Our lifestyles preach a message. So ask yourself this, if you were on trial for being a Christ follower, would there be enough evidence for the court to convict you if they were using the Bible as their only litmus test? Are you really living a life that points to Christ with your words, deeds, and time? Are you living as one who serves the Lord Jesus OR as one who serves the lord of self, of pride, of vanity, of pleasure?
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” – Colossians 3:1-4
We are the sum of the things we spend the most time and focus on. They shape us and form our outward appearance to others. This could encompass many things like the friends we keep, the entertainment we seek to fill our free time, how we dress, the things we watch, listen to, read, and even the things we eat and purchase. So if we are spending the majority of our time around unhealthy people, seeking mindless entertainment that is in direct opposition to the truth of God, sharing ungodly content on the internet, or any other thing that is turning our focus away from Jesus himself, than we lose site of what a life in Christ truly means. And with that, our opportunity to witness to others and share the Gospel is damaged.
God tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 to avoid the appearance of evil. And what might that evil include? It includes anything that goes against the commands of God as He has declared them. That includes how we act, what we say, and what we endorse with our time and money. And that is why, as believers, we are called to live as ones who are set apart from this world. To be in the world but not of it. But sadly most Christians I see today are living both in AND of the world. And it’s incredibly troubling.
Sanctification is part of a life in Christ. When we give our life to Him and make Him our Lord and Savior, we are sanctified. And then the Holy Spirit begins to work in us and through us, transforming every broken thing, every ugly thing inside us, convicting us so that we begin to see the world and ourselves in a very different way than we ever did before. And to sanctify something means to set it apart for a specific purpose. When we are born again and truly begin to follow Jesus, we are irrevocably changed and our lives should reflect this change in every aspect.
The day I was saved, May 22, 2016, my entire worldview changed in an instant. And although it’s continued to be refined since then, there was an initial shift in my understanding of everything in that moment that completely rocked my life and turned it upside down. And when that type of incredible shift isn’t evident in the life of a professing Christian, then I seriously wonder whether that person has truly given their life to Christ or not.
Drawing a Line
Over the past several months I’ve been increasingly convicted regarding my own lifestyle choices. And it’s led me to strongly reconsider the activities, possessions, and relationships I spend my time and money on. Likewise, I’ve been heavily considering what I share publicly and spend my time reading or watching online. I live a pretty simple life as it is, but even so, God has been working on my heart even more, refining me day by day. And I know it’s time to draw more lines for my life and make a choice on what I am going to do (or not do) with the time God has given me.
I’ve fallen into several traps over the past few years that have tried to lead me back into a ‘self-focused’ message, one that has slithered its way into Christian life over recent years. But the Bible clearly tells us that as true believers surrendered to Christ, that we are to be a self-denying people. That doesn’t mean self-loathing, because I’ve also come to understand that self-love and self-hate are equally sinful. What God really calls us to is self-losing. He tells us to die to ourselves daily.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” – Matthew 16:24-26
The One True God
God saves us by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. He is not one of many ways to God, He is the only way, because He himself IS God. He came down from heaven to live as we live in the flesh, experiencing all the same temptations and hardships we experience, yet remaining completely sinless through it all. And then, in His abundant love and mercy, He gave His perfect and holy life as a sacrifice for our sins, He took the punishment for us. Then He was buried and raised back to life again so that we too could share in eternal life with Him in heaven one day.
And with our salvation, He makes us new creations. But we are not made new for our own glory and pleasure, but so that we may be evidence of His power and glory here on earth. And with this new life we are called to fulfill the great commission that he has given to all believers, to go out and make disciples, sharing the good news with everyone so that none is without excuse. And the good news is that we can be forgiven, our list of charges wiped clean when we stand before a Holy God one day. There is eternal life and hope and restoration and peace and joy to all that call upon the name of the Lord, in this life and for eternity.
Sending A Message
I came across the following passage of scripture this morning and it really hit home today with everything that has been on my mind. And it’s encouraging me to move forward with some things that have been really pressing on me in recent weeks.
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-5
So I’ve made some big strides forward this past few weeks in regards to what message I’m presenting to the people I come into contact with, to the people who read my writing and see what I post online. No longer do I want my life to be another sad image of this world, but instead of one that has been completely changed by Jesus Christ. I want everything I do and say to glorify God and show what a transformed life in Christ, one wholeheartedly devoted to Him, really looks like.
And that thought really takes me aback at times, because I know I don’t have what it takes or the right words to say in any given situation I may come into. But I know my God does and I know He will use me for mighty works for His glory. And that’s really all I want for my life ever again. To know Christ, to preach Christ, and to live Christ.
To God be the glory forever and ever, amen.