It is no secret that in recent times, the Body of Christ (the Church) is coming under more diligent scrutiny than ever before in history. This is partly because, there is a better technology in communication systems and equipment in the world today, and the media, unfortunately strives on gossip and dirt, always looking for the opportunity to speak evil of the name and ways of Jesus Christ and His followers.
This scrutiny, on the other hand, is also largely because we really are living in the last days and the return of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ is closer now than it has ever been. Besides, there are godless people who have infiltrated the Church of Christ to spread teachings that do not conform to the gospel. These people distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways. They say that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. Obviously, this type of unhealthy teaching and behavior comes from people whose minds have been robbed of the truth. Arrogant, immoral, and greedy, these false teachers are destined for the terrible judgment God has in store for all who deny and defy Him (read 2 Peter 2:1-22; see also the book of Jude).
The Bible warns us to be mindful of the kind of life we live, knowing that the selfishness of poor behavior often hurts, not only the people we love the most (like families, friends, congregations, and the Christian community at large) but also those we are supposed to reach with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As followers of Christ, we need to be different from those who do not know the Lord. We must be careful how we live, not like ignorant people but like wise people, making good and effective use of every opportunity we have. We must not be fools; instead, we are to always try to find out what the Lord’s will is—what the Lord wants us to do (Ephesians 5:15-17).
Our godly lifestyle, priorities, and outlook should set us apart from nonbelievers, for God has placed us in this world so that our lives can have an impact on the people with whom we come into contact. We will do well in serving our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, if we discipline ourselves in righteous living. Our Christian character and lifestyle will expose those who are living an ungodly life and confront them with the life-changing message of the gospel—the Good News.
The Lord Jesus has clearly instructed us to turn away from godless living and sinful pleasures, and to let our good deeds shine out for all to see and praise our Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:16). He wants our conduct among the unbelievers to be so good that when they accuse us of being evildoers, they will have to recognize the good things that we do and so praise our God on the day of His second coming (1 Peter 2:12).
Since this is the case, we should then get rid ourselves of all evil and live the rest of our lives in this sinful world with self-control, right conducts, and devotion to God (Titus 2:12). As the Apostle Peter said, our earthly lives must be controlled by God’s will and not by human desires. No more lying to one another, no more hypocrisy, and no more jealousy, insulting language, indecency, hate, lust, orgies, wild parties, drunkenness, etc., (1 Peter 2:1; 4:2, 3).
Obviously, when people (especially those who do not believe in Jesus Christ) see godly behavior in us, they will want to know what makes us different—we then have a wonderful opportunity to tell them. It isn’t enough just to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As Scripture points out, the faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all; it is dead and useless (James 2:17).
So, whatever we do or say, we must do and say it all for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must live in such a way as to cause no pain or trouble either to ourselves, our families, friends, neighbors, the Church of Christ, or to the unbelievers (1 Corinthians 10:31, 32). Our lives must demonstrate that we are God’s servants, not giving anybody the opportunity to find fault with how we serve and how we live (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12), for a born-again child of God must have the desire to live his or her life to glorify God.
Though there are times when we do fail, but there is no need for panic, for God has made provision for us to be in fellowship with Him and His Son, Jesus. He has promised that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9; cf. Psalm 32:5; Proverbs 28:13; James 5:16).
By the way, who will harm us if we are eager to do what is good? But even if we should suffer for doing what is right, how happy we should be as followers of Christ Jesus? We should not be afraid of anyone or be worried because of what people will say or do to us for speaking the truth or for doing what is right (1 Peter 3:13-14; cf. Matthew 5:10-12).
As Scripture said, if we want to enjoy life and see good times while we are still living here on earth, we must keep from speaking evil and stop telling lies. We must turn away from evil and do good; we must strive for peace with all our heart, for the Lord watches over the righteous and listens to their prayers; but He opposes those who do evil (1 Peter 3:10-12; cf. Psalm 34:12-16).
If we completely devote our hearts and minds to the Lord Jesus Christ and stretch out our hands to Him, we will be able to lift up our face without shame. Not only that, we will be able to stand firm without fear; we will be courageous and secure because there is hope; and we will also be protected and take our rest in safety (Job 11:13, 15, 18).
It is unfortunate that across this nation and around the world, Churches are falling apart and being destroyed, as leaders of those Churches are found to be immoral, dishonest, or lacking in integrity. This type of unhealthy behavior, as previously said, has given the media the excuse in placing much emphasis on unveiling the short-comings of Church leaders for all the world to see.
Those in leadership in the Body of Christ must take heed! They must live life above reproach. If they fail to live as godly examples, they will have to contend with the judgment of the world, the judgment of God, and the sorrow that souls who reject God because of their failure to provide a godly example may be forever lost.
God will surely judge people by His standards of what is right and wrong, and then He will reward or punish each person. He clearly has revealed in His Word that this judgment will begin with His Church (1 Peter 4:17). If judgment is to begin in the house of God, it then certainly follows that it will begin with Church leaders (cf. Ezekiel 9:5-6).
As Christians, let us be careful in the way we live our lives. Even when in hardship, we must maintain reverence for Christ in our hearts and also honor Him as our Lord by being honest and open in our dealings with others (1 Thessalonians 2:3), trusting in Him and doing good, seeking our happiness in Him alone, and being patient and waiting for Him to act, and He will give us our heart’s desire (Psalm 37:3-9).
We must take the pains in doing what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of others (2 Corinthians 8:21), and then be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks us to explain the hope we have in us. This we must do with gentleness and respect, always keeping our conscience clear so that when we are insulted or persecuted, those who speak evil of our good conduct as followers of Christ will become ashamed of what they say. For it is better for us to suffer for doing good, if this should be God’s will, than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:15-17; cf. 4:12-16).
Let us try hard to get rid ourselves anything that will cause problems in our walk with the Lord Jesus. Obviously, we don’t want anything in our life to turn people away from the Lord. So, in everything and in every way, we should show that we truly are God’s servants (2 Corinthians 6:3-10).
Again, no more lying to one another; and no more hypocrisy, jealousy, indecency, hate, insulting language, lust, orgies, wild parties, drunkenness, etc., (1 Peter 2:1; 4:2, 3). Each of us must at all times tell the truth to one another—not only because we are all members together in the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:25; cf. also Zechariah 8:16), or because Christ is the truth (John 14:6), but because it gives a person great satisfaction as well. Besides, Scripture reveals that dishonest people are not allowed in the city of God (Revelation 22:15). Thus, as children of God, we should try to live in a way that shows God’s nature to other people.
Do not ignore this message! Remember, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
May those who are wise understand what is written here, and may they take it to heart. The Lord’s ways are right, and righteous people live by following them, but sinners stumble and fall because they ignore them (Hosea 14:9).
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