It is one thing to call oneself a Christian; it is another to be Christlike.
Heinrich Bullinger was a pastor in the mid-1500s. He achieved prominence throughout Europe for not only his preaching prowess but also because his lifestyle reflected all he preached about.
As well as this he was a devoted father. When his son set out for university he gave him the following rules for living.
Although some of the wording may seem dated now, the principles remain strong and true, albeit not always simple to maintain.
1. Fear God at all times, and remember that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
2. Humble yourself before God, and pray to him alone through Christ, our only mediator and advocate.
3. Believe firmly that God alone has done all for our salvation through his Son.
4. Pray above all things for a faith active in love.
5. Pray that God may protect your good name and keep you from sin, sickness, and bad company.
6. Pray for your country, for your dear parents and for the spread of the Word of God.
7. Be always more willing to hear than speak, and do not meddle with things you do not understand.
8. Study diligently. Read three chapters of the Bible daily.
9. Keep your body clean and unspotted, be neat in your dress, and avoid above all things intemperate in eating and drinking.
10. Let your conversation be decent, cheerful and moderate.
Heinrich’s son followed in his father’s footsteps in the ministry, but more importantly emulated his father’s commitment to God and people.
As I read these words of advice I appreciate what a comprehensive guide it is for successful Christian living. Even with the best intentions we all stumble on occasions, but if we endeavour to follow similar guidelines to those of Heinrich Bullinger people will be less inclined to accuse us of hypocrisy.
But even more importantly we know that we are trying our best to not only call ourselves Christians but live a Christlike life.