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.

Declaration of a World Changer

I will live honorably through my thoughts, actions
and speech. I choose to be full of faith;
I will not only be a hearer,
but a doer of the Word of God.
I will serve before I demand, I will love and not
hate, and I will give before I take.
I choose to make a difference in this world and to be
a part of something bigger than myself.
I choose to dedicate my life to prayer and ask
God for his miraculous power and the courage
to do the impossible.
I will make Godly relationships a priority in my life
As I esteem others higher than myself
I will live my life in such a way that
I will change the world.

Adapted from – Teen Mania Ministries

How Is Our Worship?

How real is our worship?

Do you sense the presence of God when you worship? Do you only worship at your church on Sundays? The most significant benefit of our worship in a service is connecting with God. Going through the motions and not entering in with our heart will not satisfy. God created us with a need to worship. If our worship isn’t devoted to God, we will allow other things to take the place of His worship. Such as: TV, sports, video games, work… We must not allow the things of this world to replace our worship time with our Lord.

How can we improve our worship?

Life today has so many demands on us. We are going in a fast pace, often in several directions in a given day. When do we have time for God, for studying His word and for personal worship time? Only YOU can slow down your train, only YOU can arrange your day and fit in time for God. After all, it is a matter of spiritual “life or death” for us.

Here are some tips that help me in my personal worship time that you may find helpful for you:

1) Make the choice to get up earlier and spend time with the Lord, read, pray and worship, even if it’s just 15 minutes.

2) Write a scripture down and put it in your pocket or purse and pull it out and read it throughout the day. This is meditating on His word, and be sure to thank Him for speaking to you through His word.

3) Worship and pray in your car on your way to work/school instead of listening to the radio or your favorite music.

4) Think of ALL the things to thank God for. No matter what you are dealing with or going through, you CAN find things to be thankful for and praise God in. Get your mind off of the negative.

As you take time for personal worship, just you and God, you will find your worship time at church becoming more meaningful and you will find yourself entering in to worship in a deeper way. He desires “intimacy” with us and this requires “time alone” with our Creator.

King David was a worshiper. He put worshiping God first. It wasn’t because “it was his thing,” or “he had the gift of worship.” He was reflecting the heart of God. There are so many scriptures in the Psalms, many of them were written by King David that reflect worship and praise to God. Here are a few:

Psalm 89:15 says, “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord.”

Psalm 138:1-3 says, “I give You thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing Your praise; I bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name for Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word. On the day I called, You answered me; my strength of soul You increased.”

Psalm 136:1-2 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for His steadfast love endures forever.”

Psalm 135:1-3 says, “Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord, give praise, O servants of the Lord, who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God! Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to His name, for it is pleasant!”

Psalm 103:1-5 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

And then the Apostle Paul teaches in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

God desires our worship. It’s not like He’s sitting up in heaven saying, “You had better worship Me OR ELSE.” No, the beautiful reality about God desiring our worship is, when we seek Him in worship He responds by pouring His blessings back to us in return. IT’S A WIN-WIN SITUATION!!

Commit to be a “Worshiper” and see what God can do!!

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I realize that worshiping you is an important part of my walk with You. Please help me to put You first in my day and to keep Your word before me. Thank you that your word reminds me of my need for You and Your desire to have my worship. Thank you for lovingly drawing me to You and for all of Your benefits. I pray this all in Jesus name, Amen!