There are plenty of answers one could come up with when asked what the main point of Christianity was meant to be, many of them good and useful in their own way. Some will say the point is love, to love God and love others. Others will say that the point is to obey God. A fairly popular answer in some circles is that the point of Christianity is to glorify God. And, I would venture to guess that the most popular answer would be that the point is to go to heaven.

Again, while all of these have validity to a certain extent, each on their own doesn’t paint the full picture. Instead, I would offer the point of Christianity simply as this: to become like Jesus Christ.

From a logical standpoint, it follows that if one merely desires to be made like Christ, all of these other goals will be included. We will obey God more perfectly, we will love others as we should, we will glorify the Father as Jesus did, and ultimately eternal life will be given to us through His grace as we follow Him in faith.

I believe it’s also a Scriptural view as well. Romans 8:29 tells us that God foreknew His chosen people for the purpose that we would “become conformed to the image of His Son.” In Colossians 1:28 Paul said his goal was to “present every man complete in Christ.” In Ephesians 4:13 he wrote that the equipping of the church is to result in “a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Beyond that, the Gospels gave us the blueprint Jesus left for any who would follow in His footsteps as His disciples.

It’s because this hasn’t been the primary focus for many Christians that we see many of the symptoms we spend so much time addressing. Why do we have so many Christians who neglect Sunday worship, not to mention the fellowship God intended for us beyond just seeing each other on Sunday? Why do we have those who have little hunger for the Word and for prayer? Why do we struggle so greatly to motivate ourselves for evangelism? Why do many Christian couples struggle in their marriages just the same as those outside of Christ? Why do we settle into our comfort zones?

Because we’ve been taught that Christianity is about going to heaven or about doing good works, and if we’re already going to heaven and doing good things, it only makes sense that the burning desire to keep growing would be lacking.

What if we made the shift to Christ-based Christianity, though?

Give it a try in your walk with God, being totally one with the Father’s wishes and fully submitted to Him to do His will. Give it a try in the home, being patient, kind, gracious, forgiving, loving, humble, and serving in every interaction. Give it a try in the church, exercising just the right balance of truth and love as you strive to love and serve your fellow members.

Once we begin to try to emulate Christ in every way, we’ll see two things:

First, this calls us to a much higher version of Christianity than we have typically been sold. It’s far more challenging than “Go to church, read and pray, try not to sin, be nice to people, and you get to go to heaven when you die.” Christianity based in the person of Jesus Christ is far deeper than the cheap Christianity our culture has developed to make things fast, easy, and convenient.

Second, as we begin to attempt this much higher version of Christianity, we realize that God has called us to do something that is literally impossible for us.

The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can become the people He wants us to be.

It’s at that point that we must deny ourselves (Luke 9:23) and let Him take over. Until we have been humbled to realize that we can’t do true, Christlike Christianity in our own strength, leading us to fully deny ourselves, we will only know a weakened, watered down version of the Christian life.

Once we deny ourselves, though, God begins to work in us to mold us into the image of Christ through His Spirit. We start to show supernatural fruits (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.) that we could never achieve through our own efforts (Galatians 5:22-23).

When this happens we start to love people with a stronger love than we could ever produce before. We obey God because sin becomes abhorrent to us and our self-control grows. We glorify God because we can say with certainty that it is only by His grace that we are becoming this new person. And, we have the confidence of eternal life, not because of how great we are, but because our faith is fully in Jesus (1 John 5:13). Everything else we expect and want out of Christianity falls into place when we fix our eyes on Jesus and let the Spirit mold us into His image.

If being like Jesus has not been your goal thus far, make that shift in your Christianity and see what happens. Look to the cross and let it first humble you as you realize the unattainable standard our Lord set, then exalt you as you grasp the price that was paid to redeem you anyway, then equip you as God works in you to conform you to that perfect image of His Son.

Make Christ the goal. Everything else will fall into place.