How do Christians live Successfully for Jesus in a World of Grey?

Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.  – 1st John 2:4 NIV

Okay, so. 

For the last two thousand years the standard definition of a Christian has remained pretty fixed.  A Christian was and still is “a person who has dedicated their life to following the person and teachings of Jesus Christ”. That said, figuring out what the Christian life ought to “look like” in our world is not as simple or cut-and-dried as it once was. The twenty-first century is a weird world of grey where everything is constantly being redefined and questioned.  No one seems to know what makes a man a man or woman a woman anymore and our culture’s current definition of love looks nothing like it did just a few years ago.  Complicating matters further “Christian Influencers” have replaced previously accepted role models like local Bible study leaders and many pastors have become a product designed to “sell” church attendance.


All this change has made it difficult to know how to live in a way that fulfills the mission of Christianity and pleases Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).  I believe there are some rock solid should’s and shouldn’ts laid out for us in Scripture. If we follow these commands they will empower us to live the Christian life successfully in even the greyest of grey area situations.

Christians should-

 Judge occasionally-

 The notion that Christians should never judge anyone for anything is a misunderstanding of a command Jesus gave in Matthew 7:1-2. It is true Christians are simply not qualified to judge whether or not another person is worthy of forgiveness or heaven, that’s always God’s call to make (Matthew 7:2, Luke 6:37). That being said, Scripture calls God’s people to make judgments about all kinds of moral issues (Luke 12:57, John 4:18-20, 1st Corinthians 5:12). Anytime we stop judging the actions of ourselves and others we quickly devolve to an ugly reality where everyone does “what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25). When that happens, moral chaos becomes the new normal and we forfeit our power to influence others in a healthy way (Matthew 5:13). The key to judging in a way that honors God and other people is to judge our own actions and attitudes at least as harshly as we judge other peoples actions and attitudes. It is also imperative we remember God can change anyone, even the foulest sinner. We should always be rooting for heart change in others because Christian love always hopes for the best outcome in other people (1st Corinthians 13:6)

Love People-

 Okay, so, I get this is kind of the definition of low-hanging fruit. Even heathens understand love is the defining mark of a Christ-follower (John 13:34-35). However, truth-be-told Christian love is more complex than just being nice and accepting. Christian love protects, encourages and believes the best in others but it also cautions, corrects and even rebukes when needed (1st Corinthians 4:14-20, 1st Thessalonians 5:14).  Jesus loved the Pharisees enough to die for them but that didn’t stop Him from warning them of the consequences they would encounter if they continued to live in opposition to the will of God (Luke 11:11-53).  If we really want to love like Jesus loved we have to embrace every aspect of Christian love—not just the parts and pieces that make us feel comfortable and the world happy. 

Do good-

 Christians are commanded in Scripture to “do good” (Galatians 6:9, 2nd Thessalonians 3: 13, Titus 1:6, Titus 2:7, 1st Peter 2:12). The specifics of “doing good” are left somewhat up to the discretion of each individual Christian. In the New Testament “doing good” always involved helping people, providing for the less fortunate and avoiding sin. Doing good is not about being “the next big thing” or “a big deal” in the Church. It’s about doing what God called you to do to the best of your ability right where He put you. 

Tell the truth-

 Christians shouldn’t lie. We all get that (or we should). But telling the truth goes above and beyond simply not lying.  It also means we live our lives openly and we fight the human tendency to compartmentalize and hide our sin rather than confess and repent (Matthew 3:8, James 5:16).   

 Obey Jesus-

  Obedience is a mark of an authentic Christian (John 14:23-24). When we obey Jesus we love people, hate sin, tell the truth and honor God. If we would all just do our best to obey Jesus most problems we have in the body of Christ would be a nonissue.

Christians should not-

 Mess with the word of God-

 Contrary to popular opinion not every biblical issue is always black and white, there are some grey areas. It’s reasonable for Christians to debate (among other things) how often to take communion, the role of women in the church (Judges 4-5, Romans 16:1), whether or not Christians should use alcohol and exactly how political a church ought to be.  However, most issues hotly debated today (homosexuality, premarital sex, gender issues, adultery) were settled long ago and should be treated that way.  

 Hate people-

 This one is easier in theory than in practice. (Matthew 10:22).  This is especially true when we are hated, openly mocked and persecuted just for loving Jesus.  Nonetheless, our calling is clear: Jesus wants us to love those who hate us and to do good to people who hate us (Luke 6:27-28). It is simply impossible for anyone to obey this command in their own power. It can only be accomplished through the emboldening and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit (2nd Corinthians 12:8-10)

 Christians who wish to make a difference in this world never shy away from the calling we all have to repent and be constantly transformed into the image of Jesus even if that means being a little less popular and successful by worldly standards.

One thought on “How do Christians live Successfully for Jesus in a World of Grey?

  1. Through it all, we must give God the praise, honor, and glory for every success & mastery of every godly trait in our lives. The minute we take credit we deny God His honor.

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