The nightly news. It’s depressing, appalling, and scary for Christians to watch. The world is going downhill, and we must act to stop it! Yet, we often times get into our routine and try to fit in with the world instead of fight. We strive to be popular instead of loving the unlovable.
As Christians, we are failing. We shouldn’t be on the high rankings of popularity in this world. Jesus tells us that we will be quite the opposite.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” – John 15:18-19
We aren’t called to be popular. We are called to obey.
Obeying means doing everything that God has commanded us. What exactly are those things that we should be doing to obey?
- Reading God’s Word and Talking to Him Daily
Time is something we supposedly don’t have, yet we waste plenty of it every day. It’s a struggle for all of us to use well. We don’t ever waste time when it’s spent in God’s Word or talking with Him. It gives us strength when everything is falling and joy when everything is dark. But most importantly, it draws us closer to Christ. We need to immerse ourselves in the Word. Only then will we be able to face what the world is throwing at us.
- Loving Others Unconditionally
Sure, loving others isn’t that hard- or is it? What if we redefine the word “others” to mean not just people who will love you back, but also your enemies, people who seem unlovable, people who hurt you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:43-48a
Now it takes a special person to love like that. To love unconditionally, without expecting to receive love back. Because, after all, isn’t that how Christ loved us?
- Serving Others Without Reason
Some people think of a great person as one who has fame, fortune, and 10K+ followers on Instagram. Unfortunately, this is a warped view the world has tried to make us believe. Look at what Jesus says makes a man great:
“But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” – Matthew 20:25-28
We need to follow Christ’s example and serve without expecting anything in return. Our motive should be just simply to obey God instead of trying to impress or get something out of it. It’s hard, but worth it.
- Guard Your Heart
This is the final, and for me, toughest to learn. It is incredibly important for us as Christians to guard our heart. There are many things floating out there that aren’t helpful, and can be pretty hurtful for our walk. Social media, internet, and movies can all play a huge part in this. The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
This means that what’s in our heart, determines our actions. We should be careful what we listen to and watch because if we don’t pay attention, we will find ourselves doing, saying, and thinking things that aren’t true. Guarding your heart from sin and things that will hurt you includes filling your mind and your heart with God’s Word and things that are true and right.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8
Friends, these are the things that should define who we are. It doesn’t mean we won’t sin or fail. There is a guarantee we will fail, because we are human beings that have problems. But in God’s strength, and not our own, we can do these things for His glory. Get out there, friend, and obey no matter the costs.