To the girl who loves Jesus but isn’t sure how to live for Him,
I get it. It can be confusing knowing how to live out your faith in a practical way.
You want to love Jesus and be a good Christian, but sometimes it can be hard to know how.
Sometimes Christians do a great job demonstrating what it looks like to “Be a Christian”, but sometimes Christians are completely uninspiring or conduct themselves in a way that makes calling yourself a Christian seem downright embarrassing.
Sometimes Christians can appear to be full of hate.
Sometimes Christians look more like the world than Jesus.
Amongst all the muddle the Church has a lot of ideas about Jesus and the way Christians should live, AND the culture has a lot of ideas about Jesus and the way Christians should live.
How’s a girl to know what to believe and how to live?!?!
“How can a young person keep their way pure?” Psalm 119:9a
You might even be wondering: If I just love Jesus, isn’t that enough? Does anything else really matter if I love Him?
A resounding, yes! It does matter! If you say you love Jesus you’ll also live for Him, and how you live is directly connected to what you believe.
The Problem at Pergamum
The Christians in the city of Pergamum were struggling with this same thing 2,000 years ago. They lived in an incredibly wicked city. It was the capital of the Asian providence of the Roman Empire. There were four different Greco-Roman gods that were worshipped in the city with their temples and depraved rituals. To top it off, it was the center for an emperor worship cult. John doesn’t mince words when he calls this city “The Throne of Satan” in the book of Revelation.
Despite all the pagan worship going on around them, the Christians in Pergamum were radical about Jesus. They were not ashamed to proclaim His name even to the point of martyrdom.
“You hold fast to My name and did not deny My faith, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.” Revelation 2:13
But the church had some issues. They had allowed people that held immoral teachings to infiltrate their church.
“Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.” Revelation 2:14
They welcomed these people into the family and failed to correct their faulty beliefs, and before long it was affecting what they were believing. This created a church willing to physically die for Jesus but whose daily lives didn’t reflect that extreme commitment. Their church was filled with sexual immorality, idolatry, and other forms of pagan beliefs.
The problem at Pergamum was this: they loved Jesus, but they didn’t live for Him.
SCRIPTURE HAS SOMETHING TO SAY
When it comes to what you should believe you can learn a valuable lesson from the Christians at Pergamum. Don’t just take other Christian’s word for it, search the Word for it.
“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.” Psalm 119: 9
It’s important to have people you look up to and trust and even want to emulate, but it’s equally as important to realize that everyone is fallible. Anyone can be deceived and believe a lie that ultimately affects their behavior. When someone tells you that something is okay make sure you search the Scripture before you choose to believe it too.
The Bible has something to say about every area of your life from how you should spend your money to how you should live out your sexuality. And if it doesn’t address something outright, like drugs, media choices, or pornography, it says enough about your heart, attitude, and behavior that you can find the truth with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Culture also has something to say about every area of your life and sometimes their truth can sound better than the Bible’s truth. In order to discern what is right and what is wrong, you need to be in the Word. But, checking Bible reading off your Christian to-do list isn’t enough if you really want to live for Jesus. You need to be seeking the answers with all your heart.
“How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart.” Psalm 119: 1-2
Sometimes you won’t like the truths you find. They may be unpopular, appear unloving, require you to sacrifice. But in a culture that elevates personal story over Scripture, where truth is relative to your experience and love is tolerance, God’s unchanging, timeless, absolute Truth reminds you; you make a poor judge of truth when left to your own devices.
“There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12
As many modern churches allow false teachings to permeate their beliefs like the Church at Pergamum, trusting and knowing God’s Word will become increasingly important and unpopular. But Jesus promise to the church at Pergamum to those that rejected false beliefs still holds true for you and me, “to him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna (the Bread of Life or spiritual sustenance), and a white stone (entrance to the eternal victory celebration in heaven), and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it (the unique reflection of God’s love for and adoption of every true child of His).” Revelation 2:17
To love Jesus is a great place to start, but in order to truly live for Him you need to cultivate a love for His Word and obey it.
Love Your Fellow Church Girl,
Cite: MacArthur, John. Revelation 1-11. Moody Press, 1999.