Wednesday, September 8, 2021


I'll be the first to say that there no such thing as a perfect person. Having established that, I think there is a high expectation of behavior from the general public when it comes to how Christians behave. It's an expectation that non-Christians may not even understand. Christians are, after all, called to be set apart from the world, to not be conformed to it, and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through Christ Jesus (Romans 12:2, 2 Cor. 5:17, 1 Peter 2:9-10). In these strangely thoughtless modern times - the era of emotional reasoning and virtue signaling - living out Christian values in everyday life is a radical act of rebellion. Culture may swim in one direction, but a Christian will almost certainly swim against the current. For better or for worse, this is the lot of the individual who has taken up his cross, denied himself, and chosen to follow Christ (Matthew 16:24-26). But what does it actually mean to be a "radical" follower of Jesus Christ? What does living out Biblical values in society actually look like? It's a question that I asked myself for most of my teenage years and throughout all of my early twenties. It's a fair question, too. I think we hear a lot about living out the gospel in our lives when we go to church on Sunday - but what does that look like? Well, the following points are what I think it should look like. I have based these points not on my own feelings or emotions, but on what the Bible says about the behavior and actions of Christians. When in doubt, referring back to the source is the best thing you could possibly do. I have started each point with a Bible verse, and then I have added some notes and food for thought. 

1. Throwing off sin and running with endurance. 

Hebrews 12:1-3: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. The first and most obvious thing that the Bible tells us about living our lives out in the world is that we should strive to turn away from sin. We are to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. What does this look like? Well, I like to ask myself what things hinder me from reaching toward Christ and what things cause me to sin. I shouldn't be continually returning to those things and repeating the same offenses. No, I should be casting them off and throwing them aside. 

I'll give you a simple, elementary example of what this might look like. I discovered within the last two years that ingesting horror movies or horror novels were two things that really messed with my mind. When I watched scary things or read scary things, I would automatically revert back into an anxious state of mind. That anxiety would drive me to worry too much, have trouble sleeping, and wrestle with fear about everything from encountering murderers to unwittingly summoning a demonic spirit. It really screwed with my spiritual life and I found myself dwelling on dark and insidious things rather than good and pure and light things. The Bible is pretty clear that we should fill our minds with pure things, lovely things, and honorable things (Philippians 4:8). Cramming negative stuff into my head was literally a gateway drug to sin. It did nothing positive for me. It brought me down, and even worse, it desensitized me to sin. So, I decided that it was better for me if I just abstained from watching or reading anything that was explicitly demonic or occult in nature. After all, the Bible is also very clear about casting off any association with witchcraft or demonic activity (Gal. 5:19-21, Micah 5:11-12, Ephesians 5;11, etc), so it was a win-win for me. I wasn't associating with that kind of spiritual nonsense anymore, and I was also protecting my mind from Satanic garbage.  

What about running with perseverance? Obviously, I could give the oft-touted illustration of an Olympic athlete who strives ever onward toward his prize, pushing through pain and competition to attain glory. In the same way, Christians should live their everyday lives with the mindset of looking forward to our eventual homecoming to the place Christ has prepared for us. This is really integral, because it sets Christians apart from the rest of the world. Our lives are to be illustrations of Christ's grace and mercy in us, and because of the salvation which He has secured for us, through faith, we don't have to fear death. As it is so eloquently written in one my favorite songs, In Christ Alone, Christians have "no guilt in life, no fear in death." Our lives are to be viewed as a race, an epic triathlon which we will conquer and overcome because of Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross. And, like any good athlete, our performance in this race should be marked by good sportsmanship, honesty, endurance, strength, humility, and faith in our goal. 

2. Having peace in an anxious, overstimulated world. John 16:33: These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” The Bible is full of 365 "fear nots," which tells us that worry and anxiety are two things that everyday people face constantly. We are human, therefore we worry. Thankfully, God is God, therefore He does not worry. We can rest in Him. A Christian does not need to - nor should he/she - live in a state of chronic fear. We don't need to fear death, because our salvation is secured through Christ (John 3:16). Jesus says in the verse I included above that He has overcome the world. He tells us to take courage. In this world we will have trouble - that is a guarantee! But Christ says, don't worry. Be brave. I have overcome the world. I think you will see a demonstration of this in the life of the true Christian, especially during these rapidly changing times. Christians should not live in fear of anything or anyone (Psalm 118;6). We are commanded so many times to take courage, take heart, and cast our cares upon Him who loves us (1 Peter 5:7). We should not live in fear. Fear is debilitating and crushing. Fear of man, fear of illness, fear of tyranny; none of it is Biblical. The Christian looks at the chaos of the world and realizes that the world is broken and will remain so until Christ's return. We can long for the days ahead and still find the joy even amidst the carnage of this reprobate Earth. Don't live in a place of permanent fear and anxiety. There is no need for that. The Christian has God-given joy and peace through the salvation and the protection of Christ Jesus. Nothing and no one can take that away from you. In fact, a radical act of rebellion in today's society, which is so focused on the feelings of the present and the self, is simply standing apart from the crowd and not worrying about tomorrow. You can work toward a better tomorrow and strive toward a better tomorrow - but you don't have to worry about whether or not these things will come to pass, because it's all in God's hands. The responsibility is not ours. This is good news, because none of us can handle the weight of the world. 

3. Understanding that absolute truth and objectivity exists. John 17:17: Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth. In a social-media obsessed society, definitions of reality are constantly shifting. The Christian stands apart from this mentality of philosophical quicksand, firmly rooted in a concrete worldview. The foundation of Christianity is based in the knowledge of absolutes. For example, the absolute authority of God, the absolute authority of Scripture, and absolute definitions of right versus wrong. Morality is clearly defined by God in the Bible. The world and popular society exists in a state of chronic confusion because its definitions of truth are changing almost daily. What was wrong yesterday is now right. In three years it will be wrong again. Science is worshiped as the penultimate definer of truth, while at the same time it is vehemently denied when it becomes inconvenient to look at the evidence. Christians have no such confusion. The Bible provides an absolute standard of objective truth, and it is good. Right and wrong are clearly defined. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says this:  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. Christians believe that Scripture is God-breathed, therefore providing us with a reasonable and trustworthy framework of morality where we can carry out our lives. We don't have to question whether or not our actions are wrong. We can look to Scripture and the teachings of Christ to know, absolutely, if they are wrong are not. We can trust in objective truth rather than the shakiness of subjectivity and self-defined mantras. We can trust in a masterful Creator and author rather than in our own faulty, short-sighted emotions. Jesus even defined Himself as truth incarnate when He told his followers, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me" (John 14:6). Objectivity is exclusive, and it is certainly offensive to a society that handily redefines the meaning of right and wrong. Christians who want to live out Biblical values in this type of discriminatory, hostile society must understand that their devotion to Biblical standards will not be celebrated. That's okay. Our time for celebration will come. 

4. Expecting & rejoicing in persecution. Matthew 5:11: Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. The reality is, Christians aren't winning popularity contests. Christianity is scorned and hated by much of the world. One reason for this is because Christianity preaches a staggering and gut-wrenching reality: humanity is doomed, cursed by sin, and coasting down a wide, one-way path toward Hell. The only escape from this downward spiral is to turn toward Christ, through faith and grace, and repent. To confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord. It's actually very simple to trust Christ. But living out Biblical values in a society that hates Christianity because of its conviction and its demand that people turn from sin is a lot easier said than done. Jesus Himself was persecuted to the point of torture and execution. The world, for the most part, does not want to hear the good news of the gospel. The gospel demands heart change and selflessness and self-denial. This is hard to hear for a globe drunk on its own sinful lusts. In 2017, Fox News published an article that reported almost 1 million Christians had been killed for their faiths around the world in just 10 years. Millions of Christians have been viciously killed throughout history. Why? Jesus tells us in John 15:18-21:  

If the world hates youknow that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the worldthe world would love you as its ownbut because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the worldtherefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to youA servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted methey will also persecute youIf they kept my wordthey will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my namebecause they do not know him who sent me. 

The world will hate Christians because the world does not know the Father. The world is blinded by its sin and chained to the prince of darkness (aka Satan). Christians can stand strong for Biblical values by living out simple truths in their everyday lives at work and at home. How? By teaching their children how to critically assess truth versus fiction. By teaching them Biblical truth. By sticking to Bible-defined standards of morality. By standing firm for godly legislation and opposing all else. By working to protect the fatherless and the weakest in society. By refusing to bow down to pressure from friends or family who demand the redefinition of absolute truth - whether this pressures comes politically, morally, or socially. You can quietly and humbly stand firm for what you believe in. Oftentimes it is the most difficult to stand up for what you believe in when you are being confronted by someone who is closest to you. It's hard. But Jesus promises that those who are persecuted will be blessed (Matt. 5:11, above). In fact, I would venture to ascertain that one of the reasons why American society is in such depressing state of moral decay is because, far too often, modern Christians are afraid to stand up for what they believe in. Christians remain silent about what they believe in at work, with family, and with friends. They don't want to be offensive, and so they choose to be quiet instead. This is something that I did most of my life. Neutrality, I believed, was better than saying what I really believed, because I knew that what I really believed would not be popular. Christian values rarely are. This was cowardly on my part, and I now strive to cast aside any fear about what "people might think about me" as I go forward in life. Sometimes, standing for nothing is just as bad as standing for something evil. Christians must rid themselves of the poisonous idea that neutrality is safe. It's not. If you really want to be "radical," try sticking up for Jesus. He stuck up for you on the cross. The least we can do is try to return the favor. 

5. Working hard and working well. Genesis 2:15: The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Here's something else that should really define Christians: our work ethic. Just as I talked about running and endurance in the first point of this article, I want to take a moment to talk about work. In Genesis 2:15, we see that God not only created work for man, we see that work existed before sin. Work is good. God created it for us. It keeps us busy, focused, and productive. And so the Christian should strive to work, whether that work is at home, for an employer, on the mission field, or in the backyard. Proverbs 12:11 says that He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues worthless things lacks sense. Clearly, laziness and slothfulness is not part of God's design for us. Everywhere in the Bible, we can see verses about working hard, working diligently, and working with dignity (2 Thes. 3:10-12,  Proverbs 14:23, Col. 3;23, etc). In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, the Bible says this: For even when we were with you, we would give this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. Obviously, working comes in many different shapes and forms. For some, it is staying at home with children and caring for the needs of their household, day-in and day-out. For others, it is diligently working at their job, performing those daily tasks with respect and attention to detail. Work looks different for everyone, but the point is that work exists for a reason. Christians can easily offset culture by advocating for good, honest work. This flies in the face of a me-centered culture and society which constantly blasts us with messages like I am owed success or I am owed comfort. No one is owed anything. The only thing that we are owed is eternal judgement by a righteous God. We must work, not just because it is good and healthy to do so, but because God Himself demands it. 

6. Defining love on par with justice. 1 John 4:19: We love because He first loved us. The term love is possibly the single most deliberately twisted word in the English language. Biblical love is radically different from society-defined love. Society defines love as what makes us happy. Society says that if something makes us happy, we must love it. If it ceases to serve us, and it is not making us happy, then it is no longer love. Biblical love says quite the opposite. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 gives us the following hallmarks of true love: Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love, if anything, is self-denial. Love is a choice to pour out grace and compassion on someone who has possibly inflicted great pain on our life. Love, by Biblical standards, is not a fickle, oft-changing emotion. Most of the time, love is a choice. God is love. God doles out love as abundantly as he doles out justice. It's important to remember this, because the same God who loves us will also lovingly remind us not to sin. Modernly, society has latched onto the idea that "God loves me no matter what! So I'll just do whatever makes me happy!" This reasoning is illogical. Yes, God does love you no matter what. But along with His love is a demand that one turns from sin and follows His commandments. You cannot cherry-pick whatever parts of the Bible make you feel good about your sin and then cast aside the rest. That's simply heretical. We are told that Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). We see here that love is balanced with justice. Love is not blind acceptance of any and all things. Love, by contrast, demands mercy, grace, and kindness, tempered with a healthy dose of morality and God-given behavioral standards. God does not say, for example, "Do whatever you want in the name of love." Love can be used to justify many evil things, and it is, every day. But God's definition of love and his expectations of love are totally different than what the world will tell you. Love is selfless, not self-serving. Love is kind and patient - not intolerant or hateful. Love does not seek revenge and does not keep track of others' wrongs. We are commanded to love our enemies, not wish them harm or destruction (Matt. 5:44). Love is not an umbrella word that justifies any perversion of the Word of God. Loving God fully, with your heart and mind and soul, also brings with it the responsibility to uphold God's law. That, too, is love. Like the word tolerance, the word love has been hijacked by society and redefined to mean something that is not Biblical at all. If you want to live out Biblical values as a Christian in the face of a culture that defines love as an immediate emotion, you can start by lovingly and humbly being unafraid to offer kindness and understanding to someone who disagrees with you - while simultaneously standing firm in objective truth and understanding that love does not mean doing whatever you want, whenever you feel like it.


Society is hostile to Christians. This is nothing new. Society has been hostile to Christians since the church was born. Christians have been tortured, beheaded, decapitated, shot, drowned, burned to death, and mocked. Christians were never meant to be popular. After all, Jesus said that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matt. 10:34). The gospel is divisive because of its exclusivity (Jesus' says He is the only way to heaven), its demand that an individual completely turn from his/her sin and self-serving behavior (Matt 16:24-26), and because it simply goes against the grain of popular society, making it uncomfortable to publicly profess (Matt 10:22). 

Radically acting for the Kingdom of God is not a glamorous thing. Some people are called to the mission fields of Africa or the Middle East, but most of us are called to the mission field here at home. Our interactions with the people around us is the witness that we offer to others. People are watching you. Do you practice what you preach? Do you walk into church on Sunday, upright and pious, and then return to your regular workweek and blend into the rest of the crowd? These are the questions I try to ask myself often, because I know that I fail regularly. This is the result of my sinful, fallen nature. But we, as Christians, must always strive toward doing better and standing firmer and being braver. Living out Biblical values begins in the home. It begins with the way you treat your children and the behavior that you are modelling for them. It begins with the way we treat our friends and our family. It begins with the way we respond to situations at work or at church. It begins with our willingness to stand against injustice, tyranny, and abuse. It begins with the small things, the supposedly mundane things, and the local things: 

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

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