Living a countercultural life

By Andrea Goebel

God’s Way

As the parents of two young children, my husband and I often discuss the values we hope to instill in our son and daughter as they grow. Values such as faith, family, honesty, kindness and hard work. 

As my husband and I have experienced in our own lives, living out these values requires us to sacrifice our own desires to follow what is right and good.

Yet, the world around us spreads a different set of values: selfishness, vanity, materialism and greed. We are to live for ourselves, take pride in appearances, and work ourselves to the point of misery so we can make more money to have the nicest house, car, clothes, etc. 

Often, I find myself wondering how we can teach our kids to set their sights on greater things than what the world says is good. 

Because the longer I walk with Jesus, the more I realize that what the world says is good is often contrary to Jesus’ teaching. 

And what the world condemns as crazy may actually be the truth Jesus teaches us.

Jesus emphasized a selfless life that was different from everything society taught people was acceptable. 

He cared for lepers and those outcast by society (Matthew 8:3).

He ate with tax collectors and sinners, those who were deemed unpopular and unworthy (Matthew (9:10-13).

He forgave sinners instead of condemning them (John 8:11).

Jesus encourages us to live the same type of countercultural life in order to live with him for eternity. 

He tells us to be kind to others even if they are mean to us: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:44).

He encourages us to let go of our attachment to earthly possessions: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21).

What’s more, he shows us how to care for those around us, just as he did: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me” (Matthew 25:35-36).

To live the life Jesus calls us to, we have to shut our eyes and ears to the teachings of this world and rely on our hearts to guide us.

We have to let go of what the world says is important and instead do what Jesus says is important. 

We have to look at the people in front of us and meet them in their needs.

To truly live like Jesus, this is how we must live: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).