What does it take to live a godly life in an ungodly world? Many of us have asked ourselves this question repeatedly. The signatures of sin and evil are all around us. There has to be something more that we can do than to white-knuckle our way through temptation.
Simply put, our anchor is Jesus Christ. He is our only salvation from sin — the anchor of our souls (see Hebrews 6:19) that holds firm, especially when the storms of life threaten and when the enemy's temptations blow hard against us.
Does this mean that we can escape the troubles of this world? No — but it does mean that we set the compass of our hearts on Christ. Then, when the aggressive winds and tumbling waves of temptation come, we will not be overwhelmed by them.
Jesus knew that we would face serious temptations and trials. The night of His arrest, He prayed for us: "[Father], my prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it" (John 17:15-16).
Living a godly life in an ungodly world is realizing that we do not belong to ourselves. As believers, we belong to Jesus Christ. He is the Shepherd of our souls, our loving Savior, and eternal Lord — and from a spiritual standpoint, we do not belong to this world. Our heavenly Father has provided all that we need to live free of Satan's temptations, tactics, lies, and snares.
We can begin living the godly life Christ has given us when we:
Have a heart focused and set on Christ. We do this by being committed to prayer and the study of God's Word. We can't set our hearts on Christ or learn to live godly lives unless we follow the instruction manual that God has given to us, and this is His Word — the Bible.
Refuse to get caught up in busywork, believing that we are pleasing to God. The greatest gift you can give the Lord is not a full schedule that includes one church meeting after another. Immorality can steal and rob us of a beautiful relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, but busyness will prevent us from getting to know God in a personal way. We should not allow anything we are doing for God to prevent us from being with God.
Realize that God loves us with an unconditional love. When we draw nearer and nearer to Christ, our desire to follow the way of temptation will fade. No one will ever care as much for us as the Savior does. Christ died so that we might have eternal life. His grace is a gift that cannot be purchased through good works or outstanding behavior. He loved us even before we were born, and He loves us now. We cannot earn His love, and we cannot lose it. When we yield to sin and sense that there is a distance between the Lord and us, it is not because His love for us has faded.
There are consequences to sin that are unavoidable, and one of these is that we sense God's rebuke because we have grieved His Spirit. But when we pray and ask Him to forgive us, He does — and He restores our fellowship with Him because His love has the ability to cover a multitude of sins (see James 5:20).
Invest in our spiritual future. We are involved in a spiritual battle. Unseen forces wage war against us, but the ultimate victory is won in Christ. Only faith in Jesus Christ wins the battle. It is faith that is not compromised one day and forgotten the next. Instead, it is faith that is built and maintained through love and devotion to God's Son.
If you are struggling against God's will and plan for your life, stop. Ask Him to help you understand the depth of His love for you. When you do, you will find that God is giving you the ability you need to live a godly life in an ungodly world!
Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.
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