By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
What does it take to live a godly life in an ungodly world? Many of us have asked ourselves this question repeatedly. The signatures of sin and evil are all around us. There has to be something more that we can do than to white-knuckle our way through temptation.
Simply put, our anchor is Jesus Christ. He is our only salvation from sin—the anchor of our souls (see Hebrews 6:19) that holds firm, especially when the storms of life threaten and when the enemy’s temptations blow hard against us.
Does this mean that you can escape the troubles of this world? No—but you can set the compass of your heart on Christ. Then, when the aggressive winds and tumbling waves of temptation come, you will not be overwhelmed by them.
Jesus knew that we would face serious temptations and trials. The night of His arrest, He prayed for us: “[Father], my prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it” (John 17:15-16).
Living a godly life in an ungodly world is realizing that you do not belong to yourself. As a believer, you belong to Jesus Christ. He is the Shepherd of your soul, your loving Savior, and eternal Lord—and from a spiritual standpoint; you do not belong to this world. Thankfully, you are not left in this world without help. Our heavenly Father has provided all that you need, through His Holy Spirit, to live free of Satan’s temptations, tactics, lies, and snares.
You can begin living the godly life Christ has given to you when you:
Have a heart focused and set on Christ. Be committed to prayer and the study of God’s Word. You can’t set your heart on Christ or learn to live godly lives unless you follow the instruction manual that God has given to you, and this is His Word—the Bible.
Refuse to get caught up in busywork, believing that you are pleasing to God. The greatest gift you can give the Lord is not a full schedule that includes one church meeting after another. Immorality can rob you of a beautiful relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, but busyness will prevent you from getting to know God in a personal way. You should not allow anything you are doing for God to prevent you from being with God.
Realize that God loves you with an unconditional love. When you draw nearer and nearer to Christ, your desire to give in to temptation will fade. No one will ever care as much for you as the Savior does. Christ died so that you might have eternal life. His grace is a gift that cannot be purchased through good works or outstanding behavior. He loved you even before you were born, and He loves you now. You cannot earn His love, and you cannot lose it. When you yield to sin and sense that there is a distance between the Lord and you, it is not because His love for you has faded.
There are consequences to sin that are unavoidable, and one of these is that you sense God’s rebuke because you have grieved His Spirit. But when you pray and ask Him to forgive you, He does—and He restores your fellowship with Him because His love has the ability to cover a multitude of sins (see James 5:20).
Invest in your spiritual future. You are involved in a spiritual battle. Unseen forces wage war against you, but the ultimate victory is won in Christ. Only faith in Jesus Christ wins the battle. It is faith that is not embraced one day and forgotten the next. Instead, it is faith that is built and maintained through love and devotion to God’s Son.
If you are struggling to live a godly life in an ungodly world, stop and seek Him. Ask Him to help you understand the depth of His love for you. When you do, you will find that God will give you all that you need to live a godly life in an ungodly world!