“…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith…” 1 Timothy 6:11-12
I love playing the game called “Spot the Difference”. I love the intrigue you get when you spot each hidden difference in the pictures. It’s a puzzle in two pictures, and it engages most of your human senses giving an exciting sense of accomplishment when you get it right. At first glance, both pictures in the game look exactly the same. It’s not until you divide each of them into sections and look closer that you realize a few things have been altered to make them unnoticeably different.
This game recently got me thinking, and the thoughts were not as intriguing and fun. Rather, it was a sober reflection of the reality of my life as a Christian living in a world that conflicts with my beliefs. I imagined my life as a believer in a picture placed beside the life of someone without the knowledge of who Jesus is. How different is my life? Will others have to squint and spend hours trying to figure out differences between my values, my attitude to life, love for people saved and unsaved, my approach and acceptance of culture and its emergence? Or will they immediately look at both pictures and note undeniable differences?
As we follow our shepherd and big brother, the Lord Jesus, our life should reflect who He is. When He walked the earth, though He was a man, He was different. He loved different, He looked different, He talked different, and everyone that came in contact with Him knew it. Salvation is transforming – through it our life should look more and more like Christ. Romans 8:29 says, “For those He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son that He might become the first born of many brothers and sisters.” Jesus didn't just blend into the crowd. The kingdom of God was His mission and His message; He taught it, He lived it, and left us footprints on the sand of His life on earth to follow. In the teachings of Christ, there was a clear distinction between the Kingdom of God and the world. The culture taught justice; He taught justification. The culture said, “Stone her”; He said, “Forgive her.” The culture ostracized; He healed. Our life should speak volumes about the nature of the kingdom of God, where through redemption we now share citizenship with Christ. The book of Colossians talks about being “translated from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son” (1:13).
It bothers me that the world seems confused and questions the moral standard of a Christian man or woman. They measure our sense of morality by the dictates of the culture and not by the scriptures.
There should be no debate regarding the stand believers have on abortion, homosexuality, divorce, greed, injustice and many more. We live by the word of God. Our acceptable values should not “evolve” with the acceptance of culture but should be consistent with God’s word.
“…but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world…” John 15:19
The declaration, “I am a Christian”, should answer any social or cultural question. Our stand should be firm and true to God’s word. Christianity should not be reduced to church attendance and the names by which we go. It is far beyond that. It’s living like Jesus. We are a reflection of the person of Jesus Christ and carriers of his divine grace to live right in a very dark and morally dwarfed world. Our values should not be easily bent by emerging culture; Christian values should shape culture. No matter where we live on earth, regardless of the acceptable culture we call home, the Bible should be our trusted compass to navigate through life. Christ paid a high price for our salvation. He became a man, suffered like a man and was killed by man. Philippians 2:8 says, “…He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death on the cross!” Though He is God, He lived in our world and suffered the ultimate shame to bring us redemption.
Just take a minute to reflect on your values and the things that are acceptable to you as a believer: How you love, how you talk, how you judge and even how you channel your fear. Do you fear man more than you fear God? Then take another minute to think of Jesus standing in your place, surrounded by the many vices we face today. If you play a quick game of “Spot the Difference”, will your values and life choices be more like Christ, or will they be more in line with the culture of your time?
When next you affirm you are a Christian, remember it’s a declaration of your allegiance to Christ; to live like Him. You are a reflection of Jesus, and you can’t lead people to Him if you don’t look like Him. You are in His plan to make the world a better place and shine forth the rays of righteousness in your own little world.
“You are the Light of the world, a city that is set on a hill that cannot be hid…… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven”. Mathew 5:14, 16