Christians live in a world God created to be good. But sin and wickedness have marred and tainted His good creation. How do we live amongst others? Our attitude must be the same as Jesus’ attitude.
Above all we must present ourselves as holy before the Lord. Here are some thoughts on how to live holy lives in this world and represent Jesus, presenting Him before those who do not believe in Him.
Living in This World
We live the challenge every day of the positive and negative aspects of living for Jesus in this world. We have the opportunity to represent Jesus and live holy lives before others. We can share our story of how Jesus has changed our lives.
But we also endure the persecution of others and their disdain for Jesus and His message through us. We must balance these positive and negative aspects. Much of our effectiveness relies on how we see this world and treat others in it.
Most of the people we meet treat us with respect. They don’t want to persecute us. They are our family members and friends. They enjoy our company and like to hear what we have to say. They are not offended by the gospel.
There are places in this world where persecution against Christians reigns. But here in America we are not to the point of shedding our blood for our witness and faith. There are laws and rights we have as Christian Americans that prevent others from persecuting us to that extent.
It won’t always be this way. But we must enjoy this grace period while it lasts. Take full advantage and embrace the opportunities God presents. You are free to worship God, free to share your faith, and free to practice it. Thank God for this opportunity.
Don’t see everyone as an enemy of the faith. Embrace each person as you meet them. If they turn out to be hostile toward the faith, allow the Holy Spirit to speak through you. Address their concerns as best you can with compassionate apologetics.
But there are some throughout the world to endure incredible persecution and suffering. They are resisting evil through affliction and martyrdom. We must pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who bear their necks for Him.
In America much of our suffering for Jesus is done through enduring those who speak against us, malign our character, and slander our names. They see us as unintelligent for blindly following our Savior and obeying His Word.
They can’t understand why we trust in ancient documents of the Bible and follow archaic principles, according to them. New Atheists not only disagree with us but seek to evangelize against Christianity and other religions. They see faith as a dangerous back step into the past. They aim to trip us up and make us look like fools.
As we endure such persecution we must remember that we are under God’s grace. If we must suffer for the gospel and for Christ’s name to the point of shedding our blood in martyrdom or suffering torture Jesus gives us his grace and power to endure it.
One of my mentors, Pastor Paul Grabill often reminded us that, “You can’t scare a Christian with heaven.” Even if we die for the sake of Christ we will find ourselves with Him in Heaven. We do not lose when our home is Heaven.
He also used to say, “This world is not my home.” We must remember that while we live here we work for Jesus. Whether we find ourselves among friends or enemies we must not get so comfortable with the world that we forget our final destination.
No matter what your path is as you serve Christ in this world, hostile or friendly, you can trust in your inheritance. Even if they do the worst they can to you, they can never take Christ away from you. Live boldly for Jesus.
Living Holy Lives
Jesus calls us to be holy for Him. Through holy living we please God and honor Jesus. But the key living a holy life is to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit. He guides us on the path to holiness, giving us each step at a time.
But to those on the outside we sometimes look like we are not following Jesus’ commands. Our actions can be out of sync with our character. Perhaps we stumble in our walk with Jesus into temptation and sin. The Holy Spirit is working on our character and actions.
It will look to the outside world as though we are not representing Jesus. We may look like the world from time to time. But we are all works in progress. The Holy Spirit isn’t finished with you yet.
They probably wouldn’t understand if you tried to explain that you are not perfect and as you walk with Jesus sometimes you stumble. It’s a high calling to profess to the faith and walk with Jesus. Always remember that as long as Jesus is pleased with your progress as you grow in Him you are not a failure.
Make the distinction between momentary sin and a lifestyle of sin. We must not live a life of continual sin. This does not please God. We may stumble into sin through temptation, but it must not happen regularly. And we must deal with our sin instead of letting it go and thinking we’re still okay. Confess your sin and receive forgiveness from Jesus (1 John 1:9).
As you walk with Jesus you may want to compare yourself to other Christians. But each one of us is on a different step on the path to holiness. We all come to Christ with different backgrounds. What the Holy Spirit needs to address in my character and life will not be the same as yours.
We are all at different levels of maturity in Jesus. Walk your path He has given you and don’t be discouraged by others who are farther along. The Spirit has you right where he wants you.
Follow the path of holiness and you will please Jesus. You will glorify Him in all you do. Strive to live the life that honors God. Look at Jesus instead of at the world. Submit yourself to God and resist the devil (James 4:7-8). Always obey the voice of the Holy Spirit and you will not go wrong.
Telling Your Story
“But you will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:8 (My Translation)
Your greatest asset as you walk with Jesus in this world is telling your story to others. Jesus has done such an incredible work in you. Your passion for Jesus should never wane as you mature in Him. The more you know Jesus the more excited you should become.
And your excitement will be contagious. People will want to know why you are different. They will want to know why you are helping them. One of the most effective ways to tell your story is through compassion ministry followed by proclamation.
As you compassionately help others they will be curious about your motivation. When you tell them it’s because you love them as Jesus loves you they may be intrigued to know more. But if you only help people without telling them why, they will just think you’re a good person.
When you compassionately serve someone you must tell them why. You do it because of what Jesus has done for you. Jesus has taught you to help others. He is your motivation. He is your reason.
So when you do something for another person let them know that Jesus loves them. Be Jesus to them. You may be the only Jesus they ever meet. So represent Him well and share Him with others.
As we live in this world we are the salt and light Jesus told us we are (Matthew 5:13-16). Salt preserves righteousness on the earth. As you speak with others season your conversation (Colossians 4:6) with truth and grace.
Some Christians are great at truth. They don’t have a problem telling sinners where they stand with God. But they are not loving about it. Jesus told the truth, but He did it tactfully with love. So we must also be gracious to others. But you can’t go that far without truth either.
It’s not gracious to tell sinners they are fine when they are not fine with God. A holy God cannot dwell with unholy people. So you must also tell the truth. We should study how Jesus did it so we can show his truth, grace, and love to everyone we meet.
As Jesus’ light in this world you reveal to others who Jesus is. You show them the way to meet Him. They see His character in you. As you live through the situations of your life they see something different.
Lifestyle evangelism shows a great approach to living for Jesus in this world. As people see you live, the struggles you phase, your faith in Jesus, and how you have different values and principles they will be interested in what makes you different. So live for Jesus by His rules, a life of surrender and obedience, and you will draw attention to Jesus.
“Therefore, on Christ’s behalf, we are ambassadors, as God imploring you through us, begging you on Christ’s behalf to be reconciled to God.”2 Corinthians 5:20 (My Translation)
Your goal is to give Jesus a good name. You do not live for yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus and His glory. He is the one you want people to see. We lift Him high by representing Jesus well.
Don’t take the easy way out. Be willing to suffer, sacrifice, and surrender for Jesus. Through your actions and words you show people the benefits of knowing Him. You show others the difference He has made in your life. Shine the light on Jesus as you live.
I tell people that as we are commanded to be in the world but not of it that we live in this world but we work for Jesus. We don’t do the same thing the world does. We don’t have the same values or goals. Jesus has changed our perspective.
We don’t live for today. We live for eternity. We don’t hoard up wealth and resources. We generously give them away. We live to bless others, not for ourselves. We hold others up instead of stepping over them to get to the top.
We are citizens of God’s Kingdom. We live to serve others. We try to be content with what we have. We forgive others instead of holding a grudge. These are some of the DNA of the people of God. And we are part of that crowd.
So as you represent Jesus well you live on this beautiful planet, put Him first and everything else will fall into place. You serve the King of the universe. It’s a privilege to know Jesus and to walk with Him on this earth until He takes us home.
Living in this world is not easy for people who belong in Heaven. But as we live here we live for Jesus. We represent Him and serve Him. Our heart beats for the audience of our Lord alone. We are not interested in the things of this world.
And as we walk with Jesus through this life we have the high honor of knowing and growing in Him. Through the way we live we show others how great it is to walk with Jesus. What are some of the ways you represent Jesus in your life?