The Christian life is a radical departure from the culture of the world. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ our lives tend to stick out from the rest of the culture in which we live (if your life doesn’t you may want to check yourself against the Word). Our lives are different because our hearts have been changed; we have received the Holy Spirit and we are now citizens of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said that we are in the world but not of this world (John 17:14).
I want to share on standing out for the right reasons. Our lives should be lived in such a way that the world recognizes the difference between themselves and us to the point where they want to know what makes us different. Some preachers and pastors have called this lifestyle evangelism. Jesus said it this way:
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT)
I like to say that our lives should be lived in such a way that we earn the right to share the gospel with those whom we work with, learn with, play with and live near.
Your Shining Light
As a Christian businessman one of the most challenging things to witness in the business environment is a professing Christian whose work is substandard. I have had the misfortune of seeing many fellow believers proclaim their faith to their co-workers and employers only to let their work be a poor reflection on the Savior they serve. It always seems the more often and the louder they preach the more mediocre their performance and work product are (hopefully this experience is only isolated to me and this message is truly unnecessary).
I have encountered many Christians who represent the Lord with lives of laziness, mediocrity and incompetency in their professional lives. While I do not believe this has any bearing on their salvation I do believe it has significant impact upon their Christian witness and testimony to those with whom they work. It is very challenging for your cubicle mate to want what you have when what you are producing is putting you in danger of losing your job or failing to meet company standards.
I will never criticize someone for their ability. God, in His wisdom, has created each of us with different gifts and talents and they have been given to each of us in different measures. This message is not about ability. This message is about excellence in what we do. Excellence can be directly related to loving the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. We give it all to Jesus, 24/7, because Jesus gave it all to us. My brokenness and the inspiration behind this message is when we as believers fail to use that which God has given us. Good enough doesn’t work when you are owned by the Lord. Just doing enough to get by does not work when you are owned by the Lord. Everything we do as believers represents the Lord.
Do you remember Daniel?
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. (Daniel 6:1-3 KJV)
Daniel worked hard, even as the servant of a pagan king in a kingdom that had destroyed his homeland and taken him as a captive to live in a foreign land. Daniel worked to reflect the glory and character of the God he served; knowing that His life was the only testimony to God that those around him could see.
Many Christians struggle with hard work and excellence because for some reason they feel it is a violation of salvation by grace through faith. Nothing could be further from the truth. The work I am speaking of has nothing to do with earning salvation. The work I am speaking of is our daily labor. The Bible teaches us that we are the body of Christ. Therefore the work we produce is representative to the world of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We represent the Lord Jesus Christ is all that we do. We do not have a secular and a sacred life; we have one life and it was redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus.
Do you not know that your body is a house of God where the Holy Spirit lives? God gave you His Holy Spirit. Now you belong to God. You do not belong to yourselves. God bought you with a great price. So honor God with your body. You belong to Him. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLV)
Just meditate on that last sentence, “You belong to Him.”
- My career belongs to Him.
- My education belongs to Him.
- My social life belongs to Him.
- My family belongs to Him.
- My finances belong to Him.
- My ministry belongs to Him.
Are we treating these areas of our lives as if God is the owner?
- Do we show up to school as if God is our professor?
- Do we come to work as if God is our employer?
- Do we volunteer our time as if God is the pastor of our church?
We can honor the Lord in all that we do by living as unto Him. We can stick out for the right reasons. We can worship God through our everyday life. We can give Him our whole hearts in worship not only during a church service but in our school and our job. We can honor Him by performing these tasks as unto the Lord.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2 MSG)
Our lives are an offering. God did not save us so that we could go to church. We were redeemed so that we may take His Kingdom into the entire world. We are His representatives; His ambassadors upon this planet.
Give your everyday life to Jesus and make Him Lord over it by doing all that you do as unto Him. Serve Him with excellence and a heart filled with gratefulness. Let your life stick out for the right reasons; God will use your everyday life to open a door into someone’s life for the preaching of the gospel.
Let the excellence and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ fill everything that you do.