Called to a Nobler Purpose

“But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” [Jude 20-21 NIV]

If there is anything that has been emphasised to me of late as I read through parts of the Old Testament, as well as the New, it is that God hates hypocrisy. We either love Him or we don’t, we follow Him or we follow someone or something else. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t say one thing and do another. He is holy and worth far more than a fickle lip-service.

As it says earlier in this book, “ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality” [vs 4], have infiltrated the church. I find it disappointing that people exist within the church who disregard the high standards of the Word as old-fashioned and out of date. Creative accounting in your business is NOT OK. A little white lie here and there is NOT OK. We are called to a nobler purpose, a way of life that stands out from the crowd — one that says NO! to the general trend of selfish behaviour in our society.

No one ever said it was an easy path. I will be the first to admit I’m not perfect and sometimes I just want to react or behave in a way that is not seemly — and sometimes I do. But, one of the things about the grace of God, is that He “is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.” [vs 24] Let us persevere in doing right in all we possibly can, showing the world who God is, being honest representatives of Him in our neighbourhood.

Published in: on 9th July, 2012 at 10:11 am  Comments (2)  
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Avoiding Extremes

“Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise—why destroy yourself?
 Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool—why die before your time?
 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.
 Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.” [Ecclesiastes 7:16-18 NIV]

I find this verse very interesting. We have seen that God requires us to be holy as He is holy (see Leviticus 19:2), yet this verse seems to tell us not to try too hard. In the New Testament we are exhorted to aim for perfection. Jesus set the standard high when He said that keeping anger in our hearts was akin to murder, among other things. But, this verse tells us to avoid extremes. So then, is this a contradiction?

I don’t think so. Rather it is a reminder for us to not get caught under condemnation, to remember the grace of our Lord Jesus. Yes, we must do our best to be righteous and holy, but not to the point that it destroys us with fear of hellfire and brimstone.

It is a warning against legalism, a habit that humankind seem so easily to fall into. ‘If I don’t do this, the Lord will not accept me.’ Or, ‘this is happening to me because I failed.’ This kind of thinking binds us into slavery to works and will just wear us out with our trying.

We need to live in the freedom that grace provides. When we do fail, know that God loves us still. When we make mistakes, He is not waiting to punish us, but to show us a new way forward, to learn and grow from it.

Do you ever find yourself trying too hard, putting pressure on yourself to perform for His acceptance?

Published in: on 26th June, 2012 at 10:00 am  Comments (2)  
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