Have you ever have seen a front display windows at a fancy store where you paused to admire the clothing. Every piece of clothing matches and fits snugly on the mannequin. Merchandisers make sure that their store window dressing are attractive and popular so to draw attention that customers might come inside and make purchases. Outer displays, however, do not end with commerce. You can say that what we stand for in life are in the public’s eye almost all the time. What others see of our actions, attitudes, motives, generally speaking our way of living makes a difference. If you were to be asked what is behind your lifestyle how would you answer that question?
There can only be two possibilities that you can respond to the way you live in this world. You can say that you choose to follow human standards or you embrace Christian standards. Christ message that is popularly known as the “Sermon on the Mount” teaches about the type and behavior of a person found in His Kingdom, which when compared to the world’s lifestyle stands paradoxical to it. What the world wishes for themselves is happiness and success, mostly sought through self-will. As his goal, the Believer seeks to be Christlike, which involves asking God to be delivered from the temptations of this world and receiving it through divine grace to resist giving in to the secular thinking which interprets life without the Bible. In the opening words of the Sermon on the Mount, the character of the Believer is described as being: poor in spirit, pure in heart, peacemakers, meekness, righteousness, mercy and mourning. Just for a moment, consider the last trait, mourning. Mourning over what? The emotional response of mourning is because of our sins. Sins we have committed against God and man. This kind of sadness is hardly found in our society. Rather, much is done to cover-up our sins, to lie or excuse our actions is most often the case. But a Christian does not see sin as a “mistake in judgment or slip-up”, but a violation of God’s laws that demands a penalty so we are commanded to confess and forsake them. Our mourning is a daily matter, and though it seems antithetical to the unregenerate thoughts, Jesus promises happiness for those who demonstrate such grief. The nature of this grief over sins found in the individual shows that we are a true Believer and a servant of King Jesus. True happiness is the product of salvation and is showcased in a godly character. It may sound like misery to some who seek riches, glamour and popularity that to live humbly and self-sacrificially and face persecution without retaliation is the desired state, but we should understand that the Christian operates by another standard altogether different than that of the world. The central point to this sermon by Jesus are these words: “I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (5:20)
Perhaps your perception has been wrong about what you have heard and seen about Christ through others so far. On display may have been Christians that had failed to live Christlike, to demonstrate the virtues found in Jesus and taught. Jesus illustrates theses as salt which has lost its flavor or its effectiveness. That is a shame since the drawing power of character to lead others to learn more about Christ is hindered by a weakened testimony. Christians should not compromise but remain true to their faith in Christ or evangelism and efforts to please God are adversely affected.
The non-believer, is encouraged to read Christ’s sermon in the gospel of Matthew chapters 5-7 in its entirety, and see for yourself the description of the follower of Christ. At the end of this sermon, illustrated for us are both ways and the outcome that a man can live his life, the man who builds on sand and the man who builds on a rock. Will you choose the solid foundation for your life by following Christ and enter into eternal life, or keep to your own model. and perish in the end?
But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house, and it fell. And great was the fall. (Matthew 7:26-27)