Jesus’ Principles for Christian Living – Nov-Dec 2017

In a good marriage faithfulness is imperative. Every married person should want to please his or her spouse. If you are behaving in a manner that is displeasing to your spouse, then you should stop and correct that behavior. The same principle applies to your relationship with Jesus. “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (1 John 3:20-23).

Jesus has given us specific principles for Christian living. If we live or abide according to the Word of God, He will keep us from sin (Jude 1:24). How do we become pure? “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalms 119:9-11).

Enoch walked with God and was translated to heaven (Hebrews 11:5). What is one of the ways we too can walk with God? “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalms 119:133).

One who walks with God will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22, 23).

People are watching us, whether we realize it or not. Have you, at any time in your Christian walk, had anybody throw in your face the saying, “That wasn’t very Christian”? I know I have! Whether it was completely fair of that person or not; there was a slip of behavior that gave them an opportunity to say something. We must live a consecrated life which is above reproach. One of our duties as Christians is to win souls for the kingdom of God. Part of our testimony is our lives and how our character is received.

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“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:33; 11:1).

How should Christians relate to the evils in the world? We must put away all things that are contrary to the principles of God. If we are acting no different than the unsaved, then we are not acting according to God’s Word. If our conversation is no different, then it testifies that we are no different. We must; “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).

“…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

If we are not to be a part of the evils of this world, how should we relate to it? We must guard our thoughts! Thoughts dictate our behavior (Proverbs 4:23). We must continually have our thoughts in obedience to Christ. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

We will become like the things to which we subject our minds. What we see and hear is what we become. So we must guard ourselves from the evils or entrapments of this world. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).

Separate from the World

Christians must separate themselves from all things that are not true, honest, just, pure, lovely, etc. We must separate ourselves from people or things that are dishonest, perverse and use profanity (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1). When we first become Christians we may still have many friends who are not. We might be determined to convert them. If they are not receptive, we must separate ourselves from them; especially if they do not respect our new lifestyle. This separation does not mean we should mistreat them, but stop running with them to do the same things they do. The Bible says, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:1-4).

Our friends and even co-workers can drag us down and into conversations that do not uplift Jesus’ principles of Christian living. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20).

The music we listen to and the television shows or movies we watch should be free from immoral words and images. If we would be embarrassed to invite Jesus into a conversation or event, we should not be a part of it either. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

When it comes to watching television, movies, and the music we listen to, it should not have or promote the following standards: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness [immoral], lasciviousness [insatiable desire for usually sexual pleasure], Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance [contention], emulations [fervent envy], wrath [anger manifested], strife, seditions [division], heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings [disorder], and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). The word “do” is not just an outward action by someone but is also something “to occupy one’s self with, be engaged in, busy one’s self about.” (The New Analytical Greek Lexicon, by Wesley J. Perschbacher #4238)

We should only listen to music which praises God; “And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear [revere], and shall trust in the Lord” (Psalms 40:3).

The decisions we make about how we conduct ourselves shouldn’t be based on feelings or what others’ feel is morally acceptable. That changes daily! Our decisions should be based on scripture. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26).

Many things are becoming socially acceptable; such as living together without being married, gay marriage and its lifestyle. It is considered a hate crime to speak out against it. We do not condone any misconduct towards an individual that does not believe as we do. Everybody has the freewill to choose their own beliefs. God loves everyone and does not want anyone to be lost. We should love all mankind and pray for them. “He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he” (Proverbs 16:20). Unfortunately, sin has skewed the minds of many people into thinking evil things are okay. But God says; “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25).

Jesus clearly states that Christians who represent Him do indeed owe something to others. He warns that Christians who disregard their influence over others and their responsibility to be good examples for others and thereby lead people astray will not enter the kingdom (Matthew 5:19).

“These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:11, 12).

God wants you to be an example of what it means to follow Jesus. May Jesus live in you in every part of your life, so that people will recognize Jesus in you. If you have not accepted Jesus to live in your heart, invite Him in now, and believe that He comes in because He promised (Revelation 3:20). You must be born again! (John 3:7). “…choose you this day whom ye will serve… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).