Growing up in the west during last few decades of the twentieth century, I took for granted that Judeo-Christian ethics and morality were the social norms and that even many of those who chose to ignore them at least acknowledged their existence and might be willing to admit that they “should” live by them.
It has become increasingly evident that those days are gone. As post-modernism has crept its way into the minds of so many over the last few decades, the previously common understanding of objective truth and a creator God has been diminished and replaced with “your truth” and “my truth” and “if it works for you, do it.”
A careful analysis of the decline of human flourishing in our society might well make a correlation between the statements above and what we see in western thought and behavior currently, but that is not the point of this post.
My goal here is to describe how I see myself as a Christian functioning in a society that has left Christianity behind. I will lay out a series of things I am committed both to do and not do to that end.
By the grace and through the power of God, I will:
- Set apart Christ as Lord in my heart, and always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks for an account of the hope in me, with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15 – a paraphrase)
- Treat others with kindness and respect, regardless of their beliefs or lifestyle
- Apply a biblical Christian worldview to all situations, acknowledging that:
- Human suffering is a direct result of the fall and subsequent curse (Genesis 3)
- Humans are separated from God as a result of the fall and sin
- The world is under God’s judgment, and His day of reckoning will come
- He provided a way to reconcile humans to Himself through the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is part of the triune God
- Model my life after that of Christ, seeking to glorify Him by serving others
- Speak the truth in love, even if it is perceived as “hate speech”
- Continue to read the Bible every day and strive to understand the intent and meanings of its divinely inspired authors, and rightly apply it to my life
- Hold the Bible as the authoritative, sufficient word of God – the standard of truth for living a life pleasing to God
- Seek to prayerfully, humbly correct and instruct others who unintentionally or deliberately misrepresent the word of God to advance unbiblical viewpoints and agendas
- Walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8), doing all things for His glory (Colossians 3:17, 23)
On the other hand, these are things I will NOT do, again with God’s help:
- Be ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16)
- Commit slander or libel towards a fellow human and image-bearer of God (even when that courtesy is not extended to me)
- Engage in conversations that are inherently divisive or bound to bring offense to others, unless they are about the truths of God and the Bible – I’ll save the hot button topics for things that are of eternal significance
- Compromise on what I know to be right for the sake of “keeping the peace”
Reading warnings in the New Testament that Jesus’ followers will suffer and be persecuted for His name’s sake seemed like a far-off warning in my youth. No more. After what God has done for me through Christ, it is my joy to live my life for Him, despite the cost.
If you are a Christian, I’m curious what you thought of the list. Would you add anything? If you are living in rebellion against God, I pray this will give you pause to consider your eternal destiny. Regardless of your relationship with God, I welcome any comments and questions. Thank you for reading!