Principle 1: Humility and Fasting
The very essence of following Christ is to imitate Him in His humility. Though He was God Himself, He set aside his power and glory to become part of the creation. He went still further and became willing to be treated like a criminal and die on the cross for humanity’s sins. Jesus exemplified a humble life, which every Christian is to emulate. Moreover, pride is the opposite of humility, and we know from the Scriptures that God judges and actively opposes the proud (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). It’s an awesome reality to be opposed by the God of the Universe, yet that is where many stand. Not just non-Christians, but proud Christians can expect the opposition of the God of heaven and earth. The admonitions to be humble in Philippians, James and 1 Peter are all written to a Christian audience, not non-Christians.
Principle 2: Fervent and Frequent Prayer
The typical prayer life of the first-century Christian and the average Christian in Asia or Africa is markedly different from that of the Christian in America and Europe. Of course, there are exceptions, but by and large, there is little to no dedication to regular prayer among Christians in the West. Epaphras (Colossians 4:12, 13) shows us that without consistent, dedicated prayer you can count on significantly less happening in the lives of your loved ones and in the world at large. The Scriptures admonish us to pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Principle 3: Taking in the Word
Similar to the discipline of prayer two or three times a day is the discipline of taking in the Word of God. The Scriptures need to be meditated upon, read, or heard two or more times per day (Deut 6:4-9, Josh 1:8) so that we can know and do the will of God. Every day, pious Jews in the first century would recite from memory a few passages from Deuteronomy and Numbers (called the Shema). They would also read the Scriptures to each other, recite from memory various passages, and mediate on the word of God. This became the practice of Christians as well.
In the Bible, “word of God” refers to the Scriptures, but not exclusively to the Scriptures. The word of God also comes in other ways.
Principle 4: Repentance
The Lord loves and draws near to all who repent of their sins, because repentance delights God’s heart like little else. Luke tells us that there is extraordinary joy in heaven when sinners repent and turn to God (Luke 15:10). God yearns and deeply desires to show mercy and give blessing, but often He will only do so when He sees genuine repentance in people’s lives. Ezekiel 18:31, 32 says, “Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!”
Principle 5: Obedience
The flip side to repentance is obedience, and authentic repentance always leads to obedience. Repentance is looking to the past concerning sins and acknowledging what needs to be brought before God. Obedience is daily walking in holiness and surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord. God delights and draws close to those who live righteous lives.
Every culture has characteristics that reinforce and commend the eternal commands of God and yet also has values that are contrary to the will of God, which need to be brought into alignment with Him. American culture in the 21st century has much going for it, including a strong value on racial tolerance, faithful stewardship of the environment, and caring for the poor. It doesn’t mean that all of these social conditions are as they should be, but in general, society values what God values in these areas. On the other hand, there are current American values that stand in stark contrast to the ways of God, and it is the duty of Christians to faithfully reject cultural norms and adopt God’s values. Faithfully walking with God even when this brings one in conflict with the surrounding culture exemplifies a righteous and holy life, and God loves the righteous and draws close to them.
In the category of s3xual integrity, American culture has strayed far away from the Biblical norms it once embraced.
- Culled from dayandnight.org
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