Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NLT)
As I was studying this week, I came across a very simple verse. I feel compelled to share it amid another round of boiling controversy in our country. First John 2:6 simply says, “whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” Simple, yet challenging. Simple, in that it summarizes our role as Christians in one sentence; be like Jesus. Challenging, because we, honestly, are not much like Jesus even on our best days. Furthermore, if we are even more honest, we don’t want to do many of the things Jesus did because they are not our preference or don’t fit with our world view. Nonetheless, if we believe scripture, we are to strive to live the way Christ lived, which requires us to look at some specific, consistent behaviors of Jesus in hopes of applying them to our lives.
So, what did Jesus do? Jesus respected earthly authority even though he was The Authority. Think Matthew 22, when Jesus tells the crowds to pay their taxes and give to the Lord, even though Jesus disagreed with much of the Roman government’s tactics and stances. Paul, in Romans 13, adds to this idea by telling us not only to show respect to our leaders, but also to pray for them…all of them. While Jesus taught respect for authority, he also challenged authority when sin or injustice was involved. He consistently challenged the Pharisees, the Jewish religious leaders, on a plethora of issues relating to the perversion of God’s word.
Next, Jesus actively and consistently worked to help those in need. He healed those in need and encouraged His followers to bless anyone they could. Moreover, Jesus peacefully protested. When a woman was caught in adultery and had been brought out to be stoned to death, He said very little and ended up writing in the sand while the crowd walked away, realizing none of them had the right to cast the first stone. Jesus healed on the Sabbath to protest the incorrect limits placed on that day by the Pharisees and, ultimately, Jesus died and was resurrected peacefully protesting (and ending) the power of sin and death.
Finally, and most importantly, Jesus loved. How will people know we are Christians? By our social media posts or Facebook rants or proving our opinion? Nope. John 13:34-35 (NLT) recounts Jesus’ instructions: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
So how does this practically play out in our lives? First, use social media to unite, encourage, and fully display a Christ-like life. That doesn’t mean posting only cheesy Christian images, it means posting as a person attempting to glorify Christ. Second, be careful how much weight we give to the opinions of celebrities…or anyone. Let’s think for ourselves, research for ourselves, and maybe even take time to see what the Bible says about a topic before giving our opinion. Third, go DO something. Let’s not be a people who sit around and have opinions, let’s be a people who make the world a better place through our actions. If you want more on this read James 2. Finally, do everything with love. Colossians 3:17 says it concisely, “and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” My prayer for us this week is that we can do better than our cultural norms, that we can apply 1 John 2:6 in our lives.