The great daily challenge I face in Christian living is not a challenge of knowledge—I know what I need to know in order to live in a way that pleases God. It is not a challenge of discernment—there is rarely any great difficulty in distinguishing truth from error and right from wrong. It is not a challenge of ability—there is no temptation I cannot resist and no sin I cannot turn away from when I am indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God. I have what I need to live well before God and man.
But so often I don’t. So often I fail to live out God’s two great commandments. So often I fail to love God with my whole heart and to love my neighbor as myself. Why? Why do I fail to live the way I want to live, the way God tells me to live, the way God enables and equips me to live? What is the great daily challenge?
The great daily challenge of Christian living is the challenge of simply taking hold of what is mine in Christ. It is the challenge of presenting my whole self as a living sacrifice to God, knowing that this is holy and acceptable to him, that it is an act of true worship. It is the challenge of not being conformed to this world, but of being transformed by the renewing of my mind so I can do the will of God—all that is good and acceptable and perfect.
The great daily challenge is, on the face of it, so very simple: to think like a Christian, to speak like a Christian, to act like a Christian. It is to think in ways that reflect a renewed mind, a mind that sees the world as it truly is and a mind that is determined to think God’s thoughts after him. It is to speak in ways that reflect a renewed heart, to understand that life and death are in the power of the tongue and that my words can be fresh water or brackish, a blessing or a curse. It is to act in ways that reflect renewed desires, to act in ways that faithfully deploy my gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.
The great daily challenge is to earnestly desire to live in a distinctly Christian way. It is to pray that I actually would live in a distinctly Christian way. It is to pray “God, in the day ahead I pray that I will think like a Christian, that I will speak like a Christian, that I will act like a Christian.” It is to trust that this is a prayer God is pleased to answer.