Recently, the young adult pastor who leads the SE7EN Ministry at my church gave a stirring message regarding the importance of living a holy lifestyle to glorify God and draw the lost into the body of Christ. While I have heard similar sermons from men and women of God before, there was something particularly unique and efficacious about the word Pastor Anthony Gause gave this past Tuesday night. In talking to all the young adults about putting God first in order to draw others to Him, Anthony centered his message around a powerful passage: Colossians 3:1-4. There, the apostle Paul informs his audience that if indeed they are risen with Christ, they should seek those things that are above rather than things on the earth. Paul goes on to state that believers are dead and that their real lives are hidden with Christ in God. This scripture really makes me think about the importance of living a Christ-centered life in which His perspective and principles-not secular ideologies-become integral to the things I say and do when interacting with individuals who do not know Him. As Anthony pointed out while preaching, worldly people will not be drawn to the kingdom of God when they observe believers whose lifestyles are essentially the same as theirs. This constitutes the sort of hypocrisy that makes people view Christianity as a meaningless religion rather than the replication of Christ on earth which it was designed to be. In discussing how we can begin leading the type of Christ-centered life Paul discusses in Colossians 3:1-4, Anthony talked about the importance of considering whether or not we are still operating in the flesh. If, for example, the desire to do God's will can be diminished by a potentially carnal desire-such as a house, car, or sexual intimacy outside of marriage-we are not really dead to our fallen nature. For this reason, Anthony admonished us to look towards the edict offered in Matthew 6:33. There, we learn about the importance of seeking first the kingdom of God. According to this scripture, doing so is the prerequisite to having all our needs met.
Although the advice Anthony gave regarding how to live a godly lifestyle to attract unbelievers to God's kingdom incorporates challenges, I am going to personally focus on continually crucifying my flesh so that I am better equipped to be a living testimony of Christ's personhood and principles. I look forward to seeing what God can do through me and any other obedient disciples who take my pastor's message to heart.
About the Author: Jocelyn Crawley is a 28-year-old college student currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree in preparation to become a pastor. While her writing interests are diverse, topics of intrigue include politics, history, literature, and religion. She holds B.A. degrees in English and Religious Studies. Her work has appeared in Jerry Jazz Musician, Nailpolish Stories, Visceral Uterus, Dead Beats, The Idiom, Thrice Fiction, Four and Twenty, Kalyani Magazine and Haggard and Halloo. Other stories are forthcoming in Faces of Feminism and Calliope. Visit her blog at www.jocelyncrawley.com for an interesting political slant.