A Life of Contrast
Published by Theresee on Wed, 07/11/2012 - 2:45pm
By: Steve Becker
You have heard that it was said, “You should love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.
This is just one of many statements Jesus made that were in direct contrast to the culture of his time. But it was more than words. He lived it with his life. As he was being unjustly crucified, he prayed, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Jesus was a stark contrast to the prevailing culture. He illustrated the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world. As his disciples, Jesus calls us to live his life today and makes it possible by pouring out of the Holy Spirit on each of us.
Our signature verse is a declaration of our united response to this call: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20)
Author Matthew Kelly has identified three prevailing philosophies of our current culture:
- Individualism – “What’s in it for me?”
- Hedonism – “If it feels good, do it!”
- Minimalism – “What is the least I can do?”
These ideas are having real consequences and influences on our society. In contrast, we are called to live the life of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, demonstrating a life of true substance that is fulfilling and thrives, and letting the Spirit use us to draw others to their heavenly Father.
Matthew Kelly points out that Jesus’ life was very different from these worldly ideas.
Christ demonstrated that he was not focused on a life of individualism, but one of service. He did not live a life of hedonism, but of self-denial and sacrifice. And, he didn’t ask, “What’s the least I could do to bring salvation to humanity?” He asked, “What is the most I can do?” This is the attitude of love where all find true happiness and freedom no matter what their circumstances.
As believers, this is the life we are called to today – a life of love, self-denial and the highest dedication to doing God’s will. It’s the life he has empowered us to live. Let us live it today as a light for all to see.
TAKE THE CHALLENGE: How are you being influenced by today’s philosophies at work or in the culture? What contrasting characteristics of the life of Christ offset those philosophies? Ask God to show you how you can live his life in stark contrast to these ideas.