Living a balanced Christian life is up there with one of the toughest modern day challenges for those of us with a faith. There are so many tensions to reconcile between prioritising your faith and living everyday life.
Scripture tells us how eager and fervent our pursuit of God and our call as Christians must be. However, practically speaking, how do you find the time for worship, Bible study and engaging in church community when you’re also holding down a job? Or raising a young family?
Let’s have a look at what the Bible says about the Christian Life:
“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-3
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1
With persuasive language like ‘run the race’ and ‘eagerly desire’ used in reference to living a Christian life, we know that the pursuit of our faith should be central to our lives.
Living a Christian life in modern times
For the Jews who went on to recognise Jesus as their Messiah, becoming a Christian involved adapting their existing religious practices to incorporate the gospel truth. We read in the epistles guidance from Paul as he coached the churches through the change from Judaism to Christianity.
For the Gentiles who had become Christians though, they would have been adapting their lives to a religious belief for the first time. They wouldn’t have had the Jewish rhythms of Sabbath and Temple ingrained in their daily lives.
Christianity is still a fast-growing religion, with people accepting the good news all around the world. But increasingly, we find ourselves more like the Gentiles. We have to find a way to build disciplines and rhythms around our faith that the culture around us simply doesn’t have.
So, how do you nurture a Christian lifestyle when modern culture leaves little to no room for religious practices?
Here are 3 tips for developing a Christian life in modern times
1. Make faith-filled swaps
We can make a few faith-filled swaps throughout our day. This can be something as small as swapping our go-to playlist for one filled with worship music. While this might seem like a token gesture towards our faith, it can help us stay in a posture of praise and gratitude throughout the day.
We can also try changing the podcasts we listen to and what we scroll through when we first wake up. Glorify has a wealth of inspiring devotionals to start the day with a God-filled focus.
Perhaps we can think about changing our spending to be more aligned to our faith. God can give us a heart to serve the poor. Or a passion for tackling climate change. Or encouraging the creative arts? Making small changes to how we spend our money can help affirm our faith and the impact it can have. For example, try and focus spending with businesses that are registered as B Corporations or have a charity scheme.
An easy swap to make is to change what we are reading. Whether we enjoy a highbrow theology book or an easy-to-read book filled with testimonies, we can fill our down time with faith-inspiring words.
2. Embrace ancient traditions
There are some ancient traditions, found in scripture, that can make their way easily into our modern day life. For instance, embracing customs like taking a Sabbath can make it easier to sustain a Christian life in spite of everyday stresses.
Books like ‘The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry’ by John Mark Comer address some of the pitfalls of our modern society.
“Ultimately, nothing in this life, apart from God, can satisfy our desires. Tragically, we continue to chase after our desires ad infinitum. The result? A chronic state of restlessness or, worse, angst, anger, anxiety, disillusionment, depression—all of which lead to a life of hurry, a life of busyness, overload, shopping, materialism, careerism, a life of more…which in turn makes us even more restless. And the cycle spirals out of control.” John Mark Comer
The author provides a modern approach to Sabbath that we can all embrace. Without the religious restrictions, we can transform the Sabbath practice into an opportunity to learn to rest with our Creator.
“That’s why Sabbath is an expression of faith. Faith that there is a Creator and He’s good. We are His creation. This is His world. We live under His roof, drink His water, eat His food, breathe His oxygen. So on the Sabbath, we don’t just take a day off from work; we take a day off from toil and we give Him all our fear and anxiety and stress and worry. We let go.” John Mark Comer
So to take time off and slow down can be an act of faith. In embracing a rhythm as simple as taking an afternoon off every weekend, we can create space for God to truly restore and revive us.
“Here’s my point: the solution to an over-busy life is not more time. It’s to slow down and simplify our lives around what really matters.” John Mark Comer
3. Foster inclusivity
Opening up our belief to our friends and family can really help us balance our faith with modern life.
Taking an inclusive approach to our faith means we can invite friends along to social church events or include them in our religious celebrations. For instance, this could look like throwing a big Easter dinner party and inviting close friends. It doesn’t have to be intimidating or overly religious, just a relaxed dinner that invites people into an important part of our life.
Many parts of Christian wisdom are recognised in secular society too. For example, practicing gratitude is recognised for its mental health benefits across cultures. By sharing our gratitude practice with friends and family, it can encourage us to keep it up and give them an insight into our faith too.
Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash.