Living the Christian Life Any Way You Want To Is Not An Option
by John Clark
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We do not have to fear God, but we must live with an attitude of obedience and holiness because He is a holy God, and a God of judgment. Much is said about grace today but very little about living a holy life out of love for God and reverential fear. The grace of God must not be taken advantage of by thinking that since we are saved we can live or believe any way we want to. Reverential fear is realizing that God "expects" those of us who have called upon God for our salvation to live holy lives in obedience to Him. There should be some godly fear of the consequences if we don't. This is not the same as legalism. If you do not like the word "expect" then consider the opposite: living a holy life IF you want to. God doesn't give us that option. I Peter 1:16 tells us to "Be holy because I am holy."
God is a gracious God, but it is also possible to displease Him by disobedience and compromising with the godless culture. Loose living does not have a place in a Christian's life. It must be a life of discipline. Look at the following verses.
Crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24
Set no worthless thing before your eyes. (Psalm 101:3)
Bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5)
Put to death the deeds of the body. (Romans 8:13)
Make no provision for the flesh. (Romans 13:12-14)
Do not love the world. (I John 2:15-16)
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:1-2)
Deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow Jesus. (Luke 9:23)
Create in me a clean heart O God. (Psalm 51:10)
All things are lawful but may not be helpful or edifying. (I Corinthians 10:23)
This is what God expects of us, not an easy believeism nor a life of continual comfort and ease. This does not mean that Christians should not have a life of fun and adventure. It is just not an option to live it any way we want to. It needs to be one of discipline, sacrifice, and refusing to conform to the ways and thinking of the world, and not only NOT conforming but being transformed by the renewing of one's mind.
Shouldn't we be thinking of what is necessary for us to demonstrate our love for God and minister to others? What is necessary for us to fulfill the Great Commission and to do what God put us on earth to do? We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the trap of thinking what's in it for me?
To fulfill God's purpose for our lives it may be necessary to give up certain things, to give up personal desires, or to make sacrifices. It may be necessary to change the use of our time or the people with whom we associate. It may be require that we go to places we don't want to go or do things we don't want to do. It may require a change of the type of music listened to, or the kind of books read, or the kind of television programs watched. It could also include the way money is used or the type of environments in which to be involved.
Living a holy life and not living any way a person wants to also means to hate what God hates and to have a heart for what God delights in. It means we don't call ourselves Christians but then turn right around and support social issues that God's word has spoken against like one country music singer and a Christian band leader have done recently. If we are to live holy lives in obedience to God there are some things that we will not do, period! Our beliefs and practices will be consistent with our faith and the teachings of God's word. Compromise is not compromise; it is conformity! If God's word says something is sinful and wrong, then it is sinful and wrong.
We must know what we believe with conviction, with no compromise, based upon the truth of God's word. That will determine one's beliefs, attitudes, and actions. It will determine what a person stands for. The bottom line is that we will not live or believe any way we want to, but only in accordance with God's word. Ephesians 5:16 says we need to redeem the time and make the most of it because the days are evil.
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