But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,[a] a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” 11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. -1 Peter 2:9-12 NLT
As a Christian, you are set apart from nonbelievers. You are called to walk the straight, narrow path that doesn’t allow for detours, and you’re held to a higher standard—God’s. Your Father doesn’t expect you to be perfect, but He does expect you to become more Christlike as you grow in faith. It’s easy to be a good Christian when you’re at church, but is your faith apparent everywhere else? When you’re dealing with an angry customer or a truant child? While you’re shopping for groceries and driving your car?
Plato, arguably one of the greatest philosophers who ever lived, was a student of Socrates and a teacher of Aristotle. He lived long before Jesus was born, yet he wisely counseled, “When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.” For various reasons, nonbelievers and even fellow Christians will come against you when you choose to live as God commands. People will criticize you, judge you, and accuse you of this or that: being a hypocrite, a prude, or a pushover perhaps, or, worse, believing you’re better than everyone else. But know that if your heart is pure and you choose to abstain from the sin that others actively pursue, you’re in good standing with God, and that’s all that matters.
Your refusal to “conform to the pattern of this world” (Romans 12:2)—with all of its glittery temptations, traps, and pitfalls—is pleasing to your Father in heaven. Remember who you are and whom you serve. Actions always speak louder than words. Continue to walk right alongside the Lord, quietly and humbly. When even your harshest critics see that you won’t be rattled, shaken, or dissuaded from living for God, they’ll have nothing left to say. And maybe along the way, a few hearts will be softened and a few more disciples will be baptized because of the example you set. Nothing will please your Creator more.
Pray to become more Christlike as you grow in faith.
Pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).
With content direction and final edits made by Bayside's discipleship and creative teams.
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