2 Kings 17:15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, "Do not do as they do," and they did the things the Lord had forbidden them to do.
Is there a difference in the way we (as Christians) live compared to the way the world lives? Or have we become imitators of the "nations" surrounding us?
Do we live according to the world or according to the Word?
Can people tell we are different by the words we speak? I don't just mean cursing (though of course that applies as well!). Are we building each other up or tearing each other down?
1 Thess 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
The following passage is long, but it is beautiful, and challenging!
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.We certainly should be living differently from the world!
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.
1 John 2:15&16 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.
The first step is, of course, to become a Christian. But sometimes, even after accepting Jesus Christ as a Saviour, it is hard to let him be Lord of our lives. To allow Him to work in our hearts, changing us to be more like Him, to finding out what His plan is for our lives and to follow it (sometimes we're scared He'll call us to the jungle of Africa as a missionary if we do that!). For every decision in our lives to be influenced by the fact that we belong to Christ, and we reflect Him (by both our words and our actions) to a watching world.
I've heard it said that you can tell a person's priorities by 2 things - how they spend their time and how they spend their money.
If we truly love Christ, we will want to obey Him, we will want to glorify Him in all we do and say, we will want to live for Him alone.
If we are truly living out our faith, it will show in the things we say, the movies and shows that we watch, the way we interact with our friends and family, in every. single. aspect. of our lives.
And, yes, that will mean being different.
Is there a difference in your life?
Who are you imitating? The world or the Word?