What kinds of things come to mind when you think of living a Christian life in today’s world? I asked myself if by living in today’s society we are confronted with different challenges than former Christians have had?
Today, it is all about the individual. The main goal is to satisfy one’s own desires and wishes. Everyone lives according to their own ideas and understanding. Self-actualization is high on the agenda. How this affects others is pushed into the background. The authority God has over our lives is not acknowledged. Lack of faith and godless living confront us in much of our society.
Love of money is evident through dishonest business practices and the black market. Much of social media focuses on the desire for recognition and honor. In essence, this is nothing else but idolatry. The love of money and the love of honor have first priority. Our first love is supposed to be reserved for God alone. We are to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength (Matthew 12:30).
Pagan practices like yoga and esoteric pursuits have again found their way into our society. But this is nothing new. Christians before us had to deal with the same sorts of issues. I want to encourage you by showing you that we are not facing new challenges. Solomon wrote many years ago:
“That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11).
Therefore, the Bible must remain the foundation for our decisions and way of life. It is not an outdated book. Today, it still has authority and contains the answers to the challenges we face. Even if it does not address the specific manifestation of a challenge, maybe using different words and examples, yet it still deals with the underlying causes.
Even though the former generations of our Western society were influenced by Christian values, today there is increasing alienation towards them. We can compare this with the experience of the first Christians. Their differences with the Jewish inhabitants were somewhat less due to their common background, but the contrast to the pagan way of life was enormous.
It is very important that our lives be strongly Bible-centered and that its principles be so strongly embedded in our practical living that the contrast is clearly recognized by the world. Jesus says: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Let our love towards colleagues, neighbors, and the people we come into contact with be evident. Let us serve instead of insisting on our own way. Honesty should be evident in all we do. We should have no self-seeking motives. We must avoid pagan practices, and our relationship with God must be our top priority. Let us be thankful people rather than complainers.
Be an employee one can depend on, whether or not you are being watched. Be a true friend and faithful spouse. Don’t always look out for yourself in dealing with others. Avoid sexual temptations. Do not cheat (neither on tests nor on your income tax). Do not engage in slanderous talk or negative remarks about others, whether they are present or not. Confront this type of behavior. Speak the truth. Give God the glory. All we have and all we are belong to Him.
Being a Christian today means to live according to biblical principles and to be an exception in a society that is increasingly alienated from godliness.
Stefan Schmelzle, Pforzheim (DE)