Wednesday, July 6 2022 - 9:24 PM
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Lifestyle Choices

Lesson 14 |  Click here to print a PDF copy of this lesson.

Does it really matter how we live? As long as we don’t hurt others, can’t we do as we please? Not really! Evidently, God cares about us enough to provide guidelines to ensure our happiness. Ultimately, our happiness depends upon our willingness to be used by God to bless others. So, it matters how we live!

Answer the questions below

I. Our Purpose, Motivation and Life Attitude

1. Loving God and keeping His commandments indicates that we love God and are part of His people. 1 John 5:2-5.
2. Christ's followers "die to the world" by letting Christ live out the principles of His kingdom in their hearts and bodies. Galatians 2:20.
3. Christians are reluctant to give up things for Christ. Philippians 3:7-8.

Christ is the "one pearl of great price" (Matthew 13:46) and is the "treasure hidden in a field"
(verse 44). Recognizing this, Paul says that Christians gladly forfeit everything to gain the prize. Like athletes in training to win a race, we are to "run to win" (1 Corinthians 9:24).

Paul knew that conformity to laws and standards would not win for him a place in the first resurrection, but only faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. "0 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection" (Philippians 3:9, 10). For Paul, knowing Jesus is what the race is all about.

II. Principles to Live By

4. In light of what Christ has done for us, we should be dead to fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry" Colossians 3:1-7.
5. Even though we have a "new self" in Christ, it's impossible for us to overcome "anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy language." Colossians 3:8-10.
III. Our Entertainment Choices

6. Christians "bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). To do this, we must make Paul's conclusion our own. Philippians 4:8.

Some people say it's impossible to control our thoughts. But what they're really confusing this with is temptation. Often we cannot control the fact that we are tempted. Temptation may be prompted by something we see in a magazine or elsewhere. Or, an evil idea may seem to just emerge out of our heart, from nowhere! At that point the question is…What am I going to do with the temptation? Am I going to embrace it and allow it to have free roam in my mind? Or, will I prevent it from taking up residence in my heart?

Martin Luther reportedly said, "We cannot keep birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from building nests in our hair." Thank God, we have the power to choose how we're going to live!

But as our lessons have shown, power to live a principled life can only be realized when we allow Christ to live out His life in us.

7. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of God, but is of the world. 1 John 2:15-17.

God knows that which appeals to our human nature will eventually destroy us. So, He invites us to be true to Him so we don't end up "passing away" with the world.

IV. Our Behavior

8. In the last three chapters of the book of Ephesians (4-6), we find counsel on how Christians should live. Ephesians 4-6.
9. Through conversion Christians experience a change in their thinking, attitudes and behaviors. Ephesians 5:8.
10. Because their sights are set on heaven and other realms, Christians don't need to pay close attention to their work on earth. Colossians 3:23.

Romans 12:9-21 tells us to treat others in a way that will show them Christ's love. Jesus stated it simply, "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them" (Luke 6:31).

V. Our Dress

No, God has not prescribed a uniform for Christians to wear! But it's true that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they dress, or even the car they drive. A person's choices in these areas affect the way others perceive them, and it may impact their ability to be a positive witness for God.

11. Everything we do and wear should reflect our relationship with God. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33.
12. Dressing to flaunt your wealth or to impress others with your sexual beauty is okay. 1 John 2:16.
13. More than what's merely on the surface, we should seek to cultivate the inner beauty of character. 1 Peter 3:3-4.
VI. Our Bodies as Temples

14. We should be careful how we treat our bodies because they belong to Someone else. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
15. Daniel willingly ate all that was set before him. Daniel 1:8, Daniel 1:12-16, Daniel 1:20.

Since God communicates with us through our fives senses, our ability to know Him is greatly impacted by the health of our bodies and minds. This is why we must guard our mental faculties so they are properly tuned and directed. Through diet and exercise we can influence the ability of our brains to function at their optimum level. Healthful living is a commitment that a Christian makes out of respect to his or her Creator.

VII. A Healthy Menu for Our Bodies and Minds

16. Originally, God gave Adam and Eve a simple diet of fruit and herbs. Genesis 1:29.

Since God created us, He knew what our bodies needed most. In the Garden of Eden, He provided a vegetarian diet of fruits, grains, nuts and seeds that grow in pods. Vegetables were added to the diet after Adam and Eve sinned and had to leave their garden home (Genesis 3:18).

The antediluvians (people who lived before the flood) enjoyed life spans of nearly a thousand years. After the flood God said to Noah, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you"

(Genesis 9:3). Keep in mind that Noah knew the difference between clean and unclean animals (see question 15).
The flood had severe effects upon the earth's environment, which took a toll on humanity. Due to a lack of vegetation, their diet was inferior, which necessitated the use of flesh foods. As a result, the life expectancy of human beings changed dramatically. Compare the longevity of the antediluvians with those who lived within 500 years after the flood, and note the rapid decline.

VIII. Clean and Unclean Meats

17. Although Noah lived hundreds of years before Israel, he understood there was a clean and unclean classification of animals. Genesis 7:2.
18. Leviticus chapter 11 describes a clean animal as chewing its cud and having a split hoof. Leviticus 11:2-7.

Animals without these distinguishing features are considered unclean, and thereby unfit for human consumption. It's interesting to note that those which are classified as unclean are physiologically different from the others (in many instances, they are nature's garbage cans, or scavengers). They have inferior waste removal systems within their own bodies that make their flesh unfit for human consumption.

19. Leviticus 11 describes clean fish as having fins and scales. Leviticus 11:9-12.

This would exclude, among others, swimmers such as shark and catfish. What is generally categorized as sea food (clams, crab, lobster and shrimp) is also unclean. As scavengers, their feeding habits make them highly susceptible to microbial infection, which is passed on to those who consume them. Shellfish toxins are always present in their systems, but there are certain seasons of the year when the build up is at such high levels that eating them will make a person seriously ill, and can even cause death.

20. Leviticus also describes the difference between clean and unclean fowl, with those that are clean being poultry and game birds. No birds of prey, songbirds or scavengers are to be eaten. Leviticus 11:13-19.
IX. Moderation and Temperance

Temperance calls for moderation and control of our appetites and passions. It means moderation in that which is good, and abstinence from that which is harmful.

21. If we abuse our bodies we show a lack of respect for ourselves and God's creation. In the end, those who persist in trashing God's property lose the gift of life. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.

The Bible is not a Physicians' Desk Reference for all of the harmful substances that exist, but it does contain principles that preclude the use of substances that damage the body and mind. With so much scientific evidence relating death and illness directly to the use of tobacco, alcohol and other harmful substances, people can know what is healthful and pleasing to God. A proper reading of Scripture shows that God is concerned about our bodies as well as our minds (see 3 John 2).

22. Paul says we should present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1.

Giving ourselves unreservedly to God opens the way for Him to use us to further His cause.

23. Keeping our minds alert and focused on spiritual things is helpful, but not essential. Romans 12:2.
24. Because there are stories in the Bible about people consuming intoxicating beverages and becoming drunk, it must be okay. Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-35.

Some would say that alcoholic beverages are OK because Jesus drank wine. But the fact that Jesus drank wine, turned water into wine and used wine for the Lord's Supper is not grounds for using alcoholic beverages.

First of all, the word wine as found in Scripture can mean either fermented or unfermented juice of the grape. Secondly, wine produced from grapes in Jesus' day was, and still is produced in at least three ways: (1) by fermentation, (2) as fresh juice (which was considered superior in an age when there was no refrigeration), and (3) as unfermented drink reconstituted from raisins.

There is no reason to believe that Jesus used fermented wine, especially in connection with religious ceremonies such as the Lord's Supper (see article entitled, Jesus, The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1904 edition). It would have been contrary to a law that He Himself had given to Israel. More likely, He would have used fresh pressed grape juice, or wine (as it was commonly called).

25. In his day, Paul encouraged fellow Christians to not associate with drunkards. 1 Corinthians 5:11.
26. There will not be any bars, saloons or drunkards in heaven. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
27. By God's grace, people can find deliverance from destructive habits and lifestyles. Philippians 4:13; 1 John 5:4.

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