“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” [Matthew 6:33]

When you think about a devout Christian, how do you picture them? When I consider that question I try to think about any one I have known that lived with Christ as the center of their life. Several people come to mind, but the one I knew the best was my mother. I have said this about her [and some other folks], “If everyone in the world loved Jesus as my mother did, we could have heaven on earth.” Think about what heaven is. It is a place full of souls that love Jesus.

What is a Christian lifestyle?

Consider Susan Padezanin’s ideas expressed in “What Is A Christian Lifestyle?”

“A Christian lifestyle is a way of living every moment of our lives with Jesus Christ at the very center of our lives. It is easy to say, but difficult to do. We cannot put Christ at the very center without denying ourselves, putting aside some of our own inclinations and desires. Most of us rank our family most important. As important as our family is, it cannot be the center of our lives. Jesus Christ must occupy that position. Jesus made harsh comments about people putting family ahead of the kingdom of God. This was done to help us realize that we are able to love our family more genuinely with a Christ-like love. Putting Christ first enables us to do that far more effectively and selflessly than ever before.

A Christian lifestyle is one that sees each person as a sister or brother in Christ. It is a lifestyle in which prejudices, generalizations, stereotypes, and labels disappear. We are freed by the grace of God, to see each person as a unique child of God who is loved, sustained and redeemed by God and worthy of a place in eternity. People of all races, nationalities, economic backgrounds, educational levels, and geographic areas will greet us when we come into eternity with Christ. If we choose to live a Christian lifestyle, and we must if we are to belong to Jesus Christ, then we must love and serve as freely, as openly, and without exception as He. This life is one in which values, decisions, and choices reflect the presence of Christ. Some decisions are clearly right or wrong, clearly in accord with the way of Christ or clearly contrary to the will of the Lord.”

We need to ask ourselves, “Are we living a Christian lifestyle?” “Is Christ at the center of all we do?” “Do we “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” before we make any decisions or pursue any activities?” I wish I could answer that with a definite “yes”, but I know me better than that. I still hold on to the illusion that I have control over things. As many times as God has proved to me that it is He, not I, that is in control, you would think I would know by now. Alas, I continue to struggle instead of letting Him have it all. But on the days that I surrender there is a sweet, wonderful peace. I pray for the day I finally learn. And once I do, then I can say I am living the Christian way. Then I will allow Father God to lead me to love my neighbor as myself, overcome my selfishness and display the joyful hope that a saved-by-the-blood-of-Christ Christian should show.

I will conclude with this from Susan Padezanin:

“And the Christian lifestyle is a lifestyle of hope. Hope is not a Christmas wish or an empty longing for something far away. Christian hope is the confidence that we shall one day fully claim God’s promises that are made through Jesus Christ and revealed in the Scriptures. As Christians, we can talk a lot about our Christian faith. We can recite our beliefs. We can quote Scripture and discuss the details of Wesley’s theology. We can practice all kinds of spiritual disciplines and set aside an hour each day for personal devotions. But, unless our daily walk reflects our faith, unless others can see Christ in our lives wherever we are or whatever we are doing, unless what we do matches exactly what we say, then we are surely nothing more than a ‘sheep in wolf’s clothing.’”

– Dr. Sam Smith is the organizer of Butterfly Ministry and can be reached via email at ssmithkate@aol.com.