3 Important Reasons Christians Should Live Differently from the World
- Amanda Idleman Contributing Writer
- 2021 15 Apr
It’s pretty easy as an American Christian to read the Bible, consume Christian content, and miss out on the power that these things should have on how you live your life. We can view the time we spend reading the Bible, praying, and going to church as more tasks added to our weekly to-do lists rather than a precious time we spend in communion with our Father God. If we are not careful, we run the risk of our faith becoming more of a ritual or even something we do to feel like a better person than something that truly defines how we live.
I think if we are honest, almost all of us have had seasons that have felt like our faith was on autopilot. In other seasons, our lives get so full we don’t have the chance to really ponder if we are allowing the truth of the gospel to transform us. Other times, we may just be unsure of what living life following the example of Jesus should look like. We need discipleship, community, passion, and inspiration to help us best live lives that follow the example of Jesus.
Living through a global pandemic has been a challenge for us all! Yet, there has been one beautiful silver lining to this season: a deep realization that we have a desperate need to be rooted and grounded in our faith.
What Does Following Jesus Look Like?
Lukewarm won’t cut it when the world starts turning upside down! The reality is that Jesus better be who he said he was… or his words are useless to us when we are faced with life and death scenarios. As people stuck in a chaotic world, our only hope for lives filled with meaning, peace, and purpose comes through a genuine, life-changing, and deeply rooted faith.
The only thing that kept me grounded this past year when the rug was pulled out from under me, were the words of Proverbs 3:5-6. I had to trust in the Lord with all my heart because my own understanding was not capable of handling what we all have had to walk through. I have been clinging to his promise to “make my path straight” because I realized my profound need for Jesus in this dark season.
Covid has captivated our attention over this past year, illuminating all the things that only God has control over our lives. For me, I have been left with new questions and a deeper dedication to be a person whose faith is real and something of substance in my life.
What I have been pondering is this: What should “following Jesus” really look like? I want to know if I am living in a way that follows the example of Jesus rather than imitates the pattern of our culture. I want to be a Christ-follower that is transformed by the Word of God and not stuck in the hustle of life. Let’s explore together 3 ways that Christians are called to live differently than those who have not experienced the love of Jesus in their lives.
1. Jesus Transforms Us
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Making the decision to become a Christian changes you from the inside out. The Bible calls this being “born again.” This transformation happens both all at once and also over the entire course of your lifetime! Once you give your life to Jesus, he transforms you from literally someone who is “dead in sin” (Ephesians 2:1) to a member of his eternal family. Yet, the work of living a life worthy of Jesus never stops until the day we meet him in Heaven (1 John 3:9).
When we decide to follow Jesus, we cannot stay as we once were! God changes the things we want, the way we think, and he becomes the strength that we need to follow His way.
The question then that we must continue to ask is: In what ways is God continuing to transform my life as his follower?
The work is never done! God always has more freedom in store for your life.
2. Jesus Calls Us to Care for the ‘Least of These’
Matthew 25:40 says, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
How much time in your day do you spend thinking about or serving those who the world would see as the “least of these?”
If the answer is “I am not sure” or “no time at all” then you are not living out your faith in the way Jesus calls us to.
For some of us, it can take a conscious effort to regularly interact with those who are less privileged than ourselves. It can be easy to feel like if we don’t see the suffering of others in our daily lives then we aren’t responsible for helping those in need. For sure, serving the “least of these” requires us to step out of our routines and comfort zones but the Bible is clear… what we do for those that experience the most suffering in this world matters.
This all may sound radical but really it is the bedrock of our faith. Being a Christ-follower not only changes our life but it changes the world that we live in. We are to be those bringing Heaven down to Earth through our actions (Matthew 6:10).
3. Jesus Warns Us That Following Him Won’t Be Easy
Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Does your life feel easy? If things feel too much like they are on autopilot, then it may be time for you to ask God how he wants you to step out in greater faith. I don’t mean this in a life-has-to-be-awful sort of way… but what I do mean is that God tells us that following him should make our lives stand out.
If our homes, kids, lifestyle, work-life, church attendance, entertainment preferences, and so on look just like those who have not been changed by the power of Jesus then we are missing what God has for our lives.
God calls us to follow a narrow path that is defined by the ways we serve and love others (Galatians 5:13). He calls us to holiness which means that we won’t entertain ourselves with things that are evil (Ephesians 5:11). He calls us to kindness and unity, so when we interact with our neighbor, we always do so with love (Colossians 3:12). Following Jesus means we take steps of faith that aren’t always reasonable by the standards of the world but make perfect sense in the Kingdom of God!
As we consider what our faith should look like, in a world that is shouting so many conflicting messages at us, let the Bible be your guide. As we emerge from our homes, let’s go forward in our communities with renewed dedication to Jesus, passion for our faith, and fervor for being his hands in feet in our very lost and broken world! Covid has left many alone, hurting, grieved, and now more than ever God wants to use his transformed followers to be his agents of love for others.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Digital Vision.
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.