January 19, 2014.
Today we are wrapping up the lessons on Paul’s letters to Timothy at the Family Vacation retreat, and let me tell you the two classes today in which we split up between girls and guys were quite good (well, I guess I can only speak from the guys perspective). There were a lot of points that were made that are those kind of points that you don’t in any way want to hear, but you know they are true. Points about making boundaries in relationships, points about how the men of faith in our society have all but failed to live up to the responsibility they have been called to (more to come on this in a later post!) and points simply about being holy because we are called by the Holy. There was a baptism after the sessions today. What a wonderful way to start the conclusion of the conference.
This weekend I have been focused on really trying to figure out what it looks like to do what we are called to do and encourage others to do the same. I am going to emphasize it again today both because I think it is that important and because I believe it is one of those topics that we come together and say a lot of good things about and then don’t apply it to our lives. Out of sight, out of mind, so to speak. This ought not be so.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
There is so much emotion in Paul’s writing. I believe we do the Bible a disservice when we read it dryly. Paul is urging the church at Ephesus to walk in a manner worthy of their calling, both implying that there was a way not to walk worthily and that they had found this way. The church at Ephesus, by the way, is the church timothy was at when Paul wrote his letters to him. For Paul to write a letter to Timothy and the church he was a minister at telling them to walk according to their calling implies, to me, that he was serious and that this was a problem they were having, as it is still a problem today.
What makes you a Christian, if not your conduct. Are you a disciple in word only? These are hard things to think about, but they are necessary things to think about. If we are only disciples in word, the world will see that, and this become worse than not believing at all. At least non-believers are genuine in their faith. Those who claim the name Christian but do not act like one are not.
““To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
These are the words of Jesus to his vessel John. Jesus would rather have you totally against him than to have one foot in and one foot out. These Christians give Christ a bad name, and I don’t believe he looks favorably on that. We are called to be holy, sanctified, called out. I don’t think that is just a suggestion. It’s an expectation.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
(1 Peter 2:9-12)
We must rise above everyday life and be a light to the world. There is no “should” about it. I believe it is a “must.” These words are hard to swallow, I know. But there’s good news. We are not alone, nor can we do any of it alone. We must trust in the Spirit to guide us into all truth and show us how to display the fruits. We must rely on one another, as the family of God, to bear each other’s burdens. This is a great and true blessing from God.
Suggested Daily Reading: Ephesians 4-6
Let us live according to our calling.