How much can I be like the world and still be a Christian?

Have you been asking yourself this question lately or do you know someone who has? Maybe you know people who claim to be Christians but don’t exhibit much evidence or fruit in their lives. Unfortunately, we are seeing too much of this among Christians today. I feel stirred to write on this topic. The question I’d like to address is not, “Are you following Christ?” but “How are you following Christ?”

Many years ago when I was a new believer, I didn’t have many “Christian” friends in my life and I didn’t fully grasp the whole idea of “living for Jesus.” I knew I had asked Jesus into my heart and I genuinely had a true conversion experience, and I read my Bible every day and prayed. But my prayers were shallow; “Lord help me to be happy today. Help me to have fun and to make a lot of friends. Help me to be accepted.” And so on.

I would read things in the scriptures that would convict me and point to the fact that I should be more concerned about living as Jesus would have me live than how the world lives, but I would quickly turn the page and read something that made me feel good instead. I wasn’t yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I was reading for my own pleasure and not to hear what God wanted me to hear. Down the road, I had difficult things come my way that caused me to cry out to God and be desperate for His help, and I started to see that my commitment to Him was shallow. I needed to go deeper.

I needed answers, but I needed to come to God in His way, not mine. This caused a tremendous turning. I found myself wanting to go deeper and deeper, and to know more and more about how to please Him and live my life in a way that would bring glory to His name. I have found that the benefits of living for Christ His way are far greater than the dissatisfaction and disillusionment that come from trying to live like the world.

I have listed several scriptures that point to what we are called by Him to do and be if we are to truly be Christians:

1 Peter 1:16 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”

Colossians 3:2-3 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Galatians 6:7-9 “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Ephesians 5:1, 3-11 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. But sexual immorality must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is an idolater), has no inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not associate with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”

James 4:4 “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

I Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning.

I Corinthians 14:20 “…do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”

Luke 22:20 Jesus told His disciples, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

Hebrews 13:20a-21 “Now may the God of peace…equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.”

Let’s pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,
You have made me aware today of your word and your will. Help me to be a true follower of Christ, doing all I can to please You and live for You. Please help me to let go of all the things I have held on to that are not pleasing to you and replace them with right living and right thoughts. Thank you Lord that you are here to help me in all of the things I struggle with and I can be confident that you will bring me through to the other side to victory. I give you my life right now. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

All scripture references are from the English Standard Version.

2 Comments on “How much can I be like the world and still be a Christian?”

  1. Bob Maeglin  |  January 16, 2009 8:44 pm

    Years ago I was on a pulpit committee and prayed for a question to ask potential pastors. The word given to me was, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, and if so, HOW? It was a powerful revealer of the true Christian.

    If you go to and search,you will find a book entitled “Steps to Christian Maturity: learning from the Beatitudes. A good read and help in growing as a Christian.

  2. Bill Scott  |  February 11, 2009 8:07 am

    Thank-you for that powerful devotion.
    It makes me think about what I do sometimes that Grieves jesus Christ.