Being a Christian means to follow Christ by acting on His teachings and emulating His words and deeds. It also means keeping the commandments. Being a follower, a Christian or a disciple of Christ means that we seek out our Savior through study, prayer and striving to become more like Him.
Religious leader, Thomas Monson, shared the story of a woman who had visited the Holy Land and exclaimed, "I walked where Jesus walked!" Though thrilling as this woman's experience was, of this Monson said, "...physically walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as he walked....All of us can walk the path He walked when, with His words ringing in our ears, His spirit filling our hearts, and His teachings guiding our lives, we choose to follow Him as we journey through mortality. His example lights the way. Said He, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.'"
That is how Christians demonstrate discipleship.
1. Follow Christ's example during disappointments and sorrows
Christ suffered many hard times - many of which involved people not following His ways even though He pled for them to do so. In life, no one is immune to sorrows and setbacks. Loss of loved ones, financial or job stresses, physical burdens or other struggles can befall each of us. How we handle it is up to us. We can choose to become angry, calloused or bitter, or we can choose the better way. Christians find hope, strength and faith to get through trials. A positive attitude and a spirit of gratitude during hardships are key to following Christ's example.
2. Resist temptations and practice obedience
Even Jesus Christ was not exempt from temptation. After fasting for 40 days and nights, the Savior was tempted by Satan multiple times. Yet, Christ was unwavering (see Matthew 4). As Christians, we must practice obedience. It's not always easy to make the right choice when facing social pressures or differing, often convincing, world views. The world calls evil good and makes good seem evil. Media is constantly desensitizing us with inappropriate images, behaviors and words. Finding and staying on the path to happiness requires obedience and correcting mistakes.
3. Perform service and be "thy brother's keeper."
One of the main things Christ did while on earth was take care of people. Healing the sick, finding the "lost," and teaching others to follow His examples of caring for the poor and needy were part of His ministry on earth. To be true Christians, we need to take care of those around us. Simple acts of service such as yard work for the elderly, bringing dinner to the sick, babysitting for an exhausted young mother or lifting those who need a kind word are all ways that we can be disciples of Christ. We don't need to be nosy neighbors, but we do need to be aware of the needs of our neighbors.
4. Stand up for your beliefs, and be kind and loving amid persecutions and ridicule
This can be difficult with some of the changes the world is making. However, we know that Christ walked among sinners (which includes all people), but that did not mean that He condoned wrong behavior. As He healed people from their sins and loved them regardless, He still instructed them to "go, and sin no more" (John 8:11, King James Version). Christians need to not only be examples of what is right but to do so with love rather than with hate or judgment. We should not exclude others because of what we think they are doing wrong. Christ did not abandon the unrighteous. He sought out all people, even the ones with more serious sins, and He loved them. However, He still proclaimed the truth and, ultimately, was killed for it. As we express our beliefs kindly, we may be personally attacked, shunned or otherwise ridiculed or persecuted. Just remember, Christ was also. But He did not change His laws based on how popular people's favorite sins were. Augustine of Hippo stated, "Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it." Even if everyone is sinning or agreeing with sin, it does not make sin right or acceptable to the Lord.
5. Rely on God through fervent prayer
Another thing Christians do is pray. We pray for health and strength to overcome. We pray for our families, our enemies, our jobs or when we need help. We know from the scriptures that Christ prayed while in the Garden of Gethsemane to be relieved of the bitter cup, yet said, "thy will be done (Matthew 26:42, KJV)." He prayed again on the cross, "...Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34, KJV)." If we follow the example of Christ, we will pray not only for our wants and needs but to help us forgive and to submit to the will of God. We need to pray daily to help us through trials as well as day-to-day struggles. Also, it is important to have gratitude in our hearts and to express thanks to God.
Ultimately, being a Christian is becoming more like Christ. He is the perfect example. He is who we should emulate. As we strive to walk as the Savior walked by learning His words and following His example, He will share with us eternal life. No other accomplishments in this life can make of us what our Savior can make of us. Following Christ's example not only helps us become better people, but it also encourages and inspires those around us to become better.