{Philippians 1:20; NLT}
For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.

We take on a great responsibility when we become Christians.  Following Jesus puts us under the microscope and  the way we live either validates or refutes the Gospel we say we believe. This is why it is so important for us to be concerned with how we live.  Our lives are a real world illustration of the Gospel.

While we might think it is unfair, people are going to evaluate the power of the Gospel by what they see in our lives.  Whether we like it or not other people’s perceptions of us matter. Sure we cannot ultimately control how other people view us, but there are steps we can take to put our best foot forward.

  1. We need to remember not to do things that will cause us shame. The apostle Paul was concerned about this. He was public figure and people knew the Gospel that he preached, and so Paul wanted to make sure he didn’t anything that would cause him shame and lose the respect of other people. We need to be conscious about the words we use and the things we do. Remember we might not think doing this or that is a big deal, but by our participation in it might cause others to lose respect for us.
  2. We have to have standards in our lives. Standards provide us with the boundaries we need to faithfully follow Jesus. When we don’t have standards we will go the way of the world.  Often the people others respect are those who stand by their convictions rather than going along with the crowd. It is easy to go along with the rest of the world; it is another thing to stand firm on our convictions.
  3. We need to be bold. Courage is essential if we are going to stand apart for the crowd. It isn’t easy being different, because we feel alone and vulnerable. So there is a great temptation to give into the crowd. It is important to remember that respect doesn’t  come by being like everyone else, but comes from having the courage to be faithful to our convictions. Why? I believe that it is because many people want to be different, but they don’t have the courage to separate themselves from the crowd. We are respected when we courageously stand firm on our convictions because we are doing what other people want to do.

Being respected is very important if we are going to make an impact this world. When we are respected by others they will listen to what we have to say and follow where we lead. Respect is a precious commodity, so it is vital that we do what we can to hold on to it.

Questions to Consider:

  • Why is it so important to not do things that invite shame into our lives?
  • What standards do you think are essential for Christians to have?
  • Why is respect so important?
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