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Careful Living


By: Kristen L. McNulty

This devotion first aired on the MAD Christian Radio Show

We talk a lot about throwing caution to the wind as believers and while that is a great thing when it comes to taking the step of faith God is calling us to, there are areas in our lives where we must be careful, one of them being our behaviour as it impacts our witness as believers. 1 Peter 2 instructs us:

Dear friends, I warn you as ‘temporary residents and foreigners’ to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. 1 Peter 2:11-12


Be careful to live properly among those around those who are not believers. On numerous occasions the Bible connects our behaviour with our witness and if you think about it for a minute it makes a lot of sense. Think about your salvation story. Who led you to Jesus? Whose witness impacted you along the way? Chances are if you think back to the people you crossed paths with who influenced you in coming to know Christ they all had one thing in common: they lived out their faith consistently and free from hypocrisy. I know in my own faith story that is certainly the case.

One of the worst things we as a Christian can do is allow our poor behaviour to be what prevents someone else from seeing the light of Christ and coming to know Him! What a tragedy that would be to look back on our lives and see the name of even one person on a list of people we might have driven away from faith. We only get one chance at living this life and if we want to live it to the fullest for Christ, then we have to make sure we are living lives that shine His light and draw people in instead of repelling them away. In Philippians chapter 2 we are told to:

Do everything without complaining and arguing, [15] so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:14-15

There is a link between how we live and how brightly our light shines. That said, shouldn’t we be very careful of how we live and what kind of behaviour we display?


If you ever heard DC Talk’s song What If I Stumble? chances are you heard this quote before as the band reads it out at the end of the song, but it’s worth repeating. Brennan Manning once wrote:

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
Brennan Manning

So what will be said of our lives? What is currently being said of our lives? Are we shining our lights or hiding them? Are we drawing people to Christ or repelling them away? Are we not only talking the talk but walking the walk? If everyone we cross paths with on a daily basis was surveyed, would they all have rave reviews? Or are we leaving a wake in our path of people we’ve treated poorly?

Since our witness as believers is tied to our behaviour, we need to be so careful with how we live and how we treat other people. It doesn’t mean we need to be perfect, as I believe there is a difference between earnest believers and hypocrites. Hypocrites pretend to be better than but live worse than. Earnest believers make mistakes but own them and make amends.


We may not be perfect, but with our humility and help from the Holy Spirit, we can grow in our character as we intentionally grow in our faith. Closing with wisdom on the subject from Galatians chapter 5, starting at verse 22:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. Galatians 5:22-26