The 7 Marks of a Jesus-Follower are qualities of a person who is committed to living and loving like Jesus. These are characteristics we can both live now and pursue for a lifetime as we grow to be more like Jesus.
The 7 Marks have been drawn from scripture and align with centuries of Christian teaching. The purposes of identifying these marks are:
- To help us clearly understand what it looks like to live and love like Jesus.
- To help us pursue spiritual growth intentionally.
By keeping the 7 Marks in mind, we can be increasingly aware of how our lives are being transformed and becoming more like Jesus, our ultimate model and inspiration. They also help us identify areas where we can make intentional efforts to grow and change.
Each of the 7 Marks, as described here, feature a key verse, a question we can use to encourage and challenge each other, and a three-part growth path that illustrates how we tend to grow and progress in these areas.
Stand in Awe
We are made to be worshippers! We worship when we deliberately turn to face God in awe, reverence, and gratitude.
- Psalm 95:6 “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”
- What is causing you to stop and worship?
- Growth Path:
- Engage in corporate worship. We learn to worship by worshipping with others.
- See God everywhere. Worship is more than going to church. Certain times, places and cues can remind us to turn to God in worship throughout our days, weeks and lives.
- Respond in a lifestyle of worship. Our exaltation leads to imitation of God’s character and our adoration spurs action that honors God.
Pray without Ceasing
Prayer comes in many forms: Public and private, formal and informal, traditional and spontaneous, solemn and energetic. At its heart, prayer is an ongoing conversation with God. Our goal is to make it a continuous part of our lives.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
- What are you talking to God about?
- Learn to pray. We start by learning to pray. There are many ways to pray—for some suggestions, see this link. [Prayer exercise document]
- Experience the power of prayer. We pray “Kingdom-focused” prayers, asking God to do what God wants to do in the world around us. This kind of prayer aligns us with God’s will. We also pray “fellowship-focused” prayers that draw us closer to God through confession, thanksgiving and praying with Scripture.
- Pray regularly and expectantly. People pray differently and for different reasons, but one thing mature Jesus-followers have in common is that they pray regularly and with the expectation that God will respond.
Walk in the Word
We want to be known as people of the Bible, people who “walk in the Word.” The Bible is our guide for life, the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We seek both to know God’s Word and to do what it says. It is simple enough for everyone to understand the basic ideas, but deep enough to study for a lifetime and never exhaust the riches we find.
- Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
- What passage is stuck in your head?
- Growth Path
- Study the Bible with others. We learn how to study the Bible by studying with others—that is how we can gain knowledge and skills.
- Study the Bible individually. We want to read the Bible devotionally and study it systematically.
- Lead a life guided by the Bible. Mature followers know the Bible so well that it informs how they live. God speaks to both our hearts and minds so that we live according the wisdom that pours out of Scripture into our lives.
Play your Part
Every Jesus-follower has been given gifts by God that we use to serve others. We all have opportunities to contribute to the church and our world from our time, talents and treasures. We seek to play our part and participate in what God wants to do in us, through us and around us.
- 1 Peter 4:10 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
- “Where am I contributing?”
- Growth Path
- Find ways to serve and give. Jesus modeled serving and giving to others. This is an essential way to follow in his footsteps.
- Discover your gifts and calling. Together we all form the “Body of Christ,” each one of us having our part to play. Discovering our gifts and understanding the ways God is calling each of us to serve is a normal part of following Jesus.
- Live and serve generously. As we mature in both serving and giving, we become like Jesus as we live lives characterized by generosity—giving enthusiastically of our time, our abilities and our material resources.
Keep in Step
We seek to be people who are transformed and led by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to grow into our relationship with God, guiding and prompting us to live the life God has for us.
- Galatians 5:25 “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
- How are you sensitive to the Holy Spirit?
- Growth Path:
- Know and grow in the “fruit of the Spirit.” One of the most immediate things the Holy Spirit does in us is to transform our character so that we become more like Jesus, The “fruit of the Spirit” describe the virtues that we take on in that process (Galatians 5:22-23).
- Set your mind on the Spirit. Scripture urges us to intentionally “set our minds on the Spirit,” (Rom 8:5-6) so that we focus on a godly life rather than sinful desires.
- Learn to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit may remind us that God loves us, convict us of sin, empower us to share the gospel, enable us to serve others and the church and help us through tough times. The Spirit may also prompt us to do or say particular things, so we learn to perceive and follow those promptings.
As Jesus-followers we are set free from sin and selfishness that can enslave us, and we are set free for God’s purposes. As we live free, we intentionally leave aside sin and other things that hold us back so that we can fully pursue the better life that God has for us.
- Hebrews 12:1-2a “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…”
- What is slowing you down?
- Growth Path:
- Confess sin appropriately and consistently. In 1 John 1:9, we read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
- Throw off hindrances and sin. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, in part, “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” We learn to set aside those things that can hinder our relationship with God.
- Live in Freedom and Forgiveness. Jesus-followers are called to be free from sin and hindrances so that we are free for the better life God has for us. One way to describe that is “personal holiness,” the idea that our lives are set apart, or “consecrated,” for God.
Share your Story
- Matt 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- Who is your 1 person?
- Growth Path
- Pray. Pray for empathy and compassion toward those who need the Good News and pray for specific people—for their wellbeing and that they be open to the gospel.
- Care. We love our neighbors because that’s God’s desire for us. When we care, that eventually gives us a platform to share. Lead such a good life that people ask questions!
- Share. Be ready, willing, and able to share your story of faith (life before Jesus, how you met Jesus, life after Jesus) and the essentials of the gospel message. For help with that, see [link].
We hope you will join us in intentionally pursuing the 7 Marks of a Jesus-follower as you live and love like Jesus, right where you are!