Much of our life is spent without giving a lot of conscious thought to our actions. We must recognize that people far from God are watching our every move, listening to our every word, observing every deed we do on behalf of others or ourselves. They watch us because they want to see if God really makes any difference in our lives. If we aren’t intentionally choosing to live in a way that honors Christ, we demonstrate to others that God really doesn’t change the way we live. This is tragic not only for us, but even more so to the one who rejects God because they see no point in following Him based on what they observe by watching us.
We are prone to slip into sinful behaviors that feel natural and comfortable to us. Satan is constantly putting temptations in our path to make certain it is easy for us to sin, and difficult for us to choose to follow God. We can feel good about our devotion when we worship God on Sundays, but we quickly fall back into our old habits once Monday arrives. If we are not intentional in our choices, we will more often than not default to living for ourselves rather than for God and others.
We need standards – guidelines – that will help us live intentionally and keep our focus on Jesus regardless of our circumstances. The natural inclination of our fallen selves is to always look out for “number one”. We seek success and comfort. We want to be entertained. Living for Jesus turns all of that upside down. Instead of living for ourselves, we will live for others. Rather than clawing our way up the ladder, we should look for ways to serve others. Look for ways you can provide comfort for someone else instead of always providing for your needs first. Bring some joy into the life of another. It’s far more fulfilling than any form of mindless entertainment in which you might otherwise engage.
The key is to live with a mentality of “others first”, and to do it consistently. This is how Jesus lived. He was always far more concerned about the welfare of others than His own well-being. Jesus could have achieved anything He wanted in this world. He could have been King of a nation, perhaps many nations. He could have been the most popular celebrity of His time. Instead He chose to live by God’s standards. He chose to serve rather than to succeed in the eyes of the world.
If we want to be followers of Jesus, we must adapt the same standards by which He lived. We must seek God with all of our strength. We must love others more than ourselves. We must sacrifice our own comforts, security, and prosperity for the sake of sharing His love with those desperate for it and in need of a Savior. Remember, the world is watching how you act and react. The standards by which you live will determine whether or not they see Jesus.