Living a life above reproach is the dominant challenge Christian’s face. Why is it so hard? Why must we be different than others? Why can’t we just live normal lives like everyone else? Peter says it best. In 1 Peter 2:9, he writes, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
I often use the phrase “standing up in a sit down world.” I heard this at a summer camp when I was 9 years old, and it stuck with me ever since. This statement means to willingly be different because we are confident in who God created us to be. As Jesus followers, we are called to live like Him. When we look back at historical scenarios involving Jesus’ encounters with others, we notice almost an awkwardness about Jesus and a strange vibe that He often gave off even to political and spiritual leaders in the community. The reason Jesus’ conversational encounters seem to be odd is because He was odd. He was DIFFERENT. Now before you get mad and DM me about how ridiculous I am for saying Jesus was odd, you have to hear me out. The definition of odd is “different from what is usual or expected- strange.” Remember, Jesus was not the man hanging out with the rich pharisees and drinking fine wine with the Jewish leaders. He was the man befriending tax collectors, protecting adulterers, performing miracles on the Sabbath, and informing the High Priest on His intentions to tear down the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Jesus’ remark about the Temple would be equivalent to someone in today’s society saying they intend to burn down the White House. As you can see, Jesus made many extraordinarily bold statements. Why? His life was not to be lived only in obedience to the Father’s will, but also as an example of how we are to live. If we are called to reflect Jesus, we must be different too. We must stand up in a sit down world.
The HOW, is what becomes an issue. Because of our sin nature, we have no ability to choose righteousness on our own. We must do all things in the strength granted to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. However, our sin nature desires to rule over our lives. So how do you battle the two? You must die to yourself every day. This means, giving up our fleshly desires for God’s will. Die to your wants and let Christ take over. Let his thoughts fill your your mind and let His love fill your heart. When we practice living a life for Jesus and not ourselves, we create habits that honor God and influence others in a righteous way. The struggle never goes away though. The idea that we would live righteous lives infuriates the enemy which gives him incentive to destroy lives and ruin reputations. When Satan attacks us, he brings people into our lives who have bad intentions or he may throw an obstacle at you that seems to big to overcome. He also will bring up previous temptations hoping you will fall back into the very sins you tried so hard to overcome. We must be prepared for Satan’s attack by putting on the full armor of God as talked about in Ephesians six. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, ESV). Do not let the enemy take over your thoughts. Pricilla Shirer says, “Do not enter dialogue with the enemy.” Louie Giglio describes it as, “giving Satan a seat at your table.” Both phrases emphasize the importance of looking to Christ as your ideal and resisting the enemy. Protecting yourself from the forces of evil through the supernatural force of the Holy Spirit is vital not only to your spiritual life, but also your mental and physical life.
What does this look like in MY life? Honor God and love other’s wherever you are at in your life. If you are a student, be a student. If you are a Husband or Wife, be a spouse. Whether you are a businessman or a handy man, do what God has called you to do for His glory. Confide in those who seek God’s will, and pursue relationships that Honor the King. Peter tells us we are a “royal priesthood.” Therefore act like it. Women, be proud daughters of the most high. Men, be bold warriors for the kingdom. Value yourself the way God values you, and value others the way God values others. When the enemy approaches, do not be timid. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV). Be bold like Christ and seek His guidance in all things. Pray like a warrior because you are one.