In order to be a difference maker, we have to live differently. What exactly does it mean to live differently? It’s easy to see what we, as Americans, value and who we admire. Pick up any magazine, turn on your television, or ask a child what they want to be when they grow up. Our culture values success, fame, beauty, and wealth. We admire celebrities, athletes, and CEOs. We put movie stars on the covers of magazines, interview powerful business owners on talk shows, and want to be professional athletes when we grow up. Do these “American values” align with God’s values?
As Christians, our values should be different than the values of the world. One of the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus with this question in the book of Matthew:
36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
The form of the word “love” used in these verses is significant. This form, “agape,” doesn’t refer to romantic love or close friendship, rather it refers to faithfulness, commitment, and action. This type of love has less to do with emotion and more to do with doing.
How is Jesus’ answer different than what our culture says is important?
Dorothy Day, a journalist and social activist used to say, “We should live in such a way that our lives wouldn’t make much sense if the gospel were not true.”
This is a tough concept to embrace sometimes. If you are truly honest with yourself, are you excited about what matters most to God, or are you excited about what matters most to the world? It’s easy and tempting to love money, success, beauty, and fame, but none of these things matter in heaven.
Thinking about heaven should influence our perspective on everything. A new perspective is exactly what we need to make a difference in this world.
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
What worldly values do you struggle with the most?
What part of your lifestyle needs to be more “heaven focused” and less “world focused”?
Would your lifestyle make sense if the gospel weren’t true?
Think about your answers to the questions above. Create one actionable goal (give more, serve more, love more) to make your values align with God’s values.
God, thank you for placing the desire for heaven in my heart. Please help me to stay focused on the things that matter to you and not the things that matter to this world. Please help me to focus on eternity and not my desires of the moment. Show me how I can practice agape love to those around me. Amen.
This post was written by Meghan Yarnell. Meghan is an art teacher and artist. She is married and has a son and daughter.
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