4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!— Philippians 4:4 NLT
Philippians 4:4-9 NLT If you spend any time talking with non-Christians about Jesus and why they have not accepted Him as their Savior, you soon learn that their views on Jesus are not the primary reason for not accepting Him. It is their view of what they think Christianity is and what it requires them to do or not do. They have this idea that Christians have little or no fun and that to be a Christian, they are going to have to completely change their lifestyle. There will be some changes required. For some, it will be a very dramatic change. For others, it will only be a change in their mindset about why they do the good things they have been doing. The “good” ones are usually the hardest ones to convince that they need a Savior. Back to the point. Have we ever considered where the outsiders get this view that Christians must live a dull, joyless life? Since most of them don’t spend much time, if any, reading the Bible, they get it from watching us and listening to our conversations. Do we show them that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” or do they see us as sad, beaten down people who are forced to stay home on Saturday night so we can go to church on Sunday morning? Is our lifestyle a good advertisement for Jesus or does it turn others away from seeking Him? Think about it.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
13 For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. 15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.–1 Peter 2:13-17 (NLT)
As Christians, we are to follow all the laws of our land as long as they are not immoral or cause us to deny our faith. When we are speeding down the expressway and we see a cop, we get a little nervous, and we should. The law enforcement officers are agents of the government to punish us when we do wrong. But that same action should cause us, as Christians, to be ashamed because we have dishonored our Father. We should live the kind of lifestyle that pleases our Father and then we won’t need to be fearful or ashamed. Outsiders will not be able to speak evil of our Lord because of what we have done. The world watches us closely to see if our walk is up to our talk. If it isn’t, we cause others to shy away from Christianity instead of wanting to be a part of God’s family. We should never use our liberty and freedom in Christ to hurt others. We must respect and love others. If we fear God, we will respect all those He has raised up in authority over us. For us, as Christians, it is completely possible to value all human beings without embracing their values.