There should be a huge difference between a Christian and someone in the world!
Ephesians 2:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
As believers, we have been made alive in Christ but we were dead in our trespasses and sins. In other words, there’s a huge difference between the believer and unbeliever (the Christian and non-Christian) and it’s not just talking about a ticket to heaven! This is a matter of death and life; there’s a difference between a plastic rose and a living rose bush. There’s a difference between a real pizza slice and a plastic pizza slice. There’s a difference between a corpse and a living person. There is a difference between life and death. As believers, we were dead in our trespasses and sin but now we’re alive and we’re no longer in our trespasses and sin because Jesus has made us alive! There should be a difference between a believer and unbeliever because there is a difference between life and death! We’re in this world but not of it. We shouldn’t operate as the world does! We don’t need to try and be like them or copy everything that they do. We shouldn’t act like the world nor suffer as the world does. We should live by a higher reality.
Romans 12:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
As believers, we should be living our lives in total surrender to God. Yes, you’re a Christian, this passage is written to the “brethren” and yet Paul is calling us, Christians, to live lives surrendered to God. By implication, that means that it is possible to be a Christian and not be living a life surrendered to God. There are Christian who aren’t living lives of worship to Jesus.
Romans 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
One of the ways in which we live in surrender to God is to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This is saying that we shouldn’t live according to the world’s ways; we should be living according to God’s word. If you’re not being transformed by the renewing of your mind by changing your way of thinking, then you will eventually be conformed to the pattern of this world. If you’re not actively choosing to think and live according to God’s Word, then you will default to living according to the pattern of this world. God’s pattern and the world’s pattern are completely different.
If we live according to God’s pattern, then we will experience His goodness in this life (Psalm 27:13). In what’s known as the Lord’s prayer, Jesus said: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) In other words, God’s will is that the earth would operate like heaven.
So, what does it mean to live like a believer? We’re talking about the normal Christian life. The majority of Christians in the world are not living the normal Christian life and that’s why the church is not making the impact that we should make in the world! If Christians started to live the normal Christian life (which is different from the way that the world lives) we would start to see greater manifestations of God’s goodness.
Matthew 6:33 New King James Version (NKJV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Living the normal Christian life means that we’ve got God’s priorities; we’re putting God first in everything. God first in the marketplace, in our homes and in our careers; God first, not money or comfort! We’re not seeking after money we’re not seeking after a more comfortable life but we are seeking after what God is seeking. If we want to live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us (the normal Christian life) and experience complete and total victory then we have to realize that it starts with prioritizing God and what He prioritizes. It’s about seeking first the Kingdom of God! Many people have made the gospel into something which is just for one day when you die, but it’s also for the now! Many people have made the gospel into something self-centred where it’s just about health, wealth and happiness. And yes, I teach on how to be happy, I teach on how God wants you well and I teach that God wants to prosper you, but that’s not a self-centred gospel that I’m preaching. Many people make it into a self-centred gospel where it’s all about you but that is not going to lead you to the abundant Christ-life! God wants to bless you so that you can be a blessing – that’s the gospel! He desires to bless you but for a purpose – but you are not the only purpose; you’re part of the purpose.
Genesis 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
The purpose of being blessed is to be a blessing! The purpose of experiencing and living the abundant life is so that other people will be impacted by our lives! In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus calls us the light and salt of the earth. We are here to be salt and light in the world – that’s living like a believer! It’s living a life of influence; living a life that glorifies God and positively impacts other people’s lives.