Every Christian is a walking-talking testimony to our Lord Jesus Christ. The world is watching us to see if what we say we believe is real or not. Therefore, we must be careful what kind of image we present. As author James Spiegel writes:
The point is that there is apologetic power in a life well-lived. As it was in the early church, when Christians won converts by simply demonstrating their love for one another, so it is today. Personal virtue and self-sacrifice are the most effective tools of persuasion, able to overcome gargantuan obstacles of doubt and lure even the most skeptical minds. When it comes to proving religious truth, an ounce of love is worth a ton of argument. (Spiegel, James S. The Making of an Atheist. Moody Publishers, 2010. pp.116-117)
In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells His disciples:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 NASB)
Our witness to the world hinges on us loving one another. The way those outside the Kingdom of God treat each other should be different than the way Christians treat their brothers and sisters in the Lord. Pride and selfishness rule the thoughts and actions of those in rebellion to God. Love, peace, and joy should rule in the hearts of those living in the forgiving grace of God.
When conflict arises in the secular world, it is usually met with anger, pride, and lawsuits. The Christian must rise to a higher level of conduct than the unsaved world around it. Otherwise, those who are watching us will wonder, “What’s so good about being a Christian anyway? They act the same way I do.”
In the New Testament book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul gives the church some instruction on how we should behave as believers:
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4 NASB)
Paul goes on to show that this was the attitude of Jesus while He was on earth. Jesus, who is God, humbled Himself to become a human and died on a cross to pay for our sins. No one made Him do that, He did it because He loves us. And, in this passage, Paul says that we should love others enough to put their needs ahead of our own.
What is the result of this kind of selfless living? Paul continues in the fourteenth verse:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…(Philippians 2:14-15 NASB)
If our conduct is as Jesus, and Paul, say it should be, we will stand out as shining lights against the dark backdrop of secularism. We will be so different from the rest of the world that they will be unable to ignore the difference that Jesus makes in our lives.
The closer we are to Christ, and the more we love one another, the brighter our light will shine as our lives testify to the of the truth of God, and His love for us.