We consider ourselves “good people” who attend “good churches” and abstain from “big sins,” but we also have a deep sense that the Christian life is about more than our current experience. We pursue good things—such as family, generosity, and integrity—but in pursuing these things, we often find ourselves looking just like unbelievers who are also committed to these good pursuits.
We’re called to be more than just good. We’re called to be different, set apart.
I once asked a group of Christian CEOs to compare their lives to their unbelieving counterparts. These men love their families, are integrity-driven in the marketplace God has called them to, and generously give resources to global ministry work ... but so do many of the unbelievers I know.
So, what’s the difference?
The values I discussed with these CEOs are not distinct to Christianity. Most all religions are committed to those values. Even atheists speak of their commitment to do good works and help other people.
The difference lies in the Holy Spirit dwelling in believers’ hearts and their divine call to be light and salt in the world, making unbelievers thirsty for the One who quenches the soul’s thirst for all eternity. This is what truly sets us apart from the rest of the world.
Christians should be looking to differentiate themselves, much like companies seek to uniquely establish their brands in a crowded marketplace. We, too, need a unique purpose and value.
Successful brands communicate the following traits:
- Influence: the impact on those around us and the culture
- Trust: the level of believability
- Aspiration: making people desire a life that the brand represents
- Authenticity: a personal appeal to ideal customers
As believers, we have been called to live with the brand of grace and truth. Grace is the driving agenda of our lives as we relate to others because the living God has been gracious to each of us.
But there is another factor we are also called to: truth. If the Jesus of the Bible lives in us, and the Bible teaches us that Jesus was "full of grace and truth," our attitudes should be full of grace and our words and lifestyles should be full of truth (John 1:14).
Jesus stated, “I tell you the truth,” many times in the Gospel according to John. He did not do so to make our lives difficult by the accompanying statements. He did so to fill us with lasting achievement, abundant life, and ultimate meaning.
Life for the Christian is about learning how Jesus’ unchanging truth plays out in our ever-changing culture. When we trust Him and act in obedience to His Word, there will be long-term blessing because He alone promises to give mankind abundant and everlasting life through obedience to the truth He has spoken.
He, as our Creator, knows what we, as His creation, ultimately need.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.