Recently, I wrote on the theme of living lives that have the aroma of Jesus before a watching world. We learned three things:
- A broken world needs the fragrant aroma of Jesus, which they will only see in our lives.
- It happens through God’s work in our hearts, from the inside out.
- This change depends less on our hard work and effort and more on our connection to God—an everyday connection through the Scriptures and prayer.
With a strong emphasis on grace and the gospel, it could be easy to assume that obedience to God and how we live is inconsequential to the Christian life. The apostle Paul was constantly encouraging the new believers in cities all over the known world to live in a way that reflected the impact of Jesus on their lives. Once, from prison, he wrote this to young believers in Ephesus:
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel …. (Philippians 1:27, emphasis added)
What does it mean to live a life “worthy of the gospel”? Paul goes on to describe that kind of life in Philippians chapter 2 (humble, servant-hearted, Christ-centered, . . .).
The good news of the gospel of Jesus will produce a lifestyle that is noteworthy in a broken world—lives that are worthy of being associated with Jesus and His work of grace.
How we live doesn’t earn us merit with God, but how we live does matter, as a changed life will look different than what our broken world produces.
Paul puts it this way: … for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light … (Ephesians 5:8).
Is there an area of your life where you would like to see God help you to live in a way more consistent with the gospel? Tell Him, … and ask for His help. He longs to walk with you into a new way of living.
One of the metaphors Paul used to describe the changed life of a believer is the metaphor of clothing. Check my next post for more on that …the beginning of a short series in Colossians 3.