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Your lifestyle matters

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–I forgot to set the sleep timer on our television once and awoke the next morning to a rerun of “Law and Order.” In the span of a few minutes, I was reminded of a great truth: Your lifestyle matters.

The lesson, as I recall it, came from a scene where a senior law partner is meeting a client in a restaurant to discuss a case. While they are in this normally reserved atmosphere, some patrons begin to get very rowdy. One woman even jumps up on a table and starts to dance.

The senior law partner turns to look at the commotion. To her amazement, she recognizes the woman as a junior attorney in her firm. The senior partner excuses herself, walks over to the table and glares at the dancing attorney.

As the dancing attorney gets down from the table, she says to her employer, “This is my personal time. It has nothing to do with work.” The senior partner replies sternly, “I’ll see you in my office tomorrow.”

In a following scene, the junior attorney is sitting before the senior partner. The senior partner stands leaning against her desk and begins a brief monologue (paraphrased here): “Don’t ever tell me it is just your personal time. When you meet someone for dinner or anywhere else, in the course of conversation, the question arises about your employment. You proudly reply, ‘I am an attorney. I work at Kevich and Wiel.’ When you are making a fool of yourself, others say, ‘That girl dancing is an attorney.’ Moreover, as they laugh, they say, ‘Yeah, she works at Kevich and Wiel.’ Your personal life is a reflection on this firm.”

Isn’t the junior attorney’s view on life the way some in the church think? “I’m in church on Sunday. Everyone knows me here. But what I do with my personal time during the week, it’s nobody’s business.”

As you participate in the gossip at work, frequent unwholesome establishments or pepper your words with the vulgarities of the world, it reflects poorly on your church and the body of Christ.

The people who are around you know your background. Somewhere in a conversation about what you did last weekend, you mentioned you went to church. “I’m a member of First Baptist.” Then behind your back, those who are watching your behavior say, “Can you believe Joe is a member down there at First Baptist?” While they are laughing, someone else will comment, “Yeah, he’ll also tell you he’s a Christian.”

Your lifestyle is your personal witness of the character coming out of your heart. Your personal time, during the week, is a reflection on Christ and His Kingdom.

When you count the cost of becoming a Christian, you recognize that Jesus is going to change your actions, your lifestyle. You now live in great freedom. When you are free in Jesus, you are free indeed. Yes, you are free to live as a responsible refection of the personality of Jesus Christ. You claimed the title “follower of Christ.” Now accept the responsibility that goes with it.

When I married my wife, Wendy, I gave up the right of singleness, choosing to be committed to her for life. I did so because I love her. My new identity is as a husband and eventually as a father of three. I accepted the title and the responsibility.

As a follower of Christ, I gave up my lifestyle focused on self, to live for my Savior. I embraced my new commitment to Him, because I love Him. He gave me a new identity as the “child of God.” I accepted the title and the responsibility.

Your lifestyle matters. It is a reflection on Jesus and His Church. Make it count.
Keith Manuel is an evangelism associate on the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s evangelism & church growth team.

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  • Keith Manuel