“As Christians, we need to live our lives in a way that demands explanation.”
Let that statement sink in for a moment. It comes with several implications. The first is that other people pay close attention to how we live our lives. Why do you think reality TV shows are so popular? We are curious about other people. You can bet that you are being watched. Anyone who has been a Christian for a while can attest to this. One of the main reasons people are reluctant to even say they are Christians is because most people think that Christians are hypocrites. The second implication is that we should be different from everyone else; so different in fact that it causes people to take a second look at us. Maybe their jaws drop and they do a double take.
So does your life demand an explanation? Are there things about you that cause people to question you? Are you so radically different from everyone and everything around you that it causes others to wonder why? Do you go against the flow? Or do you simply blend in with the crowd, wear your cross necklace, maybe try and be kind to everyone you meet and say “God Bless America?” Are you mired in mediocrity? Does anyone even know you are a Christian?
We are called to be different. Romans 12:2 says “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed…” Jesus says we are to be salt and light adding flavor and illuminating the truth. Peter says we are aliens and strangers here. Hebrews says this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. We should be different for although we live here on earth our citizenship is in Heaven.
Think about this: If you were dropped off in the middle of a country to which you had never traveled, you had no idea of the language, customs or culture, you had never tasted the food and didn’t know where anything is, would you need to explain some things to the people there? They would notice something different about you. So it should be with us.
We seem to have this misconception about what the Christian life should be. We mistakenly think that because we live in America, a “Christian” nation where most people profess a belief in God, that we are living as we should be. I propose to you that there is a huge difference between being a Christian and being one who follows Christ. Many of the Christians I know are content to be merely saved from hell. They know just enough to get them in the door of heaven. And yet their lives are virtually indistinguishable from the world around them. Christians are merely saved from Hell; Christ-followers enter into a world at war. Christians may get by; Christ-followers must sacrifice, take up their cross and follow Him. And when we follow Him, He will lead us to do some strange things and make some crazy choices.
Therein lies the demand for an explanation. When we follow Jesus as He commands us to, we tend to stick out from the crowd. We have to make crazy choices that tend to brand us as different. We make sacrifices that affect our personal comfort for the well being of others. We look at things from an eternal perspective rather than a temporal one. We change from the selfish position of “what can this world do for me?” to “what impact can I make on this world?” We look at people not as a means to an end, but as individuals desperate for a loving touch, the voice of hope, and a genuine sincerity. We show them through our lives that there is something different within us, something that has been placed there by God alone. We are new creations, we are transformed, and we are different.
It may be painful and difficult at times, this explaining and defending yourself. It may seem to be too hard or not worth it. But as for me, I will joyfully explain myself here to the people I meet, rather than have to attempt to defend myself before the Throne of God. I know that I will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” not “Depart from Me, for I never knew you.”
When it is all said and done, I want my life and my legacy to speak louder than any words I have spoken, or any words I have written. I want to be different and thereby make a difference in the lives of others. I want to point people to Jesus, not be a stumbling block to their faith.
In the end, I want to have lived a life that demanded an explanation, because without Christ, it will have made no sense.