Do some areas of your life seem very obviously ‘Christian’, while in others your faith seems a lot less relevant? If so, you’re not alone. Many Christians find it hard to see the everyday relevance of their beliefs beyond personal devotions, church life and evangelism.
But God never intended us to compartmentalise our lives like this. As Christians, we’re called to live out our faith in Jesus in everything we do.
In this study series we will see that the God who created this world and will one day restore it, sends us out to serve him in all areas of life. God calls his people to live Christianly; engaging positively with society as active citizens.
In this first session, we will begin to look at what it means to be a full-time disciple of Jesus.
Becoming a Christian transforms us; affecting everything we do.
The Bible, and our experience, clearly teach us the reality of sin. But it would be a big mistake to see the world only in negative terms.
God blesses his creation in all sorts of ways: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1), he “gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25), “All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD” (Psalm 145:10). There is still so much good in this fallen world!
Despite the terrible reality of sin, the Bible teaches that planet earth is also an exciting arena in which we really can serve and praise God. Being a Christian shouldn’t narrow our vision of today’s world. Rather, it should open our eyes to follow God’s will in all of life.
And that’s what we’ll consider in this second study. Specifically we’ll look at:
- the significance of humanity being made in the image of God
- how everyone is a recipient of God’s ‘common grace’
- how as Christians we have been made to do good works to the glory of God
The Bible equips us with a positive vision of the world, for us to serve God in that world.
Some of us live to work. We love it – it dominates our time and energy. Others work to live, seeing it as a necessary evil – draining and unfulfilling.
Either way, ‘work’ takes up a big chunk of our lives. Whether it’s our nine to five (plus) job, raising the kids, voluntary work or studying at university, we are likely to spend more time working than just about anything else.
If being a disciple of Jesus means living for him in all of life, that must apply to work. But what does it mean to live for Jesus in the workplace? How can we put our discipleship into practice in the office, the shop-floor, the factory, the warehouse, the call centre, the lecture theatre, the home or wherever else we are at work?
When God gives someone new life he gives them good works to go with it. That’s not just evangelism or serving in the church, it includes our ‘ordinary’ roles and responsibilities, like our jobs. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).
Work has always been part of God’s purpose for human beings. Right from the beginning, the Creator has used our work to sustain and care for his world. For Christians work is a wonderful opportunity to serve God and bless others around us.
God gives us work for our good. We serve him in it, motivated by the gospel.
Living out our Christian faith will cause us to clash with today’s thinking on foundational biblical issues.
According to Jesus, ‘love’ sums up how we are to live – love for God and love for our neighbour. But what it means to love others depends upon what we think is ‘good’ for them. Society has all sorts of opinions of what is ‘good’, but thankfully the Bible gives us some vital truths.
God’s word tells us that all human life is immensely valuable because we are made in his image. This radically influences what it means to be loving when we come to consider difficult issues such as abortion and euthanasia.
The Bible also shapes what we see as ‘good’ in areas such as family and relationships. It would be foolish to disregard the patterns our Creator has given us.
Sadly, our secular culture rarely acknowledges the wisdom of God. So being faithful to Christ as our Lord will mean swimming against the tide. And it’s not just what we say about these things that counts – it’s the way we say it. We must be gracious, compassionate and loving towards those affected, or who have a contrary view.
In this session we will try to untangle issues for which a biblical worldview will be especially counter-cultural.
Serving God in everyday life means going against the flow.
Our culture encourages us to focus on our individual needs and desires, leaving us with little incentive to take up any sort of concern for the wider community.
But as well as maintaining our individual walk with God and our life in the
local church, the Bible also directs us to have a positive Christian
influence in our communities.
But as well as maintaining our individual walk with God and our life in the local church, the Bible also directs us to have a positive Christian influence in our communities.
Believers are first and foremost members of the Church – a community that wonderfully transcends national boundaries. We are ‘citizens of heaven’ (Philippians 3:20).
Yet, just as we don’t reject our natural family when we become children of God, neither do we stop being citizens of the world. As citizens (or subjects), we all have opportunities to do good to our neighbour. And in a fallen world it’s important for Christians to play their part because our Christian influence really does make a difference.
There are some big questions to unpack when thinking about being a Christian citizen today: ‘how should we view the state?’, ‘should Christians be politicians?’, to name but two. Let’s get started…
As Christian citizens we are called to play an active role in society.