"So what you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God"(1 Corinthians 10:31)
We have learned about some of the principles of Christianity. Here we will study about the life of a Christian, in other words, how we should live as Christians. This is a practical thing that we can be interested in. There are many things that we have to know. First of all, we would like to introduce three important things: They are a life of trust, a life of obedience, and a life of moderation.
Jesus said to all the poor people, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you est"(Matthew 11:28).
Therefore those who want to live peacefully getting out of their miserable lives have to meet Jesus, and listen to His teachings.
And He said, "Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me"(John 14:1). Our lives are full of worry and anxiety, but Jesus told us not to worry about the earthly things.
How can we get rid of our worries? We can do it by trusting God. The apostle Peter mentioned,
"Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you"(1 Peter 5:7). Caring means taking care of everything. Peter taught his followers this through his own experience. If we can be sure that God loves us, that God knows all our needs and God cares for us, then we can get rid of our worries and anxieties.
Jesus said to His disciples, "I tell you the truth. Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven"(Matthew 18:3). It means not only that we have to be honest, pure and modest like children but also that we have to depend on Him like children do on their parents.
Children can go anywhere with their parents without any doubt. Like this, we also have to cast all our difficulties on Him and trust His care.
Jesus also said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. So do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat' or 'what shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all those things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own"(Matthew 7:25-33). Therefore, true Christians shouldn't be focused on the things they need for their daily lives such as clothes, food and shelter. We have to try to seek only His kingdom and His righteousness. Because God has already fulfilled all our needs and we can experience His allowance in our lives.
A life of trust is deeply related to a life of prayer. Those who trust God never stop praying. Prayer is breathing in Christian life. We can't continue our Christian lives without prayer just as we can't live without breathing. Contemplation and prayer are conversations with God. We talk to our Father about our conditions and get His will and plan for us when we pray.
The apostle Paul said the following to his followers to emphasize the importance of prayer, "Pray continually"(1 Thessalonians 5:17), Jesus also said, "Ask and it will be given to you seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened"(Matthew 7:7,8) A person who seeks sincerely will get the answers from God. George Muller from England brought up 5,200 orphans in his 3 orphanages and educated 60,000 students. And he also gave 600,000 Bible books and 6,000 papers to people to spread the gospel. He actually had nothing-everything was done through his prayers.
Prayer has really great power. But what is the right way to pray?
The second important thing for Christians is obedience. Although the teaching of Bible is really great, if we don't obey it, it's useless. If a patient whose sickness is serious gets a doctor's examination but doesn't take his medication, he can't be healed.
Obedience is the same thing to Christians. A person who is sinful has to take the teaching of Bible as his healing method and follow the instructions.
There is nothing but the teaching of Bible; any other medicine is useless to him. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven"(Matthew 7:21). Obedience is so precious. A lot of people will say on the Day of His coming, "'Lord, Lord', did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?"(Matthew 7:22) But they didn't obey so Jesus will say, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"(Matthew 7:23). Evildoer means a person who doesn't obey and doesn't keep His commandments.
If this terrible thing happens to those who always say 'Lord, Lord', how miserable it is!
There are many people who seem to have good characters and great personalities. Or some people are loved and flattered by other people. But God doesn't think of them as good persons if they don't obey what the Bible says. True faith doesn't mean a religious attitude or feeling. It means obeying the will of God. If a person knows the Bible and its theology very well and deeply but he doesn't obey, it can't be said that he truly knows God.
"We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, 'I know him' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him"(1 John 2:3-5). Therefore a true Christian is a person who keeps the word of God, in whom the love of God is complete. Christianity is not a religion of theory and philosophy but a religion of action.
Some people think that they can be saved if they believe in God despite living in sin. But they can never be saved if they don't have the experience of rebirth and change of their characters as true Christians.
Jesus said, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love"(John 15: 10). and the apostle Paul also said "And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!"(Philippians 2:8).
Jesus was a perfect model of being obedient to the commandments. So we have to obey our God as His Son did. Freedom of human is not absolute. Only a person who is living in God's love can enjoy it. Consequently, what supports our obedience is reading the Bible. When we read the Bible, the love of Jesus makes our hearts soft and beautiful to obey His word.
It is important to read the Bible from the beginning, but if you are a beginner, it is also very good and helpful to read Psalms, Proverbs, John and Matthew first.
Let's think about moderation. It includes so many things; moderation of mind, moderation of body, moderation of life style, moderation of time, moderation of money. Life without moderation is so dangerous it's like a car without brakes. So we have to know how to control our bodies and minds. This is the lifestyle of real Christians. The apostle Paul said, "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever"(1 Corinthians 9:25). The people who compete to get a crown that will not last are training to improve their bodies. So, isn't it natural that we have to train harder than them? Because we want to control our minds. Solomon said, "better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city"(Proverbs 16:32).
He is really better than a warrior, if he can control his temper and suppress his own desire. Using self-control when feeling laziness, suppressing passions when being tempted by enticements-these are really good examples of moderation. It seems trivial, but God considers it much bigger than the work of success of a general. Paul said; "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. You were brought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body"(1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Our bodies belong to God and the Holy Spirit stays in them. Therefore we can't dissolute for our desires. We should use our bodies to make God, our owner glorious and happy. And we should keep our mind clear and our bodies clean. By this, we can improve ourselves as true Christians.
The Christian should be very careful to be healthy. The secret of good health is moderation. Our daily lives should be controlled regularly. Food is the key to a healthy life. So, we should keep away from food that is bad for our bodies.
In the beginning, the food that God prepared for us was plants not flesh.
"I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food"(Genesis 1:29).
He gave us vegetables, fruits and grains as ideal plants. Nothing has changed. Eating animals started after the flood of Noah. But it quickened people's tempers and shortened their lives. Animals have many poisons that affect one's health. Therefore God forbid them to eat animals, especially detrimental and poisonous ones. In Leviticus 11, God said we can eat the clean animals such as cows, lambs, goats and deer and so on but we must not eat unclean ones such as pigs, rabbits and camels. Of all the creatures living in the water, we can eat only the things that have fins and scales. These are the birds that we can eat; doves, pheasants, quails and sparrows. They eat crops. He said the birds that eat meat like the kite, raven, owl and heron are unclean. And rats and bats are also clean. Dogs are one of the unclean things. And liquor, cigarettes, drugs, coffee and tea make people addicted to them. They have a bad influence on our brains, hearts and kidneys. Especially smoking which is a cause of lung cancer so we must be very careful with it.
Though we know that we must have temperate living in eating and drinking. Sometimes it's hard to do. For instance, we can't stop drinking and smoking. Why? It is difficult to stop with our own strength. It is possible only when we are ruled by the power of Jesus.
The apostle Paul said, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength"(Philippians 4:13). Therefore the only method that makes us succeed in our Christian lives is to trust Jesus and to get His power. We can get it only when we pray and study the Bible earnestly.