What, in your opinion, is the most important characteristic of a Christian? My friend and I are having a friendly disagreement about this, because he says it should be a pure life, while I say the most important thing is peace. What would you say? — K.J.
You and your friend have listed two important things that should be part of the life of every true Christian: purity and peace. Paul told his young friend Timothy to "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace" (2 Timothy 2:22).
In one sense, however, no single characteristic is more important than any other. God wants us to be like Christ, and when we take this seriously we won't want to leave out anything that is good or right. And when we walk with Christ every day, we'll want to follow Him more closely and become more like Him. The Bible says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). Are these your goals?
But in another sense one characteristic is supreme—and that is love. The Bible says, "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16). Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35).
Why is this so important? One reason is because only God can give us this kind of love—one that loves even those who are unlovely. The world says, "Live for yourself"—but Christ says, "Live for others." Ask God to give you this kind of love.