After learning about Jesus' life, the degree of your commitment to His teachings is up to you. If you are looking to increase your understanding and fellowship with Jesus and other Christians, you need to allow Christ to transform your life, bringing new meaning to your life. By imitating the life (physical and spiritual) of Christ and communing with other believers, you will feel the presence of God's family and effectively be part of it.
Part 1 of 4: Living in the image of Christ
Step 1. Practice altruism, openness and humility.
Christ and his followers were common men, from working families, who helped and brought hope to society's outcasts, such as lepers. They led a nomadic life, without a roof over their heads, and when they were not preaching the Gospel, they devoted themselves to learning and silent contemplation. While you don't need to become a wanderer, minstrel, disciple, or missionary to be a true follower of Christ, it's important to understand that attributes such as wealth, status, good public speaking, and success are trivial. God works through the basics: the truth, which is propagated by messengers and in simple words. The less surrounded by the temptations that the material world offers you, the closer you will be to the message of Jesus: the way, the truth and the life. When He says, "I am the Way", he is referring to the Kingdom of Heaven and, to deserve it, one must claim Jesus' forgiveness.
- Take it one small step at a time. You are not obligated to become a missionary or to be a part of a ministry - but provide a Bible and study the life of Christ, the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of Paul (basically, the entire New Testament). Instead of entertaining trivialities like television in your spare time, meditate on a passage from the Bible that you think is important to you but that you still don't fully understand. Pray for enlightenment. Think more and do more for Jesus and his people.
- A temptation common to all Christians (and to believers of other religious doctrines) is self-righteousness, vanity. Followers of Jesus should not flaunt their own humility, boast about the "spiritually uplifted" life they lead. Of course, the follower of Christ should make life simpler and more centered, but not driven by the desire to put himself "above" others: his only motivation should be the desire to commune with God and other Christians, to form a " God's family". As one of God's many sons and daughters, you are a joint heir with Jesus Christ.
Step 2. Tell more about Jesus
Although he communicated in an enigmatic way (through parables) with the people of his time, he was direct and honest with his followers: he had nothing to hide and only spoke what he had full confidence; his words were pregnant with the Holy Ghost. Among friends, colleagues you trust, family and people you love, be frank, honest; as a result, your life will be a lot less complicated.
Using words with hidden motivations or a desire to manipulate others is a common practice in the work environment, at home, and in many relationships. Even if you disagree with your interlocutor, speak your mind with love. Most people are worthy of respect, honesty and decency
Step 3. Love your neighbor as yourself
So don't be too harsh on your criticisms of others - remember that there is only one Judge. Since "love never fails" and "God is love," try to find kindness in others and be receptive to it. Expect the best from people and strive to build constructive bonds with them. Don't take yourself so highly. Instead, assume that people you don't know can be pleasant to be around, that they have something to teach. Carry your load and try to help others carry theirs. Tell the truth so the truth will be told to you. And during the journey, keep your joy, generosity and patience. Whenever possible, allow yourself to dialogue with people who are reasonable and of opinion different from yours, with experiences that you have not gone through and with beliefs that differ from your own. Listen with an open heart and try to make your point.
Step 4. Learn a trade or profession
Before preaching the Gospel, Jesus spent years practicing carpentry, a job he learned from Joseph, Mary's husband. Dedicating yourself to a craft, profession, or skill will help you be more humble and live simply. Be good at what you do and put that competence at the service of the people in your life, Christian or not. Be a helpful and trustworthy person.
Step 5. Identify and support the most disadvantaged
Who doesn't have a voice in your community? And who needs to open up and become more companionable with these less privileged people? Jesus tried to get the message out to society's marginalized and stigmatized - and he did it not just through easy words, but through deeds.
- Expand your mind and your ability to empathize with the suffering of others living with less fortunate people. Volunteering at community kitchens, hostels and other charitable organizations are options to consider. Spend your time with these people, be friendly and learn from them. Do not observe their suffering as a tourist observes the landscapes he visits; offer real help.
- Give charity. You don't need to donate large amounts, and you don't even need to make cash donations.
- Offer transportation, bus tickets and a ride; take your elderly neighbor to the doctor; help an unemployed person find cheap or free food.
- Visit seniors or children in orphanages. Surprise your grandmother with a phone call or a visit.
- If you have a friend in a difficult situation, prepare dinner and ask a motorcycle courier to deliver the food without revealing his name; be careful not to reveal that it was you who helped him in the future.
- Write letters to orphans or soldiers in war; let them know you care and send them small gifts.
Step 6. Find a church that matches your beliefs, level of commitment and interest in charity
Work in church welfare. Some congregations collect donations, organize mission teams, do community work, etc.
Step 7. Carry your own cross
It is not necessary to martyr yourself for some cause to be a follower of Christ; however, you must face your challenges knowing that you are never forsaken by God. Give yourself to a vocation greater than yourself. Defend others honestly whenever you encounter an injustice - this is reflected in the "spiritual battle" taking place within you. Protect your community rules.
- Doubt is a frequent problem among Christians. No Christian is exempt from this - even Jesus suffered 40 days of temptation in the desert, his vision clouded by human fallibility. He was 100% male and therefore as vulnerable as we are to the temptations of the world, but he never gave in to them. Even Jesus cried out on the cross, "Father, why have you forsaken me?" Then he said, "Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit!" and the conflict was over. What followed was His victory over sin, death and the grave. You are able to deal with weakness and temptation, as long as you are patient - doubt purifies faith as fire purifies gold; after going through the trial, you will be covered with the grace of God.
- Address difficulties and dilemmas with persistence and focus: it is this kind of attitude towards life that defines you as a person and as a Christian.
Step 8. Seek wisdom and pass on the gifts of God
Bring some balance to Christians who are too serious. It's no use blind devotion to traditions and dogmas if in church all you do is keep your seat warm-that doesn't make anyone a Christian. Think about your beliefs. Constantly evaluate them. Always thank God. Defend Jesus' teachings by striving to make them the center of your life.
Part 2 of 4: Becoming a Church Member
Step 1. Find a church that strengthens your bond with Christ.
For the layman, the myriad branches, doctrines, and practices into which Christianity divides can be confusing. Each category of Christianity gives rise to numerous subdivisions, but you can start by visiting churches in your neighborhood until you choose one you want to be a part of.
- protestant churches. If you are interested in Christ's teachings and in cultivating a personal relationship with Him, but you are not interested in tradition and formality, you may be interested in some church based on Protestant doctrine. The largest Protestant churches, each with a different practice and discourse, are Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Assembly of God and Episcopal. Other churches, unrelated to these branches, are very common in the United States.
- Roman Apostolic Catholic Church. If you like to respect traditions, rituals and ceremonies, visit the Catholic communities in your neighborhood. Protestant doctrines broke with the Roman Church in the 16th century as a result of several differences in the interpretation of the Bible.
- orthodox church. Of all the categories, the Orthodox is the most conservative and serious about the traditions and history of Christ. Also known as "Orthodox Catholic," this church is very common in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Russia, and claims to have direct links to the early apostles.
Step 2. Fellowship with other followers
Try to attend various services or masses and talk to people you meet. One of the central aspects of imitating and approaching Christ is to form bonds with the local population. Meeting people of similar beliefs is a comfort to all Christians, it creates a sense of community, family and tradition.
- Don't be afraid to visit several churches. See what sensation each one experiences. Find out if priests or pastors work during the day and talk to them alone about what you want in a community of believers. Ask for help. Churches are always excited about the possibility of bringing in a new member.
- Talk to other members and church volunteers about what you need to do to become a member once you've made up your mind to do so. In most cases, you only need to attend one class and be baptized.
Step 3. Baptize yourself.
Depending on the church you want to join, your formal membership is symbolized in a public baptism. The process is simple: the priest or pastor will just dip it in water (in some cases, just sprinkle it). Baptism symbolizes the beginning of a new life, and the act is of special importance for Christians since Christ himself was baptized. This event can be an important milestone in your commitment to Jesus - and if you want to follow it, this is an important step on your journey.
Step 4. Be more than just a church member
Now, you have been baptized and take part in your church life. This is an achievement, but only the beginning of your life in Christ. It is important to attend service or Mass twice a week, pray before bed, and read the Bible, but setting aside just a small portion of your routine is not enough to imitate Jesus.
Only you can create a personal bond with Jesus and know how He wants you to follow Him. Meditate on His teachings. Take wide and varied readings. And spread the Word. Face the challenge to live according to the will of Christ and allow your mind to be transformed
Part 3 of 4: Studying Jesus' Teachings
Step 1. Learn about the biblical Jesus
In the Bible, the story of Jesus is narrated in four Gospels - that of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each one differs in point of view and content from the other three. The Gospels tell us that Jesus is the Son of God, immaculately conceived by Mary, who gave birth in a stable or manger. He, Jesus, was baptized in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist, an event that made Him much more than a simple prophet who spoke in the name of God. Jesus' crucifixion took place at Golgotha; after death, he was buried in a tomb from which he rose after three days and ascended to Heaven. According to Christians, Jesus has redeemed the sins of mankind, and that we can only be saved through faith in His providence. Most theologians divide the life of Christ into five stages:
- Baptism of Christ, recorded in Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, and John 1. After this event, Jesus became an important teacher and prophet, hence his importance.
- The Transfiguration it refers to one of Jesus' greatest miracles: His followers watched him radiate divine light atop the Mountain of Transfiguration, where Moses, Elijah, and God later appeared to communicate with Jesus. The episode is reported in Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9, and is not mentioned in the Book of John.
- The Crucifixion it deals with the arrest, torture and execution of Christ. He was arrested in Gethsemane on a charge of blasphemy, given a crown of thorns, whipped, nailed by hand and foot to a wooden cross, had his side pierced by a spear, and died. Christians believe that his crucifixion was voluntary, an act of sacrifice for all mankind, not just a tribe or nation. The crucifixion is narrated in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23 and John 19.
- The Resurrection it is Christ's return from the grave, three days after the burial. As his body was no longer subject to the laws of nature, he made appearances to his followers for forty days. Christians celebrate this episode - narrated in Matthew 28, Mark 16 and Luke 24 - on Easter Sunday.
- The Ascension it happened when Jesus summoned the disciples to the Mount of Olives, conversed with them, and ascended to Heaven, promising to return and restore the Kingdom of Heaven. The event is described in Mark 16 and Luke 24, as well as in Acts 1 and 1st Book of Timothy 3.
Step 2. Learn what Jesus taught
During his lifetime, Christ traveled and ministered to multitudes of thousands; his teachings are recorded in the four Gospels and other books of the Bible. Often passed on as parables and stories, the teachings are enigmatic, poetic, complex and beautiful. The book of the Bible in which Jesus speaks and teaches the most is that of Matthew. Among the main lessons are:
- The Sermon on the Mount, narrated in Matthew 5-7. It contains the Lord's Prayer and the Beatitudes, so influential in Christian theology and belief. If you want to know what Jesus and the apostles believed, this is important reading.
- You will be baptized with the Holy Ghost', Acts 1:4: "And [Jesus] being with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, 'That,' he said, 'you have heard from Me., John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not long after these days.'"
- The Mission Speech, Matthew 10. Describes the behavior that Christ expects of the disciples, instructing them how to worship and live in accordance with God's will. It is an important chapter for those who desire to be exemplary followers of Christ.
- the parables, distributed periodically throughout the four Gospels, but specifically in Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 12-18, and John 15. The simplicity of these stories may be deceiving at first glance, but they are complex, pregnant with metaphors, and cover a variety of topics. The most famous parables are those of the good Samaritan, the yeast, and the two debtors.
- the farewell, told in John 14-17. Here is recorded the message Jesus conveyed to the disciples the night before his death, after the Last Supper. This is one of the most moving and powerful passages in the Bible. He has promised to be among us always: "And I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth and the Holy Spirit, which the world cannot receive, because it sees neither know: but ye know him, because he dwelleth with you, and he shall be in you." John 14:16-17.
- The Olive Tree Discourse, which appears in Mark 13, Matthew 24, and Luke 21. A prophecy of Christ, in which he predicts the end of time, which will be a time of great tribulation, and describes his return. Interpretations of this prophecy vary widely.
Step 3. Learn about the historical Jesus
A man who, despite his humble origins, was a leader of multitudes, and whose passage on Earth is recorded not only in the Bible, but in countless other folk tales and historical documents. Roman historians Josephus and Tacitus tell the life of Christ through the account of the first Christians, a cult that arose shortly after His death. Josephus wrote that Jesus was "a wise man" and "a learned teacher." Both historians recognize its execution as an important historical event.
- Born between 2 and 7 BC in a small town in Nazareth called Galilee, it is almost consensus among historians that Jesus was a carpenter who had visions and was accepted as a teacher and healer in his community. The Baptism and Crucifixion of Jesus are generally understood to be incontrovertible historical events.
- Christ is mentioned in other religious doctrines as well. Islam believes that Jesus is a prophet of Muhammad's stature, while practitioners of some branches of Hinduism believe that he was one of the avatars of Vishnu.
Step 4. Bring Christ into your world
One of the factors that make Christ's teachings so difficult to understand is the chronological distance between today's world and that described in the Bible. Expressed in a language that seems so archaic to us, the message can get a bit cloudy. So it's important to bring Jesus into your context, to imagine what he would say about your life and the world around you. Dealing with timeless themes such as greed, charity and - above all - love, Jesus has a lot to say about what today's world could and should be.
- The teachings of Jesus, perhaps more than those of any other character in history, were distorted, misrepresented, misquoted. To follow him with devotion and transform your life in the image of Christ, you need to learn the lessons directly from the Bible…not from some cable TV documentary, street pamphlet or through the pastor's sermon. Drink directly from the source. Study His words. Make the sacrifice necessary to understand them and bring them into your life.
- The Christian Bible, taken by many as the "Word of God", is a fascinating and much studied document throughout history. It didn't come out of nowhere in the 20th/21st century world. The older the translation you read, the closer you will be to the message Christ left in the Bible. Be careful which translation (and interpretation) of the Bible you accept and believe.
- A translator's choice of words can change the meaning that certain passages of the Bible should express and the feeling they should cause. It can make the crucial, banal. Is what you are reading a subjective interpretation that contains only a shadow of the original meaning or a reliable, objective, faithful translation? Jesus had no malice and was not cunning (but what about the translators?). The scriptures speak of a Jesus who said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life", who promised us peace and freedom by saying, "The Truth shall set you free".
Step 5. Develop an intimate relationship with Christ through prayer.
If you are new to Jesus' teachings and want to improve your understanding and your relationship with Him, start praying.
There is no formula: you don't have to speak out loud, only if you feel it's right. If you like formal prayers, you can read a breviary, but not without meditating on what the prayers mean and without looking to Jesus. Confess, communicate and ask Jesus questions
Part 4 of 4: Preaching the Word
Step 1. Teach others about Jesus when you are ready.
When you feel confident and versed in the Bible, share what you know. Don't hide your beliefs - display them as a badge.
When the other person refuses to listen or learn, don't try to force them to accept anything. Many fights start because one of the parties refuses to listen. You don't have to convince anyone you're right and the person is wrong. Tell us about your relationship with Jesus, what you have learned from your studies. That's the best you can do, and it's the most honest approach
Step 2. Dedicate your time and resources to the church
These communities can only sustain and prosper thanks to the donations of the faithful. Share a little of what you have with the church, and work to make it successful.
- Rally other believers to your church. Don't make anyone feel guilty about not being part of a church; instead, speak of church as a fun, inviting place: "Are we going to church with me this weekend? I'd love for you to come visit."
- If you are a craftsman or have a skill, consider putting it in the service of the church. If you understand electrical installations, here's something you can do to make church renovation less expensive. If you can lead a prayer group, here's something you can do to ease the pastor's routine. Take responsibility for becoming an important member of the congregation.
Step 3. Consider traveling and being a missionary
As your belief and relationship with Jesus intensifies, it's important to keep your religious life from stagnating. Thinking that we already have enough knowledge, that all our spiritual problems are solved, is a way to get the body out. After all, we have Jesus! It's easy for us to let ourselves be accommodated.
- To avoid routine, step out of your comfort zone at times. See new places, read different kinds of books, expose yourself to arguments against your beliefs and points of view different from your own. Be a conscientious and correct person.
- Many churches organize mission trips, often in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity, and help build homes and provide urgent services in various parts of the world. Start organizing such a tour with your church or sign up for one. This experience can be transformative.
- Create a prayer routine. Pray or pray whenever you can.
- Be firm in your beliefs. When you fail, ask for forgiveness. Remember that you have a lawyer who daily intercedes for you before God.
- Talk about what you believe with your family and friends.
- Giving money to the church is a great way to do charity.
- The Bible speaks of a supreme joy (happiness) too good to be described in words. Said Jesus: "Even though you have not seen him, you love him; and though you do not see him now, believe in him, and rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorious" (1 Peter 1:8).
- You can be happy with your faith without using it as a yardstick for judging people.
- Talk to God with an open heart.