Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.
The proverbial list is a big deal for many people. It is for me. Yet it is lists like the one beginning the passage above that often trips me up because I thought for years that being a “good Christian” meant doing the right stuff.
Just doing the right stuff doesn’t make us more or less a Christian. In fact being a Christian is based on what Jesus did for us that we could not do for ourselves. We can only be good so long before messing up, but Jesus was perfect. He took on our imperfect, our sin, shame and guilt, placing it on the cross, and He died for our sin.
That is why we can take a list, like the one is these verses, and apply them. Because Jesus did for me and what He did sticks, I can stand up and choose what is right.
A couple of these things aren’t easy, yet right choices breed great good in our lives. Yes, that means that poor choice bring tough consequences in our lives. Take a closer look.
Hold tight to Biblical truth.
Notice anything different about this list? Often list are dos and don’ts. This is such a list, but there is a qualifier at the start.
It says so you won’t be criticized. Turn that around a bit. So others will see God. Our actions or our inaction will point people in certain directions.
Don’t just choose to do right so you can look right. Choose to do what is right so others will see God. Live in such a way that people want to know why you are different. Hold to truth that goes past the law.
Matthew 5:16 NLT
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.