What does living Biblically really look like? How does God want us to live our lives? Well, the Bible gives a clear picture of how God wants us to live. But, unfortunately there are a lot of misconceptions floating around which dilute God’s will on how to live Biblically. In this article I’d like to talk about how it really looks to live a Biblical life and how we an achieve that as Christians.
What Living Biblically DOESN’T Look like
As I was doing some research for this article I came across a book (and soon to be TV show) that left me with the worst taste in my mouth. The book is called “The Year of Living Biblically” by A. J. Jacobs and it appears that CBS has even bought the rights to make a TV show from it.
On first appearance you might think this is great exposure for God’s word. But the fact is that this book is written by an agnostic who believes that those who take the Bible seriously are “crazy” (his words). So the whole premise for this book is to quite literally follow the rules of the Bible for one year, but without any respect for them or for God. He approaches it from a comedic standpoint and completely makes a mockery of God’s Word.
So I want to first address how living Biblically doesn’t mean what that book depicts, despite the deceiving title. Living Biblically does not mean following God’s commandments without God being apart of your walk. No one was ever meant to follow God’s commandments without God. We can’t do it on our own, it’s simply impossible. Even this man who claims he lived Biblically for a year didn’t do it. Here’s why:
Lip Service vs. Heart Service
All of God’s commandments throughout the Bible are meant to be followed with your heart and not just your actions.
“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” – Matthew 15:8-9
You can go through the motions and do all the right things outwardly but inwardly you can still be a broken, empty vessel.
“Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” – Matthew 23:26-28
The Greatest Commandment for Life
We can’t fool God into believing that we’re living Biblically. There are many Jews and Christians alike who might follow many (or all) of the rules listed in the Bible. But if they aren’t loving God with all their heart, they aren’t pleasing God.
Let’s not forget the greatest commandment given in the Bible:
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40
We are told by Jesus that this is the greatest commandment. Did this agnostic do that for his year of “living Biblically”? I can assure you he didn’t. Without a love for God the commandments are made of none effect.
How Does God Want Us to Live Our Lives?
So if “following the rules” to the letter isn’t how God wants us to live, then what does living Biblically actually look like? In this section I’d like to present an accurate depiction of how to live a Biblical life. Let me preface this by re-iterating the point I made above: you cannot live a Biblical life without God. Now let’s have a look at what living Biblically actually looks like.
Laying the Foundation for Living Biblically
As with any undertaking, you simply can’t begin anything without a foundation. When you are changing career paths, you lay the foundation by either going to school or learning more about that career in some way. When you want to paint a picture you need to lay the foundation by preparing the canvas before getting started.
Even when you’re building a house, you need to first build a solid foundation for that house to stand on. This is the very example that Jesus uses in the Bible as a demonstration for following His word:
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:24-27
What is the foundation for Biblical Living?
So in order to live Biblically we need to build our lives upon that rock that Jesus speaks of. But what is that rock which will act as our foundation? Well Jesus implies that His word is the rock in the parable, but we also get a bigger picture by looking in other places throughout God’s Word:
“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” – Psalm 18:2
God is our rock. He needs to be our foundation, and in turn His word is apart of that. Jesus also refers to the kingdom of God as the stone which the builders rejected:
“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” – Matthew 21:42-44
So with all these verses in mind, we can now see that we need God as our foundation on which everything else is laid. This also helps to clarify why Jesus says all the law and the prophets hang on the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:36-40). Because we need that foundation in order to be able to live a Biblical life.
How to Lay the Foundation for Living Biblically
So what does it mean to make God the foundation of our lives? Well of course we need to follow God’s Word as Jesus instructs us in Matthew 7:24-27, but we also need to have a love for God before we can even do that.
Let me give you an example of why. Let’s say you’re in a relationship with someone who you don’t really love. You can do all the right things, say all the right things, and go through the motions of being in a relationship with that person. But without love for the other person there will always be something missing. There’s a reason that God gave us free will. He never indented (or wanted) us to be robots who simply obey Him without having any love for Him. God is love!
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” – 1 John 4:8
God wants us to to love Him and choose Him of our own free will. This will always be our choice, God will never force you into a relationship with Him. But without faith in God, nothing can please Him, not even following His commandments to the letter:
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6
How Do I Love God?
So we lay the foundation for living Biblically by loving God. As you grow in a relationship with God, your love for Him will grow, just like it does with any other relationship. But it has to start somewhere.
If you don’t have a love for God but have a desire to love Him the first thing you should do is pray. Come to God in humbleness and repentance and ask Him how to love Him. If you truly have that desire, He will help you to grow in love with Him.
Remember, a lot of times things like sin and unforgiveness can separate us from God and it could be that those are present in your life and causing a barrier. Truly repent and turn to God for forgiveness. He will forgive you and it will open up the door to finding a love for God that will grow and grow.
But God doesn’t leave us clueless on how to love him. Jesus tells us flat out how we can show our love for Him:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15
Let’s flesh out what Jesus meant by that some more in the next section.
Living Biblically Means Turning from Sin
There are many layers to living Biblically, but the first layer I want to talk about is to not allow sin to rule your life. It may sound simple, but it becomes challenging when the definition of sin is continually skewed, which is where a lot of the Body of Christ is in error.
So the first thing we need to do here is to pinpoint the definition of sin. The Bible actually makes this very clear, but for some reason this is often overlooked:
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” – 1 John 3:4
So put simply, sin is the disobedience of God’s commands. God gives us a lot of commands throughout the Bible. Not just those listed in the 10 commandments, or the Torah, or even the New Testament. Each of those commandments we need to examine and apply to our lives appropriately. Not because we want to follow the letter of the law, but because we love God (John 14:15) and want to follow the spirit behind the law.
God’s Commands Are Meant to be Followed Spiritually
You can follow God’s commands to the letter and still not please God. Throughout the Bible God clarifies that He has no need or desire for the sacrifices which Israel offers, but rather it’s the repentance behind bringing those sacrifices that He truly desires:
“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;” – Isaiah 1:11,15-16
“Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.” – Psalm 40:6
This is just one example of how following God’s law means nothing to God if you miss the point behind it. So as you ask yourself “how does God want us to live?”, and as you search God’s commandments, don’t just look at the letter of them, but rather the spirit.
What it really takes to follow God’s commands is seek God’s help through prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit. God will show you all things, He won’t leave you to walk around in the dark.
Living Biblically Means Living by Faith
Faith is a topic brought up quite frequently throughout the Bible. It’s clearly something that’s very important to God and learning how to live Biblically. So important, in fact, that God says in His Word that nothing can please Him without it:
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6
That’s a pretty bold statement! Without faith we are unable to please God no matter what we do.
Faith Without Doubting
Faith is described as being quite powerful when it is rightly place in God and isn’t accompanied by any doubt.
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” – Matthew 21:21-22
Doubt is a faith-killer, and unfortunately it can be very easy to allow doubt to blossom if you don’t stay connected to God through prayer and reading His Word and if you do stay connected to the world through sin and unprofitable activities.
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” – James 1:6-7
Asking God to Increase Our Faith
Sometimes it feels like our faith is so small. Perhaps we have faith that God can do anything, but not enough faith that He would do something for us personally. Wherever the doubt may be placed, it can harm our walks and hinder our prayers. But did you know that the Bible shows us that we can actually ask God to increase our faith:
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” – Mark 9:23-24
Even the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith:
“And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” – Luke 17:5-6
How Can My Faith Be Increased?
Faith is something that is acquired and increased through prayer and, as hard as it may be to take, through trials.
“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” – James 1:3-4
The hardships we face in life can increase our faith in God and bring us closer to Him. The key is to lean into God during those trials and God will prove Himself to you over and over again. The more this happens, the more trust you will have in God, and the more your faith will be increased.
Trials are never easy and they aren’t necessarily fun, but we can find joy in them too if we open our eyes to the opportunity they present to grow closer to God and build up our faith even more.
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” – Romans 5:3
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” – James 1:2-3
Living Biblically Means Praying Without Ceasing
Alongside faith, prayer is probably one of the most prominent themes in the Bible. There’s a good reason for this. You simply can’t have a relationship with someone without talking to them, and prayer is talking to God. One of the main reasons we have God’s Word is so we can have a relationship with Him. In turn, God will teach us how to live Biblically.
How Often Should I Pray?
The Bible has a lot to say about praying, but the predominant theme is that prayer should be a BIG part of your life.
“Pray without ceasing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Now, here’s where we need to follow the spirit behind this verse rather than the letter. Because if we were to literally pray without ceasing, we would not be able to function in our daily life.
What it really means is that prayer should be apart of your everyday life, and in everything your default switch should be to pray. No matter what situation you find yourself in, or whether you feel happy or sad, you should pray. In everything you should be able to immediately fall into prayer mode, by default.
How Should I Pray?
The Bible depicts so many different kinds of prayers: short prayers, long prayers, casual prayers, formal prayers, silent prayers, vocal prayers, etc. But Jesus does give us a wonderful outline on how to pray when His disciples ask him that very question. I think it can prove very helpful in building a foundation for your prayer life:
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” – Matthew 6:9-13
Notice that Jesus doesn’t say to “always pray these exact words”. That’s not what the intent was behind this passage. Jesus says “after this manner”. So he is giving an outline of how to pray. Essentially we are to come to God with praise, petition Him for what we need (James 4:2-3), and end the prayer with more well-deserved praise.
There are many ways you can pray, and as with all the topics in this article, this could be fleshed out so much more (and I plan to in future articles). But the best advice I can give is to just talk to God like you want to talk to Him. The more you do, the more you will want to come to Him in everything.
What Should I Pray About?
The Bible gives many examples of different topics covered in the Bible and I think the fact that there are so many things that are prayed about in the Bible should give you an idea that God wants us to come to Him about everything.
Here’s a few examples of things people pray about in the Bible:
- Abraham prays an intercessory prayer for the righteous among the wicked (Genesis 18:22-33)
- Solomon prays for wisdom in his work as king of Israel (1 Kings 3:5-14)
- Jesus prays for God to forgive those who are crucifying him (Luke 23:34)
- The tax collector who prays for mercy because he is a sinner (Luke 18:9-14)
- Saul/Paul prays for guidance and direction (Acts 22:4-16)
- Nehemiah prays every step of the way as he is called to lead the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:4-11; 2:4; 4:4-5,9; 5:19; 6:9,14; 13:14,29,31)
These are just a few of the many examples. As you read the Bible, have a look at what other’s in the Bible seek God for. Even those who are seeking Jesus for healing in the New Testament are praying, only they have our mediator in the flesh rather than in the heavenly (1 Timothy 2:5, Romans 8:34).
Here’s a neat list of 222 prayers found in the Bible that you can look at for more of an idea of all the different things prayed for.
Living Biblically Means Coming Out and Being Separate
As you begin to do all of the things already listed (setting God as your foundation, turning from sin, living by faith, and praying without ceasing) you will begin to start looking a lot different than those in the world around you. This is completely normal when you begin living Biblically; and in fact, it’s exactly what God calls us as Christians to do:
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” – 2 Corinthians 6:17
We are Call to be Different from the World
Learning how to live Biblically means that we’re okay with looking different than the world around us. In fact, we should celebrate the fact that we look different!
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2
Following God Means Forsaking the World
There is no in-between when it comes to living Biblically. You can’t follow God while still having your feet firmly planted in the ways of the world. The Bible actually tells us that friendship with the world is enmity with God.
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” – James 4:4
You see, this world is fallen, and we can’t get attached to it because it isn’t our permanent home. When we are re-born in the spirit we become apart of the kingdom of God first and foremost. When this happens the things that are worldly begin to look less appealing and more appalling. That’s not to say we won’t have temptations, of course, but rather than indulging in sin, we should now be fighting against it.
Living Biblically Means Putting on the Whole Armor of God
How do we fight against sin, against our flesh, and against the wicked forces of this world whose sole purpose is to drive us away from God? Well, the Bible addresses this very thing as well.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” – Ephesians 6:10-18
How Does the Armor of God Help Me?
Each piece of armor equips us to be able to stand firmly in the kingdom of God while still physically in this world. This is absolutely crucial to living Biblically. The world will continually try to pull you away, deceive you, distract you, etc. But with the whole armor of God on (not just part of it) you can fight back and hold your ground in Christ.
How to Put On the Armor of God
As you learn more about how to live Biblically, many of the pieces you will naturally start putting on as a result. Truth, for example, is defined as none other than God’s word. We also talked a bit about faith as well. So by doing these steps to live Biblically you are already putting on pieces of the Armor of God!
We will cover the Armor of God more in depth in a future article. But for now if you want to learn more about putting on the armor of God, check out the Armor of God series by Tony Evans on RightNowMedia. God has really blessed him with a lot of wisdom in this area.
Living Biblically Means Putting God First in Every Area of Your Life
The last thing I want to talk about on how to live Biblically is putting God first in every area of your life. Like with all the topics in this article, I’m just going to touch on what this means for now.
What Does Making God the Priority in Your Life Mean?
Many people talk about making God the priority in their lives, but what does that really mean? It essentially means asking the very question in the title of this article: how does God want us to live in every area of our lives? Work, parenting, marriage, money, entertainment, etc. All of these things and more are areas we should be handing over to God’s will.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” – Romans 12:12
Again, I will be covering this more in-depth at a later time. But for now, check out my article on going to work for God on my other site to get a better picture of how this looks.
Why Should God Have Control?
Our bodies and our lives are not our own, they are God’s. Everything we are blessed with is His and should be treated as such.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Letting Go of Control is a Process
It can be difficult to hand over your life to God. Some areas might be harder for you than someone else, and other areas might be easier. But giving God control is such a freeing and actually liberating process, believe it or not. With every area you hand over, your burden will be lightened and you will feel it. At least this has been my own experience.
“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” – Psalm 5:22
Ultimately remember that God needs to take priority in every area of our life. If God says something goes, it goes; if God says to do something in particular, you do it. It’s all about letting go of control and letting God take the reigns. He will do a much better job, trust me.
Conclusion on How to Live Biblically
As you can see, living Biblically is not simply following the rules of the Bible. There is so much more to it than that, and it takes a love for God, a fear of God, and the strength we can only derive from God to do it.
“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26
There is so much deeper we can get with every single one of these topics. But that’s why we created Acts of the Remnant: to delve deep into the Bible and empower the remnant with an accurate understanding of the Bible. So I hope you’ll stay-tuned as we go deeper into God’s Word in the articles and videos to come.
I’ll leave you with this verse, which all of us really needs a reminder every day:
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – Philippians 4:13