This is exactly what we need to do.
Don’t participate in the things these people do. For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true (Ephesians 5:7-9; NLT).Christians are a changed people. We no longer participate in the same activities that the world does. These are activities that continue bring corruption and sin into God’s good creation. This is why it is crucial for us to live lives of faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven (Hebrews 12:1-2; NLT).In these two verses we find four actions we must do if we are going to live differently from the world.
First we must remember the witnesses.
Hebrews 11 is filled with great examples of faith, men and women who trusted God through the ups and downs of life. The writer of Hebrews wanted people be encouraged by these examples. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, Esther, Daniel, and the Apostles give us encouragement as we attempt to live faithfully in our culture. Remember, there is a reason God preserved their lives on the pages of Scripture so lets learn from them.
It is also important to remember that through the past two thousand years more and more people have been added to this great cloud of witnesses. On the pages of history and through the years of our lives are more men and women who are examples of what it means to live faithful lives in a culture not aligned with God’s will.
The second action we need to do is remove the hindrances.
Change is difficult.
We all have junk in our our lives that needs to be removed. We have self-image issues that rob us of confidence. We have relationship issues that cause problems with those that we are closest with. We have emotional problems (depression, anxiety, perfectionism, guilt, etc.) that need to be addressed.
The universal weight people carry is sin.
The third action we must do is run the race.
God has created us to do good.
The final action is to reflect on Jesus.
Jesus is our ultimate example on how we are to live. He showed us how to love, how to serve, and how to forgive. We must model our lives after his life.
Jesus’s sacrifice is the ultimate encouragement we need to live a life of faith. Knowing that Jesus went through brutal times, to save us from sin, offers us courage when we go through dark times of life and motivates us to remain faithful.
We can only keep our eyes on Jesus by reflecting on his life through reading and studying the Bible.
Christians are called to be different from the world.