BY JESSICA LANDMON
Years ago, you truly couldn’t distinguish between who was a follower of Christ and who wasn’t solely based on conduct. Morality was expected from everyone, and there was shame in not living a life full of integrity. Unfortunately today, you still often cannot distinguish between the two. But nowadays, it is because Christians are abusing God’s grace and are using it as an excuse to live like those who don’t know Him.
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. – 2 Timothy 4:3-4, NLT
It is very easy to get caught up in the world’s ideas about living. But once we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, a transformation in our hearts and minds should begin. We should turn away from anything that is sinful, for this grieves the Lord. I recognize that we will all fall into traps that entangle us, and forgiveness is extended. But, I am witnessing an unsettling trend.
In the past, there was a legalistic movement in the Church that led to a list of things you couldn’t do. You couldn’t dance, you couldn’t go to the movies, you couldn’t drink a glass of wine. Women couldn’t wear pants or make-up. The list went on and on filled with rules and regulations, many of which weren’t even sinful. If that weren’t bad enough, the major problem with this thinking was that people believed that if you obeyed this list, you earned your salvation, regardless of your heart. And, we all know that is nonsense.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV
Unfortunately, the pendulum has now swung in the opposite direction. In an effort to escape this dangerous legalistic thinking, people have gravitated to an “anything goes” philosophy of Christianity where they believe that any behavior is covered by grace. This is also nonsense. We are called to live a holy life.
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:14-16, NIV
Ladies, we need to ask ourselves some tough questions. Are we living a holy life? Does sin sadden us? Do we know what the Word of God commands, and does our life reflect it?
In an effort not to be vague, let’s get specific in some areas. Are you using language that is crude or foul? Do you lie to suit your purposes? Is anger ruling in your heart? Are you having sex outside of marriage? Do you get drunk on the weekends? Are you gossiping about your boss or your pastor? Are you entertaining yourself with media that is contrary to a Godly life?
When you truly love Jesus with all your heart, you should want to live a life that is pleasing to Him. Remember, His commands are not suggestions, they are requirements. And, the best part is that you don’t need to do it in your own strength. In fact, you couldn’t. We have the Holy Spirit available to us to empower us to live the life we’ve been called to live.
We need to get on our knees, repent, and turn away from any sinful behavior in our lives. God is calling us to be holy. Will you answer the call?