I have questions. Strange and unusual events lead me to this basic question, how now shall we live?
First, some current events questions I don’t presume to answer. COVID emerged amid shocking warnings that it could be bad. Are economic shutdowns and personal isolation as bad as the disease? Cities in the USA burned while authorities allowed lawless autonomous zones. Will that kind of territorial lawlessness reappear again or elsewhere?
Persistent claims of fraud challenge previous elections. Will Americans ever trust another election? When people stormed the capitol last week, did they really think anything good would come of it? Will Big Tech censor my speech if they disagree? Mr. Biden promised to sign the Equality Act in his first 100 days. Will this Act make people of faith less equal because we believe a disordered view of humanity should not be forced on citizens?
Jesus’ fisherman friend wrote to believers scattered in a culture that discriminated against them for their faith (1 Peter). From that letter, here are five ways you can live boldly and joyously in today’s world.
- Love people. If you are obedient to the truth of Christ, then your soul has a new capacity to love people. Racism, envy, and strife are selfishness, not love. To “fervently love” one another is to boldly proclaim Jesus, who even said to love your enemy! (1:22)
- Remember who you are. You are an “alien and stranger,” just passing through this world. Feeling anxious and disenfranchised comes from a desire for control, a worldly lust that wages war against the soul. An eternal perspective brings joy. (2:11)
- Live an honorable life. If someone slanders you as evil because you fear God and apply his truth to life, respond boldly with “good deeds” and “excellent behavior.” People notice that, and it glorifies God. (2:12)
- Speak truth. Align your faith, deeds, and words by setting up Christ Jesus as Lord in your heart. As you live with the joy and hope you have in Christ, people will notice. Be prepared to boldly “give an account” but with gentleness and reverence. Jesus said whoever believes in him will have eternal life. (3:15)
- Endure suffering with purpose. Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that tests and strengthens your faith. Jesus said you are blessed when this happens. “If you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.” Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials. (4:12, 2:20)
Chuck Colson’s answer to the question, “How now shall we live?” is found in his book by that title. He writes, “By embracing God’s truth, understanding the physical and moral order he has created, lovingly contenting for that truth with our neighbors, then having the courage to live it out in every walk of life. Boldly and, yes. Joyously.”