Jesus’ final and greatest act of love for the whole world also included a more obscure act of love for one person. While hanging on the cross, He still had the selflessness to assign someone to care for His mother. When focused on a mission for the kingdom of God, we should never forget the little details, that one person. (John 19:26)
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.
I’m not aware of any kings or queens in my heritage, but I do have a knight among my mother’s side of the family. A very distant relative, Sir Richard Lowther, held Queen Mary of Scotland in custody when she claimed England belonged to Scotland in the 1500’s. There is currently a castle in England under renovation that bears his last name.
At one time, Sir Lowther would have stood before royalty and received his commission: to serve the royal blood with his life. This was not an easy task. His role was to defend his country with fighting skills acquired over years of training for combat. Like all knights, his knighthood was held in high regard by all because of his bravery and willingness to fight to the death. In such a violent era, this commission was taken seriously. It was a great honor that came with much responsibility.
Though Sir Lowther was not of royal blood, his commission was crucial to the success of the kingdom. As children of God – born into royalty – we have no less an honor and responsibility. Our role, however, goes beyond knighthood, or prince or princess status. As the following verses state, we have several titles to bear.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light . . . I Peter 2:9
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6
Though once a pauper in the slums, we have now been chosen by God to be a part of His family in this generation. This is the greatest honor of all. The King Himself thought of us before the world began, and considered our value in His kingdom.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love . . . Ephesians 1:3-4
The priests in the Old Testament had the awesome responsibility to minister to God and the nation of Israel. They sacrificed and interceded for their countrymen in order to keep them right with God. They led the way into holy worship in the temple. Though we are no longer bound to these laws and rituals, we still have the honor of ministering to God. We can, without physical robes and incense, come boldly before God’s throne to worship (Hebrews 4:16).
Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. I Peter 2:4-5
We aren’t just any nation; we are a holy nation. The word “holy” means “set apart.” It includes being “sacred, physically pure, and morally blameless,” like God. If this seems too great a role to fill, remember the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin. That blood makes us right with God, and renders “unholiness” powerless over our lives.
For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:6
God’s Own Special People
While the world may say that we are nothing out of the ordinary, God declares us as special. Special indicates that we are different because of the nature of God in us. It had nothing to do with our ability or creativity. It had everything to do with His power – a power that put us directly under Himself.
What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels [translated Elohim, another name for God], and You have crowned him with glory and honor. Psalm 8:4-5
Ambassadors and Ministers
Fulfilling the role as an ambassador, or minister of the new covenant, is a great responsibility. It includes accurately representing the nation to which we belong. It is one of the greatest commissions we could be given, for it requires not only being, but living as one of God’s representatives. This includes sharing the message of the Gospel with others while setting an example of godliness to the world.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
The Commission in Action
It would be all too easy to sit at home enjoying the benefits of our royal status. We could smile and gloat over our sudden rise to power in the kingdom. We could sip the blessings of royalty from our golden goblets . . . yet still fail to realize what the ultimate purpose of our commission really is. The final purpose is not to enjoy great self-esteem, or a plush lifestyle of royal ease. All of these roles mean we take who we are and go out and do. Like I Peter 1:9 says, it is all to enable us to “proclaim the praises.” It’s more honorable than sitting on England’s throne, guarding the Queen of Scotland, or dwelling in a fortress-like castle. It has rewards reaching far into eternity!
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:15-18
(For an inspiring song on knowing who you are, be sure to listen to the song in the previous post, “All He Says I Am” by Gateway. For more inspiration, take a peak at the “Your Royalty in Him” page at the top of the page. You’ll never see yourself the same again.)