The lifestyles of a number Christians seem to indicate that these people live their life without much concern as to how they may influence other people. This is contrary to New Testament teachings that Christians should live a holy lifestyle. And, when Christians live a holy lifestyle, they can have a positive influence on the lifestyles of not only other Christians, but also on the lifestyles of people who are not Christians. [For a discussion of holiness for Christians, click on “Can Anyone Except God Be Holy?”]
On page 10 of his article entitled “Backtrack: Correcting Our Course” in the September-October 2020 issue of the Christian periodic publication Zion’s Fire, Dan Hayden makes the following statements regarding lifestyles, although he does not specifically mention this term:
Today, personal character and integrity are passe. Selfishness has taken hold.
Our existentialism has encouraged us to simply go with the cultural flow. What does it matter that we’re going in the wrong direction? Well, if you don’t care where you end up, then go for it, and have as much fun as you can along the way.
Then, on page 13 of the same article, Hayden says,
What is the answer for religious people who have lost all sense of godliness? For [the apostle] Paul, the answer is obvious. You go to the source of truth, the one divinely authoritative voice in the world. You open the pages of the Bible.
In the early verses of 2 Timothy 3, Paul describes the perilous condition of the last-days society with no less than 19 sordid characteristics. . . . It was a description of the indulgent culture of the Roman Empire in Timothy’s day, but also an accurate reflection of our 21st century world. As it was then, so it is now – only worse. And there is only one thing that is able to meet this formidable challenge: The inspired Word of the living God.
Subsequently, on page 13, Hayden asserts,
People are generally not impressed with Christianity, primarily because they are not impressed with Christians. If we are not self-righteous snobs smothered in hypocrisy, then we are meaningless religionists blending in with society. We are either an offense or a disappointment. . . .
What people are yearning for is authenticity. They don’t want words, they want action – a lifestyle of genuine godliness that cannot be ignored. We say we know God, but all the world sees is a “form of godliness,” which is void of reality. . . . However, if the world could see a truly transformed life that mirrors the qualities of Christ’s life . . ., it would be attracted to our Savior through us.
Hayden’s comments indicate that it is very important for Christians to live a lifestyle that other people will admire and respect, especially the type of lifestyle that demonstrates the characteristics mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23a: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These characteristics are referred to as the fruit of the Holy Spirit. [Note: For explanations of the characteristics of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, click on the title of our article “Filling versus Indwelling by the Holy Spirit” and consult the Appendix that follows the Conclusions of that article.]
Sadly, many people who regard themselves as Christians have a lifestyle that is similar to that of non-Christians, and they may not be concerned about their failure to live according to biblical teachings. Although God knows that even the most mature Christians will not be able to live a perfect (i.e., sinless) lifestyle, He wants every Christian to continually strive to live according to His will for them, which is revealed by both biblical teachings and the Holy Spirit who dwells within every genuine Christian. Christians who persevere in this regard will have a positive influence on other people, including both Christians and non-Christians.
In contrast, people who regard themselves as Christians, but do not seek to live according to God’s will for them and are indifferent about their influence on other people, should seriously consider whether or not they really are Christians. If a person is not really a Christian, that person needs to realize that someday he (or she) will face severe eternal consequences for themselves. [For a discussion of the eternal consequences for people who are not Christians, click on “What Is Hell Really Like?” and for an explanation regarding how a person can be assured that he (or she) is a Christian, click on “What Must a Person Do to Be Assured of Eternal Salvation?”]
Living a lifestyle that consistently seeks to follow biblical teachings is difficult, but nevertheless every Christian who truly loves God should sincerely be committed to trying to do so. In this regard, Jesus Christ asserts in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Christians who have not made keeping God’s commandments a priority in their life will not lose their eternal salvation, but they should not expect to receive many, if any, special eternal rewards. In contrast, Christians who have steadfastly tried to keep God’s commandments will hear God tell them, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (or similar words). And, they will be rewarded accordingly.