Acts 26.20 states, I declared to those in Damascus first, and then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds consistent with repentance.
What should a Christian look like? A Christian is a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is an obedient follower of the commands of Jesus. Not complicated really but certainly arguable, at least it has been for more than 2000 years. Why?
God has not burdened us with a long list of requirements for following Him. He knows we are rebellious by nature and would refuse to follow them anyway. This program of laws, rules and regulations was tried on the Jews but was not carried over to Christianity when God began His new covenant with humanity.
God in Jesus, has given us commands to follow but they are more principle driven requiring us to stay close to the Father through the Spirit of the Son in order to practically work them out. Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength is the first command. Simple but not practical. We have to make it practical. Typically we would do things like pray, fast, read the Bible, meet with others in study, worship to obey this command.
When people require certain behaviors in any of these applications is when we deviate from the commands of God to the commands of men. It is this deviation that causes the differences in Christianity and sometimes creates the confusion about what is a Christian and how they are supposed to act.
The best way to follow God is to follow His Word. Jesus is the Word so His words are paramount but God has recorded all of His words that we need to know for obeying Him in the Bible. Reading, studying, memorizing the Bible is essential for being able to please God and discern when people confuse the commands of God with the commands of men. God gives us freedom to apply His commands we must give one another grace in their application.
Another example of this is God’s command that His people should meet together. God has recorded in His Word His will that the people of God should assemble to encourage one another toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10). How this is to happen is subject to our choosing. When we demand certain behaviors for meeting together we deviate from the command itself making the application more important than the command.
We should obey God and give grace to each for how that obedience gets applied. The beauty of God’s methodology is that Christians should be characterized by certain behaviors while manifesting those behaviors in millions of ways. The command of God is that we love one another. Millions of Christians practically obeying this command means myriads of examples of God’s will being done on earth so that all the world sees the nature of God while experiencing His will practically in a variety of ways. God is good and His will is perfect.
We do best when we focus on what God wants while helping each other do that as they believe He desires for them to accomplish His purposes.