Lent – Day 28 – Living the Christ Life in a Lost World
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.”1 Peter 4:1-4
“But you area chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” 1 Peter 2:9
It’s sometimes hard to imagine that we are called to such a lofty station in this life as kings and priests, particularly when we experience such ridicule, disdain, mockery and derision in the present culture. Nevertheless, this is the time and place in which God has ordained us to live and to declare His glory.
We are not called to compromise our faith or hide our light from the world in order to appear inoffensive to them. Quite the contrary, we are called to be bold witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to be resolute in our determination to live pure and holy before all men. I’m not talking about some goody-two-shoes who lives one way in private or among his or her small group of like-minded hypocrites and another way, showing a different face to the world. That mask is never convincing, and it can always be seen through. Nobody is impressed with a milquetoast person of little or no moral conviction claiming to be a Christian, only to deny the faith at every moment of challenge.
Rather than avoid being ridiculed, dismissed or persecuted for our faith, we should embrace it as a good indication that we are truly living the life of Christ in this present world. If we are bold to proclaim Him in church and among our friends who are of like faith, let us also, then, be bold to proclaim Him with grace and compassion in our words and our actions in the world as we deal with those who oppose us and oppose all that we stand for in Christ.
Living Christ-like among the ungodly, we will face opposition and sometimes threats to our lives. But we must not let that disengage us from living honestly with integrity and moral decency; from speaking the truth in love; from showing compassion and love even for our enemies; from giving to the needs of the poor; from showing mercy, grace and the love of God wherever and whenever we have the opportunity to do so.
Living godly in this present world shouldconstrain us from joining the ungodly in their attacks against the church (other believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ) and criticism of its leaders and ministers. It should constrain us from living down to the same low level of debauchery and wickedness as those who don’t know our God. It should empower us to show love even if it is rejected or not returned, to give generously when there is a need without regard for the receiver’s acceptance or rejection of our God, Who provides all that we have to give.
And we should do these things because we love God and desire to please Him, not men [Ephesians 6:6], and because there is coming a day and a time when all men and all things will be judged.
Now, God has called us to be the head and not the tail above only and not beneath. [Deuteronomy 28] There is a glory to be revealed in us that will make the suffering of this present time pale by comparison.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be comparedwith the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
We have nothing to fear when our works, our faith, our words and our deeds are motivated by love. [1 John 4:18]
How we choose to live godly in this ungodly world will be a reflection of the measure of our love of God and our gratitude for His goodness toward us in the person and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lived and faced the ultimate persecution and death at the hand of the godless evil forces of men and of devils, overcoming them all by His love; the love of the Father to take on our sin and be obedient unto death, and love for us to be obedient to death and to rise again from the dead, raising us up together with Him to eternal life and that more abundantly.
Living Christ-like lives here on earth, despite the persecutions, offences, mocking and derisions of men, will bring glory to God, will bear witness of the Gospel to the world and reap great rewards for us in Heaven to come.