OceanSide church of Christ
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IS THERE A PROPER WAY TO LIVE?
Victor M. Eskew
If a person is not a Christian, he does not have a proper way to live that has been defined for him. He makes his own rules. He lives selfishly and in the moment. He lives according to his feelings. He lives according to whatever works for him. Kindness, equity, justice, and love are often lacking from the lives of those who are not following the Christ.
Christians are different. They seek to live their lives in a “proper” way. They know that their Creator and their Redeemer has communicated to them a way to live life in the pages of the Bible. The psalmist put it this way: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). Paul put it in these words in Philippians 1:27: “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ…”
There are times when I really want to ask Christians: “Is there a proper way to live?” Why do I say this? Because as we watch Christians living their lives they are not living them in harmony with what is written in Scripture. There are multitudes upon multitudes of examples that could be given to prove the point. Some things might be considered minor infractions of God’s will. Others would be considered major infractions. Regardless of how the transgression is classified, it makes us ask: “Is there a proper way to live?”
Most who are not living properly in some area of their life would acknowledge that there is a proper way to live. They are not ignorant about God’s teachings, even in those areas wherein they are failing. Something, however, is keeping them from living properly. This leads to the question: “What is the reason(s) that you are not living as God directs?” Again, we might receive numerous answers.
One of the reasons that some might give is: SIN IS FUN. These individuals get enjoyment in the activities they engage in that are sinful. The Hebrew penman has told us that there are “pleasures in sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25). Sin does “satisfy” man’s carnal lusts temporarily. Sin does bring, what some refer to as, joy. The good feelings that sin brings to the lives of some are more rewarding that being well-pleasing in the sight of God.
Another reason some Christians might give for living improperly is: I AM TOO PROUD TO CHANGE. Giving up sin involves numerous admissions. One of them is: “I have been wrong.” People do not like to be wrong. Rather than admitting their wrong and changing, they continue down the path of iniquity. The problem with this is that is hardens the heart of the individual who is not living as God direct in His Word. The Hebrew writer exhorts us not to harden our hearts. “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness” (Heb. 3:8-9).
A third reason some Christians do not live properly is because CHANGE IS HARD. Change means doing things differently. Change means giving things up. Change mean having to say, “I’m sorry.” Change means that I am not in charge, but God is. Change means that I may have to do some things that I do not enjoy doing. The young rich man had to change something in his life. Jesus told him: “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, ad thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matt. 19:21). This change was monumental. It would radically alter who this man was. He just could not do it. “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matt. 19:22).
Another reason Christians refuse to harmonize their lives with the will of God is because THEIR TRANSRESSION IS SERVING THEIR PURPOSES. Isn’t that a thought! They have chosen a way of sin that serves them in some manner. It may be to inflict pain on another. It may be to enrich their pocketbook. It may be to allow them to climb the secular ladder. It may be to exalt themselves in the eyes of the world. If they give up their sin, their purposes are no longer served. If Judas had ceased from his sinful ways of covetousness, he would not have been as rich. If Diotrephes had ceased from loving the preeminence, he would lose his power and prestige within the church. Yes, sin carries out purposes in the lives of individuals. Whatever harms their purposes, they refuse to accept, even if that is obedience to the will of God.
There is a proper way to live recorded in God’s Word. Sadly, many will not do this. They are much like the Jews of old. Jeremiah wrote of them in Jeremiah 6:16. “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” My friend, is this you? Are you refusing to walk properly with God? We exhort you to give up those things that keep you living properly. Do as the prophet Micah states in his prophetic work. In Micah 6:8, he writes: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to live mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”