How does one live the Christian life?
Some think it is something that just happens. However, like anything else worth doing, it takes work, planning and adherence.
God’s word gives us many examples to follow, with Christ being the supreme example. Peter wrote, “For even hereunto were ye called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth, who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23).
It is readily seen how Christ conducted himself as he dealt with man and various aspects of human life and how Christians should live their lives.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). This statement causes the child of God to look within him — or herself to determine if he or she is a true follower of Christ.
From time to time, there are those who respond to Christ’s invitation who have responded before but have come to realize that they really did not have the proper understanding of what was happening when they were obeyed the first time. Some fail to change their lives and, therefore, never repent of their sinful lifestyles. The true converts realize they must turn aside from the world and seek heaven. This seeking requires determination and dedication to live as Christ lived. It goes beyond a “surface” Christianity; it goes deep into understanding the love and mercy God has shown to them.
Paul continues his admonitions on Christian living by talking about where a person’s affections should be placed. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the Earth” (Colossians 3:2). This is more difficult than some think. It would seem that if one is determined to follow Christ, then it would be easy to only have affections for spiritual and upright things.
God, in his wisdom, knows his creation and has given many warnings against falling into Satan’s snare of thinking this will just happen. Jesus taught that man ought to “seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33); that man ought not “lay up for yourselves treasures upon Earth” (Matthew 6:19).
The apostle John wrote, “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 forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
Paul’s advice points the child of God in the direction of heaven. Love for God, his word and the hope of heaven constantly must be on the mind of a true follower. With a mindset on heaven, when Satan throws his darts, the individual can see the way of escape from temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). Paul had to watch himself, lest he become a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Just knowing that this great apostle had to watch himself, lest he would fall, is ample evidence that setting one’s affections on things above will be difficult at times.
Editor’s note: This is part one of a three-part series.