Real Christians often have characteristics described in the list found under "What a Christian is Not". But there's an important
distinction. These characteristics are effects, not causes. A real Christian knows God because God's spirit lives in that person. Sounds spooky? Amazing, but true! Because Christians have the Spirit of God within them,
they display godly attributes such as purity, love and obedience.
God is holy and without fault. His Holy Spirit living in his people gives them the desire and ability to live pure and holy lives, which involves both doing good things and refraining from bad things.
God is love, so someone who has his Spirit is going to love God and other people. The word "love" here doesn't necessarily mean warm feelings that are more or less beyond our control. God's love means desiring and acting on what's best for another individual, regardless of how we feel.
Love for God prompts us to seek to know Him better. One avenue for knowing Him is prayer and Bible study. If we love someone, we will want to both talk to that person and hear from him or her. One of God's primary means of speaking to us is through the Bible. In prayer, we both talk and listen to him. Another way to know God better is through involvement in a church, where we can worship him with others who love him and grow in our understanding of His Word, the Bible.
In addition, an individual with the Spirit of God inside will obey God. The apostle John wrote, "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands" (1 John 2:3).
Excerpted from "What is a Real Christian?", copyrighted © 2002 by Luis Palau.
Some text was modified for brevity.
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