rebelling against low expectations

Are You A Good Christ?


Praise God for Francis Chan. His book, Crazy Love, was an extraordinary challenge and encouragement to us this past summer — and he has continued to speak and write about the beautiful (yet devastating) truths of the Gospel. A friend shared this article with us and we wanted to share it with you. May you experience the same conviction we felt — as well as the same grace to grow in response.

I think it’s time we stop asking ourselves the question: “Am I a good Christian?” We live in a time when the term “Christian” has been so diluted that millions of immoral but nice people genuinely consider themselves “good Christians.” We have reduced the idea of a good Christian to someone who believes in Jesus, loves his or her family, and attends church regularly. Others will label you a good Christian even though your life has no semblance to the way Christ spent His days on earth. Perhaps we should start asking the question: “Am I a good Christ?” In other words, do I look anything like Jesus? This question never even entered my mind until a friend of mine made a passing comment to me one day.

Dan is a long time friend of mine. In fact, he’s the pastor who performed my wedding. He was talking to me about a pastor named Von. Von has been working with youth in the San Diego area for decades. Many of his students have gone on to become amazing missionaries and powerful servants of God. Dan described a trip to Tijuana, Mexico with Pastor Von. (Von has been ministering to the poor in the dumps of Tijuana for years). Dan didn’t speak of the awful living conditions of those who made their homes amidst the rubbish. What impacted Dan the most was the relationship he saw between Von and the people of this community. He spoke of the compassion, sacrifice, and love that he witnessed in Von’s words and actions as he held these malnourished and un-bathed children. Then he made the statement that sent me reeling:

“The day I spent with Von was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to walking with Jesus.”

Dan explained that the whole experience was so eerie because he kept thinking to himself: “If Jesus were still walking on earth in the flesh, this is what it would feel like to walk alongside of Him!” After that discussion, I kept wondering if anyone had ever said that about me: “The day I spent with Francis was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to walking with Jesus.” The answer was an obvious “no.” Would any honest person say that about you?

What bothered me was not that I hadn’t “arrived,” but that I wasn’t even heading in the right direction. I hadn’t made it my goal to resemble Christ. I wasn’t striving to become the kind of person who could be mistaken for Jesus Christ. Isn’t it ironic that a man can be known as a successful pastor, speaker, and CHRISTian even if his life doesn’t resemble Christ’s?

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • “Imitate me just as I also imitate Christ.” -1 Corinthians 11:1

    That’s what Paul said, and that’s what I want to say… and live, not “imitate me just as I also imitate a good Christian.”

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  • It convicts you to think more deeply about how authentic your faith is.

    How many things we must improve in light of this approach!

  • Wow that was convicting. it reminds me of how much of a failure I am at being more like Christ, and yet God still chooses to love me in spite of me. His love and grace is so big! He is such a great God!

  • That is one of the simplest and most convicting questions you can ask yourself! Asking if you are a “good Christ” rather than a “good Christian” reveals so many areas for growth. We must never lower our standards to what other Christians think is “good”. Our attitude should be the same as that of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
    Thank you for posting this! I will definately be sharing this with friends and family!

    God bless!

  • This is the bare reality that Christianity in America is 3 miles wide and 1/4 inch deep. We lack so much and the Truth and the gospel is watered downed, dumbed down and the authority of Jesus Christ is being removed to make people feel “good” and comfortable. We must be careful in the way we present things, I understand the concept, “Am I a good Christ?” How about am I living out life like Jesus. There are many “false Christs” out there, the power in God’s name is Jesus. We aren’t Christs or Jesus’ we are in fact to imitate and resemble. Color me crazy, but in the vast hole of a changing culture our words mean everything. Ga 1:3 Grace [be] to you and peace from God the Father, and [from] our Lord Jesus Christ,

  • That was a great post! It made me think alot. I am trying to get Crazy Love and read it but I haven’t been able. I read a little at a book store and loved it!

  • Wow. Such great timing for me. I have recently been pondering the fact that though many people that I work and go to school with may think I’m a ‘nice’ person, and know I’m a christian, I haven’t been really living my life as a radical sold out for Christ. I need to start living my faith in a more real, Christlike way, and not just in a way that is polite, and socially acceptable. Thank you for the posting, I have definitely been convicted by this article. I plan to ‘start here’ immediately, to follow Christ, and to try to live like Him, not just a ‘good christian’.

    God Bless!
    Soli Deo Gloria!
    Chanel V.

  • (Big breath let out) wow… what a challenge…

    Francis Chan is such a powerful speaker. “Crazy Love” has challenged me to stop being a Luke-warm Christian to one that is outspoken for God!

  • Great post! Thanks for sharing this. 🙂 Much-needed. It’s easy to become complacent in our walk and still feel like we’re a good Christian when we only compare ourselves to other people who profess to be Christian — who may not even be saved. Being called a good Christian these days seems to only require that we be better than the nominal, carnal, lukewarm church-goers — or even just that we don’t do the really bad things a few professing non-christians do. It’s like that thing you guys said a while back, “The ceiling is where the floor ought to be.” I feel dismayed when I am called a “good Christian” for doing simple things, making the tiniest of sacrifices anybody would have to make to follow in Jesus’ Footsteps. We’re not called to compare ourselves to anyone but Christ. “Am I a good Christ?” made me really ask myself, “Am I a good picture of Christ on this earth so people can see, experience, come to know who Jesus is when they encounter me?” Which leads one to return to Scriptures again and ask, “Am I really getting this? Do I know who Jesus is, how He walked, and what He asks of me? Am I living like a Christian at all? Am I a Christian?” As the Church we are each and every one of us called to embody Jesus to this world. If we aren’t, it’s a question if we even know Him — and whether He would say He knows us. Jesus’ commands, being a true disciple… impossible? Yes! Christianity is without God. Christianity that is possible without God is not Christianity at all. Low expectations on Christians are costing so many people their souls. I listen to Cornerstone Simi’s podcast often and I am so, so grateful for how Francis Chan continues to preach the Gospel fully, practically, consistently — as I believe Jesus would — to the lost and dying American church. Often I listen to his sermons and think, “That is what Jesus would say — how Jesus would talk to us about our souls.” May we follow in all we say/present to others as he also follows Christ in his speech/work.

  • Debbie: I carefully considered his approach, as well. I remember I heard once that the word “Christian” essentially means “little Christ” and that it was a mocking term (like “Jesus freak” began as in the 70s) given to the early disciples. I’m not sure if that is true, but if it is, what we often call ourselves can sound a little weird, too… just a thought. 🙂

  • Thanks so much for sharing this, guys! It is a great reminder of how we’re supposed to be representatives for Christ here on earth. It gets me every time. There is such a difference between calling ourselves Christians and actually living as a mirrored image of God.

    Debbie: I agree and also “considered his approach” carefully.

  • Wow, that’s really convicting. i dont really agree with the title “Are you a good Christ” though. It seems to be a little too flippant. But really good post 🙂

  • Probably the thing that hits me most is my responce after I read an article like this. I tend to jump up and think about the radical Christain life I need to start living. No, wait. Not radical. The fact of the matter is, the lifestyle that Jesus lived is only radical to us because so few people live it. In reality, the way that Jesus lived should be our standard, and everything below that should be viewed as less than the way of life Jesus taught us to live. Very much like Do Hard Things, we must realize that the standard of what a “Christian” is has greatly been lowered (the ceiling is where the floor should be!).

    This has greatly encouraged me, not to live a radical life, but to live the way that Jesus expects ALL of His followers to live. Thanks for posting this!


  • Very good concept. (Just remember that ‘Christ’ means ‘Messiah’ and there’s only one of those, as in, we ourselves can never be “good Messiahs.”) But yes, it’s definitely good to strive to be like the LORD Jesus Christ in actions and attitudes;

    “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” -Philippians 2:5 NIV

  • After reading this, I feel a more urgent need to not only ask the question What Would Jesus Do, but to actually DO it.

    @Camden M – that’s a great point, and it’s so true! Living for Christ shouldn’t be radical – it should be the norm. Thanks for that thought.

  • We can feed’em, cloth’em, school’em…..but only Christ can save’em.
    As for me, I am redeemed, justified, sanctified…..all by His Work.
    He loves me unconditionaly & secures me to serve freely.
    To be like Him is to think less of me.

  • Wow! That really makes you think! What a great question to ask yourself! Actually, it’s really convicting. Maybe I should get that book….. Not that I feel like I need to be convicted, but that reminds me how my life should really reflect Christ.

  • Not only should we strive to be better Christians but no matter how close we think we come to that goal, it is a trap if we think we’re “Doing Ok” When we, as Christians think that we’re being pretty good Christians, that is when Satan will spring on us.

  • Wow, that is a very good question that has challenged me again. My husband and I often pray that God will make us like Christ, but I am sure the answer to Francis’ question would be “no’ for me as well. By God’s grace I hope that will change, and reminders like yours are a help along the way.

  • I read this yesterday, and had to think about it for a while first.

    Mostly, ouch!

    The more I think about it the deeper it pierces me. I need to wake up to this so much… how easy it is to be a good “Christian!”, without having to work for it! Francis Chan really has some good thoughts there. I have never thought about being like Christ… I only really tried to be a Christian. I need to make this my goal in life: for anyone who spends any time with me to realize that I resemble Christ.

    Alex and Brett, I don’t know much about Francis Chan or his books… what would be the best one to read first? I would like to look in to all of his stuff.

    Blessings and thanks for posting this,

  • Wow. This really hit me deep. I try to be a good Christian, but I really never try to be like Christ. I think there may be some deep soul-searching for all of us. DHT has really impacted me.

    To God Be the Glory Forever!

    Lucy ♥

  • that was really good! I’ve been thinking things along those lines recently but didn’t really put them into words. that was challenging.

    2 Timothy- Soldier of Christ

  • I find myself rarely asking myself ‘What would Jesus do?’ I often find myself so caught up in the question ‘What will people think of me?’ which leads me to be kind toward others. Till now it hasn’t really been all about God but I see it is time for that to change. Reading this really stood out to me and made me search my reasoning for why I do this or that. This is both a convicting article and a challenge! Thanks!

  • Wow, the timing on that post was perfect, because I’ve been reading In His Steps by Charles Sheldon. It goes perfectly with that book and really makes me think about my own life and how much like Christ I really am.

  • Wow. I want to be the kind of Christian that leaves no doubt in people’s minds WHO I belong to. To think I am portraying Christ to those around me is both exciting and humbling. In the last few months I have really been thinking about how I live my life and all the garbage I have let into it which has blurred my vision. This article comes at a much needed time.

  • Just further commenting:

    I agree with everyone, this came at a time when I really needed it. I’ve been feeling like I’m slipping away, not from what I believe but from that feeling inside of me that says ‘You will stand up for what you believe no matter what!’ I’ve just been feeling like I have to blend in & be a part of everything that everyone else is doing but I don’t & this has really helped me wake up & see that my light has become dim. Thanks again for posting this. (:

  • Thanks for posting this guys! Wow, what a challenge. Being ‘mistaken for Jesus’ should be the most clear and obvious goal in our Christian walk. How do we EVER over look that?

  • Great thought-provoking post. I have been thinking about what the world views us at of late. I am one of the only Christians were I work, they were talking about how religious people are always trying to force them to convert and all of this sort of stuff, and it really opened my eyes to why as Christians strive to be like Christ, thats the only real way the world understands that we are serious about what we believe in… thanks again for the post.

  • Hello Alex and Brett,
    I LOVE your new book Start Here, I just finished it and it makes me look forward to whenever you guys write your next one! I hope your working on a new one by the way:) I was wondering if you could update your reading/book list? I know that you are very busy but I have read most of the books on your current list and I was hoping you had some more books that your could put on the list. Thanks a lot and again your books are awesome!
    God Bless you both!

  • Alot of times when we read something like this we think ”Wow, that is really challenging” but then do nothing about it. We need to put it into practice and make the change in our lives. For those who haven’t you need to read Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love” it was amazing and has really changed the way I think. Don’t just think…. DO.

  • That’s really insperational! We should follow his example and not just live up to the expectations, but go above and beyond the call of duty (Like my religion teacher tells us). That going to church is good but doesn’t make us a true Christian, anymore than standing in a garage makes us a car. We should practice our faith in our day to day lives and not just one hour on Sunday. 🙂

  • Awesome, thanks for posting this! When I’m working with the kids in my church, it’s really easy to get caught up in talking with them about how to be a good Christian, what’s ok to do and what isn’t, and how to live well. Thinking instead about “Are you a good Christ”, and challenging my kids on that, could really reshape some of the conversations I have, and hopefully how they see their faith.

  • Francis Chan’s post mirrored some of my own thoughts earlier today. So many people call themselves Christians and even consider themselves good Christians and have never even accepted Jesus into their lives. Worst of all, unchristians can’t tell any difference from the good non-christians and the good real christians. That makes me think how lame most Christians(including myself most of the time) are, I mean, seriously, the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of us. SHOULDN’T THERE BE A DIFFERENCE between the real Christians and the fake Christians???

    The answer is YES. The answer is looking to God every day and allowing His Spirit to fill us and control us.

    By the way, this is my first post and I really like the sight that you guys have here. Keep up the good work.

  • Calling yourself a Christian doesn’t mean that you necessarily are a Christian or that you act like a Christian. People don’t get a first impression by words, but by how you act. If you don’t act like a Christian when you say you are a Christian people can get mixed messages about you. It is so easy to say that you are a Christian but when it comes time to show that you are a Christian then you have hit pothole in the road. You don’t know what to do after that. Just like it says in the book ,”Do Hard things”, if you fail once that doesn’t mean that people will think you are a loser, you just have to keep trying until you succeed. The more times you fail the stronger the person or Christian you will become.

  • How true?!?! In today’s society the term Christian has been no less twisted to suffice our standards. Although, when we refer back to scripture, are we truly portraying Christ’s example? As a christian, we are to not be labeled by our works, but how much Christ’s light shines through us. As Christians, each day, each moment we do something, we need to ask ourself, if someone saw me do this, would they see Christ in me? We are easily swayed by society to do things without thinking, whether they reflect Christ or not, but this post has definitely made me question if everything I do reflects Christ, not my good deeds or what I’ve done, but what Christ has done for me, and am I a walking mirror of Christ? Thanks for this post! =)

  • this blog is juz right on time for me…. i thought of it for a week or so… we are calling ourselves CHRISTIAN but living a life unlike CHRIST…. lets get serious about this, its shameful to the one who gave His life and we’re happily using His name but living a little bit miserable.

  • Couldn’t agree more. Because Christ lives in us, we have the responsibility to be him for those who have never met him. It breaks my heart when i hear the story of someone being hurt by an experience at church. That could be their only exposure to christianity in their life. In this day and age, the name “Christian” carries much more baggage than Jesus Christ ever intended it to. Dwight Moody once said, “Going to chirch makes you as much of a Christian as going to the garage makes you a car.” However, to be “christ” in the lives of others, we have to do a lot more than just go through the motions of “churchianity”, we have to live every minute out loud. We have to BE the change in our world, as well as in our hearts.

  • This article really makes me think about all the people I know that call themselves Christians. How many of them really are following Christ as a role model? Am I looking towards Christ as a role model? Our only purpose here on this earth is to glorify God and to further His kingdom. Americans, and I’m sure it is true for people all over the world, are getting far too caught up in pursuing some “dream” that our culture has set before us. We forget about what being a Christian really means and focus all our energy towards reaching the “dream”. Thank you Francis Chan for a great article. I will definitely be taking some time to analyze who my role models are and take some time to think about what being a Christian really means.

  • I’m so glad that i came across this website. I’ve been praying about strengthening my faith and seeking to be truly genuine in my relationship with Christ. When i look at my own reflection I try compare against what is written rather than what people see or say. We (through christ) must admit and expose ourselves to ourselves so we are fooled — thinking we are more like Christ than we really are. Examine your heart, activities, motives, thoughts, feelings, and other important aspects of self and see how much of Christ is welded in it.

    This message is not only convicting, but the dose that i needed. I ask that I can remain in your prayers and will do the same for you all. BLess You!

  • Praise God for this wonderful yet hard-hitting article. I mean I know I am a Christian, but then what hit me most is about living life as Christ did. I mean when people see me, do they see Christ, that’s so hard to answer right now, but then I’m glad I read this article, we all need this as a good reminder 🙂 God bless you! 🙂

  • WOW! I never really thought about that before! That would be so totally cool! I hope that when people see me they think that!

  • I have heard sermons like this alot….but this has hit my heart….I try to be like christ but no ones perfect….everyone makes mistakes….its in our nature… all we can do is try to be like christ by getting other people to be christians….

  • This last summer at Camp Blue Haven in New Mexico i was asked a simmular question the question was how can i live to be more like christ and i looked it up and theres numerous verses on that in the bible telling you different things to be like christ but the question is will you really do what the verses are telling you or will you read them and put it at the back of your mind

  • I need help. I feel a calling from God but I’m afraid. My dad told me to talk to the kids in my youth class about the book doing hard things but I’m nervous. Have any advice?

  • I think I’m a good christan for the most part because my whole life people always tell me I’m doing the wrong thing when they find out I’m a christan. I think people should try to accept that Jesus Christ was really and was the true son of God. At my school some people say “Jesus Christ!” When I ask if they are a christan they say “No, I was just mad.” that makes me just sick and unconfertable to be around people like that.

  • What makes you a good Christ? What you do or who you are? It’s nothing you can do to make yourself more Christ-like except spending time (a lot of time) together with the Lord. But be aware there are a lot of [false] christs both in the world but also within the church.
    Make Is 8;20 your desition and desire, and God will bless you as you walk with Him. (The law = The Words of God)

  • When ever i ask myself if I am a good christian or a good christ, the answer is hard to find. I believe that this is something i have to keep in mind and work hard at.

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rebelling against low expectations

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