Our world knows a variety of lifestyles. Some sport riches like it’s all they live for, while others struggle to pay the bills on the other side of the tracks. Some are ambitious and hard-working, the opposite of those prone to vegetating in front of a TV all day. Some are given to a wild lifestyle of pleasure, while their neighbor consistently watches their own moral actions. Whatever lifestyle is chosen, it doesn’t compare to the lifestyle of living royalty.
The lifestyle of a child of God is far more than a preference. It’s a representation of the One we live for. It goes beyond following a list of guidelines, and focuses on showing the world who Jesus really is.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 13:14-16
The nature of God on the inside of us was designed to illuminate our dark world . . . if we will allow it. If we’re not watchful, however, the fear of man, intimidation, and the desire for personal gain can smother our light. It’s a tragedy when the greatest Light disappears because we forget Who we represent. The world loses one more flame of hope.
This doesn’t have to be us! We can choose to allow that light inside to shine brightly, unhindered by weights and sins (Hebrews 12:1). The first step to keeping our light unveiled is to value that light. We should never forget or take lightly the great price paid at Calvary, making it possible for us to contain the light in the first place. The second step is to maintain our intimate relationship with Jesus. As we stay close to Him, that relationship can provide the strength and conviction to keep that light, even under pressure. We soon have no desire for anything less than what He desires. Our greatest desire is to honor Him, and to reject anything that would try to cover it up.
THE JESUS LIFESTYLE
Holding the light of God’s nature means we represent Jesus to the world. In fact, He is our final and complete example of the lifestyle we are to lead as royalty.
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. I john 2:6
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps . . . I John 2:6
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. Ephesians 5:1
Though the nature of Jesus is vast, I’ve chosen several main characteristics that shine out of Him . . . and that should consistently shine out of us. Sound intimidating? If we were expected to live this lifestyle on our own power, it would be very intimidating. In fact, it would be impossible. But the nature of God in us has made us like Jesus, and the Holy Spirit gives us the power to live it out!
God is love (I John 4:8). If God’s nature lives in us, then we also contain the light of love. To walk in love is the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40), and is what sets apart the most from the dark, selfish nature of our world.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35
Obedience to God and His Word is one of the greatest signs that we live for Jesus. It declares that He is the boss of our lives. Our obedience shouldn’t be based on fear or legalism, but a sincere desire from the heart to please our King. When we obey, personal blessings follow . . . and the world is impacted by our actions.
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. John 5:19
“Holiness” often makes us think of a priest or nun in a monastery, shut away from the world in consecration to God. To be holy, however, simply means to be “physically pure and morally blameless.” Though we will never be perfect in our human bodies, when we do make a mistake, we can receive forgiveness (I John 1:9). Our main goal should be to fashion our lifestyle to one that reflects the nature of Jesus. As we do, our integrity and purity will be one of our greatest witnesses to the world.
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” I Peter 1:13-16
Standing for Righteousness
Unfortunately, not everyone will appreciate or tolerate our lifestyle. This is when we have to make a decision that we will not bow to the world’s pressure to conform to them. Our call is to stand firm in our stand for righteousness. That tells the world that we are grounded on something more than a list of rules or casual belief. They will know we are living for something of greatness.
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight – if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. Colossians 1:21-22
Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. I Thessalonians 2:15
Matthew 13:16 says that our light has a purpose: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Our good works ultimately glorify God. It makes His nature and the Gospel message look persuasive and genuine. It broadcasts His goodness as every dark corner is illuminated with His light. It draws people to Jesus as they desire to be not like us, but to be like Him.