Are We Different?

Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

As followers of Jesus Christ, what should our lives look like? What sets us apart from those who do not believe in Jesus Christ at all? What about our lives might make someone else want to believe in Jesus Christ, too? I think these are questions we should all think about and answer for ourselves.

For, as followers of Jesus we are not supposed to be like everyone else. We are not supposed to blend in or fit in with the people of this world. Our lives should be, in fact, in stark contrast to the world. We should stand out as different. But, this is because our lives are being patterned after the character of God. It should be because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. For, as believers in Jesus, we were created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:17-24).

Too many Christians today, though, don’t stand out as different. Too many are blending in and are trying to fit in with the world in order to be accepted by the people of the world. Too many live no differently from those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ at all. Thus, they have a worldly view of Christianity, but that is not how it is supposed to be.

For, to believe in Jesus means we deny self and we take up our cross daily and we follow (obey) Jesus Christ. It means we are daily, by the Spirit, putting sin to death in our lives. And, we are making it our practice, our lifestyle, to live by the Spirit and no longer according to the ways of our sinful flesh. For, we are set apart from the world of sin, and we are set apart to God and to his service, and Jesus is now Lord (owner) of our lives, and we now serve him, and no longer do we live to serve ourselves.

This is how we are supposed to live. We are supposed to live like Jesus did. It does not mean we will never sin again, but we should all be walking in integrity. We should all be people whose practice it is to live in purity, in faithfulness, and in sincerity of devotion to Christ.

And, it should be our practice to love others like Jesus loves us. And, we should be continually growing and maturing in these areas, too. More and more we should think less and less about pleasing ourselves, and our hearts’ desires should be more and more to please God and to give ourselves selflessly to meet the legitimate needs of others.

Ephesians 5:3-6 ESV

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Sexual immorality and all impurity in any form should have absolutely no place in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ or in the life of the church. It is, thus, not ok for us to watch movies or videos with sexually suggestive or sexually explicit material in them.

I believe it is not ok for us to watch romantic movies, either, which can get our minds dissatisfied with our partners and desiring to have affairs with other people. For, we romanticize how a marriage should be, and when it isn’t like that, then we are dissatisfied with our partners and we may go looking for romance elsewhere.

For, adultery is not just sexual intercourse with someone to whom we are not married. It is to lust after others, too, and the lust can come in many forms, as well, i.e. it doesn’t have to be just sexual in nature. It can be romantic in nature, too. For to desire someone else above our spouse or in place of our spouse or to romanticize what it would be like to be with someone other than our spouse is adultery, too. Extramarital affairs, thus, can be romantic and/or they can be sexual in nature.

In other words, we can’t play with fire. We should not even come near the fire. For, if we are truly emulating God and walking in love, we will live as Jesus lived. And, although it may sound trite or as a cliché, truly if we asked before we did anything, “What would Jesus do?” I believe there would be a whole lot of things we would not do that we might have done before. And, this would help us to truly live in the way God has called us to live, too. And, this covers all areas of our lives, not just the area of sexual immorality.

Yet, what we must know and understand about sexual immorality and moral impurity is that, if this is our regular practice to live sexually immoral lives, and thus to deny Jesus, and to refuse to obey his commands, then scripture says we do not have an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. We cannot follow Jesus Christ with our lives and live immoral lives at the same time. We are either slaves to the flesh or we are slaves to God. So, if this is how we choose to live our lives, we should not expect heaven to be our eternal destiny (See: Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).

Ephesians 5:7-15 ESV

Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

So, we are not supposed to be partners with the sexually immoral and with those who practice idolatry. They are not to be our close companions and friends, i.e. the people with whom we closely associate and spend much time with. If we are married to someone who is sexually immoral, though, I don’t believe scripture requires that we divorce that person. But, if we are not married, we should not marry someone we know is living in sin.

But being partners with people goes beyond just marriage, but this has to do with close friendships, too. And, it has to do with the things we participate in, too, such as what we watch on TV or in movies, or the games we play, or the music we listen to, etc. We should not unite our hearts and minds and emotions with what is immoral, impure, or idolatrous, or corrupt in any way. We must guard our hearts, minds and emotions, instead, against all forms of evil, so that we are not led back into sin.

And, this goes for the church, too. In other words, we should not unite ourselves with a fellowship of people who call themselves Christians but who are clearly worldly-minded and who promote the flesh, and who use what is fleshly to attract the people of the world to their places of business (called church). For, we can be led back into sin by going to “church,” too, if we pick the wrong people with whom to fellowship.

And, we must be careful, too, that we are not led astray by teachers who are saying that God requires no repentance or obedience to Christ as part of our saving faith in Jesus Christ. For, they water down the gospel message to make it more acceptable to human flesh, and thus they give free license for “believers” in Jesus to continue in their sinful addictions and their sexually immoral lifestyles, while promising them heaven when they die.

But, Jesus called us out of the darkness into his wonderful light. He gave his life up for us on that cross that we might die to sin and self and live to him and to his righteousness. He did not just forgive us our sins, but he died that we might put sin to death in our lives, and so we might walk in purity and holiness in the power of God at work within our lives. And, that is the GOOD NEWS of the gospel! So, we must not get caught up in the lies, but we must be wise and discerning, and we must do what is pleasing to our Lord.

Full Release

An Original Work / April 15, 2012

Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.

Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
Oh, what love
That He gives me
through salvation,
By His Spirit, from above.

Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.

Monday, January 7, 2019

2 thoughts on “Are We Different?

  1. Amen, so true that we need to stand out simply because we live differently. We are inviting Him daily into our hearts and home. Like Moses, we need to reflect His light to the point it is evident to all who look at us, even if we are not speaking.

    Liked by 1 person

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