We live in a world with mixed values. We appreciate sacrificial service and heroism, but we can easily gravitate toward selfishness in our personal choices. We admire philanthropy but can quickly justify our own stinginess. We appreciate people who demonstrate true humility, while carrying an attitude of superiority and prejudice. Followers of Christ have been called to lives that are different than what the world fosters. In fact, we have been commissioned to be examples of God’s heart and values to a watching world – lights in the darkness. Take some undistracted time to reflect on the following passages. Discuss them over a meal with friends or family and consider their meaning and how to apply them.
15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
1 John 2:15-17 (NLT)
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 (NLT) 6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 (NLT)
…let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Matthew 5:16 (NLT)
NIV – New International Version
NLT – New Living Translation