As Christians, we live in the world, but we are not of the world. Right. And what does that mean, exactly?
Others see the Christian life as a list of things that you shouldn’t do. Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t use foul language, and don’t sleep with the spouse of another; basically, a ten-commandment lifestyle. It’s a shallow view of Christianity that falls apart the first time they see a Christian breaking one of the commandments and point out yet another example of that pervasive Christian hypocrite who carries sole responsibility for turning so many away from the church.
To the non-Christian, it looks an awful lot like giving up everything fun. Who actually wants to spend weekends working at a homeless shelter, and getting up early on Sunday to go to church where you put some of your hard-earned cash into the offering plate while the rest of the world sleeps in.
Besides, you don’t have to be a Christian to be a good person. Plenty of people do secular charity work without bringing religion into it. Lots of people sleep only with their spouse, and go through life without lying, cheating or stealing. It’s possible to live a moral and ethical life and not be a Christian.
So what makes a Christian life different?
If a non-Christian follows a Christian around for a day, they might not notice much difference in their daily activities. Maybe they will see a person begin their day with prayer or a Bible reading, but maybe not. Sometimes Christians wake up late and grab a quick cup of coffee, run through their workday and then spend the evening running kids to whatever practice or lessons are on the schedule. You might even catch them breaking a commandment or two. But as the Christian hustles through the same obstacle course of life with the rest of the world, there is something distinctly different in their attitude. It’s called peace. Christians lose jobs, have money worries and health scares, but when our lives are rich in Christ it changes how we react. It changes how we view the past, present and future.
In Christ, there is no guilt or condemnation over our past. (John 12:47) There is even gratefulness for all that we have been given. We trust that we received exactly what we needed and stood exactly where we were meant to stand for as long as we were meant to stand there. It’s what got us to the place we are right now, which is living a life in Christ. We have peace in our past.
In Christ, we live in the present with contentment. He gives us exactly what we need and we joyfully receive it. We have all that we need in abundance and don’t envy what we don’t have. A life with Christ brings a day filled with the fruits of the spirit: Joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
In Christ, we do not fear the future. We trust that He will walk with us through whatever joys and trials come our way. We trust that Christ will keep His promises and that He will never leave us or forsake us. In Christ, we are not afraid of the future.
This is our life in Christ. We are not promised perfect health, full bank accounts, and supernatural protection from our enemies, though we may indeed receive these things. What we do have is His promise of peace, joy, and life everlasting.