10 — What We Believe About the Christian Life (Part 3)

The guiding principle for all Christian living is this: We must live to please the Lord.

This includes living a devotional life that begins, first and foremost, with a focus on scripture, the Bible.[1]  No one is born knowing what pleases the Lord, and no one can know it without coming into contact with the book that makes God’s will known.

This focus on Scripture must be comprehensive, for it is all of the Bible that guides us into the will of God.[2]  As we read, we will need to be introspective, thinking about how the word of God applies in our lives and that will lead us to prayer.  We cannot possibly be what God has called us to be without His help.[3]  While doing these things, we must challenge ourselves to adopt practices that will facilitate becoming more Christlike in our behavior.

Pleasing God requires living in community with Christian people.  God has made us to be His people, separating us from all others in His eyes.  He has not just saved you, but in saving you He adopted you into His family.  We must find our place in that family and serve.[4]  As one writer puts it: There are two things we cannot do alone: One is to be married, and the other is to be a Christian. [5]

Since we are the “pillar and ground of truth” for the world,[6] we must live responsibly, adhering to sexual purity and ethical behavior.  The Psalmist reminds us who can live in the house (family) of God: he whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, speaks the truth from his heart, has no slander on his tongue, does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman.  It is the person who despises that which is vile, honors those who fear the Lord, keeps his word even when it hurts, and who lends his money without interest and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.[8]

Footnotes

[1] The focus begins with scripture and not with God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit, for nothing can be known about the will of God for our lives – or much about God for that matter – without the revelation of scripture.

[2] 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

[3] The New Testament letters are full of reminders that it is God who works in us to desire and act according to His good purpose (cf. Philippians 2:13).

[4] In writing about this relationship in the body of Christ, Paul emphasizes this point writing: From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:16).

[5] Paul Tournier, cited by Philip Yancy, Church: Why Bother? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998) p. 37.

[6] 1 Timothy 3:15

[7] Psalm 5:1-4

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