When we become Christians, we are called to be like Jesus—to reflect the image of Jesus by becoming more like him in character. That can seem difficult or even impossible, given how flawed we are.

But God does not place a heavy burden on us. We don’t have to try to be “good” on our own. Rather, as we commit our lives to God and grow closer to him, he will work in our lives and, over time, change our hearts so that we will desire to live up to his standards. And he will give us the ability to do so.

Jesus himself reassures us that following him does not mean taking on a heavy burden. He said, “I won’t lay anything heavy… on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28–30 The Message).

At the same time, we must be willing and ready to seek God’s help to give up any habits, practices, and attitudes that do not honour or please Him, and to pursue things that do. The Bible lists some of the sinful actions and attitudes that we are to give up, and the godly characteristics that we will develop as we grow in our relationship with God. “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these… But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:19–23).

Ultimately, becoming a Christian is entering into a relationship with God. It is not about following a set of rules and regulations. Rather, as you come to know Jesus better and grow closer to him, you will naturally desire to live in a way that pleases him. At the same time, he will help you to do this, by giving you the strength, wisdom, and guidance to follow in his footsteps.