we had to do was love, live, and lead like Jesus.   

Your Imperfect Journey Is What Will Bring You Closer To God

To make a long story short, we both failed miserably.  But don’t laugh, because ironically, Kendall and I found ourselves growing relationally closer to God than we did before we even tried the challenge.  Because here is what we learned:

  1. Religion or religious activities won’t keep you from sinning; it’ll only keep you spiritually busy and exhausted.

  1. A relationship with Christ has nothing to do with perfection; it has everything to do with progress and growth.

  1. Sinning is not confined to just what you do or don’t do; sin also involves your thoughts as well as your attitude and intentions. This is where Kendall and I both failed.

  1. Being Christ centered means being Christ focused, Christ conscious, and being Christ sustaining.  Meaning, it was in our weakness and inability to “not sin” that Kendall and I realized how great Jesus was and why we so desperately need a Savior.  Because we can never be Jesus, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are still expected to love, fear, trust, and obey God.

To 'Live Like Jesus' You Should Look To Emulate His Character

So, how does a man build and have a Christ centered relationship? He simply applies Jesus’ character to everything he does. For instance…

  • You have to apply Jesus’ character to your faith and trust in God, by pursuing God with all your heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22:36-37)

  • Then you must apply Jesus’s character to your wife, by loving her like Christ loved the church and was willing to give himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

  • Then you must apply the character of Jesus to your children, by teaching them God’s word and His commands, and by incorporating them into your daily living. (Deuteronomy 6:6) 

  • Then you must apply Jesus’ character in your relationships/interactions with others, by loving, praying, and forgiving others as God has commanded. (Matthew 22:39)

  • Then you must apply the character of Jesus on your job and in your career by working as if you’re serving the Lord, not man. (Colossians 3:23)

  • But beyond all of those areas mentioned above, in order to have a Christ centered relationship, you must apply the character of Jesus by adopting the priorities of Jesus by seeking God, His kingdom, and His righteousness above all things in your life. (Matthew 6:33)

Creating A Christ Centered Relationship Requires Support

Having a Christ centered relationship and living a Christ-centered life isn’t easy; it not only requires commitment, communication, and consistency; at its core, it requires humility, sacrifice, prayer, obedience, and trust. That’s why community, brotherhood, mentoring/coaching, and accountability are so important.  

Kendall and I figured this out firsthand within the span of 24 hours.  He and I realized we not only needed a Savior (Jesus) and the help of the Holy Spirit in loving, living, and leading like Christ, we also needed the encouragement and support of each other to keep trying whenever we failed in our attempts.

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