Living Right in a World Gone Wrong

By Dr. Jack Graham

Looking to 2016, I want to give you, men and women of God, a word of encouragement for the new year. As lovers of God, you and I are expected to live black-and-white lives in a very gray world. We are expected to uphold the banner of truth, even as lies swirl all around. We are expected to administer things like kindness and love and grace, while anger and vitriol are often doled out in return. And while these expectations may seem too high—too lofty—for everyday folks such as you and me, I promise you we are up to the task with the power of God’s Spirit working in our hearts.

As we begin another new year, I want to give you the image of a three-legged stool as you seek to live rightly in a wrong world. What follows are the legs of that stool that, when equally tended to, will keep you in beautiful balance.

Think Scripturally

First, think scripturally. Many Christians do not know their Bibles and are therefore vulnerable to attacks from our Enemy, who seeks to destroy our very lives. Refuse to live this way! Read your Bible. Know what you believe. Know why you believe what you believe. And defend that truth every day of your life.

Live Purely

Second, live purely. God says in His Word, “Be holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16), and it ought to be our daily goal to pursue godliness, holiness and truth. We have the Spirit of Holy God living inside of us, enabling us to practice a lifestyle that is pleasing to God. Let’s choose that lifestyle, shall we? Let’s abandon the practice of inching closer and closer to the cultural fire, thinking, “Hmmm … I wonder if I’ll get burned.”

Let’s maintain an innocence about sin and its consequences—not naiveté, mind you, but a certain innocence that says, “I’ve not been contaminated by this world.” Let’s choose purity—of thought, of word, of deed. Let’s honor God with the days of our lives.

Love Generously

Finally, love generously. We overcome evil with good, my friend. We overcome darkness with light. And we overcome apathy in all its awful forms with generous helpings of love. We may not be able to change Washington, D.C., overnight. We may not even be able to change dysfunctional dynamics in our own home overnight. But we can choose today to love well. Say a loving word. Extend a loving hand. Offer a loving gesture. Be known for your great love. As you love others, you show them the love of our Father. As you care deeply, you show them He cares.

Dr. Jack Graham serves as Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest and most dynamic churches in the country.