The call of holiness in our lives means that there are standards to be lived by – we understand this in the context of what pleases God and what is good for us to be guarded from. I’ve longed believed that keeping ourselves from certain practices is not only good in that it illustrates our obedience to God, but it is for our own health or safe
Smoking tobacco was certainly one of the first things I ran in to as a child. Lots of opportunity was afforded me to start but my commitment to God kept me from that. I resisted on a spiritual level and later learned that it saved me from health hazards.
It is a simple illustration but can be repeated on a number of fronts. So being aware and committed to spiritual disciplines has many benefits.
But as life progresses I am also aware that there are things of faith which need to be held in balance and I see that too many Christians use their faith standards as bars of judgement on others. We see it within the fellowship of believers – judgement on what others would wear to church or what they might do in their spare time. This judging of others is wide spread and I confess I have been part of the judgers from time to time.
The intention is good – to practice being set apart, that is different from “the world”. The intention shouldn’t be lost. But we are too often casual in our approach to holiness and to strict in our approach to people.
I was interested to see in Ed Stetzer’s twitter feed today this comment: “Some things churches love hurt their mission and hinder their call.”
Yes indeed. From the choice of music to how things are organized, to the time we meet, to the design of our buildings, to the way others live…we seem to be more inclined to comment than love. And of course Jesus spent a great deal of time illustrating, living out, speaking about love.
So here’s the challenge, when you’re tempted to comment – love, when you’re tempted to think what’s wrong – accept, when you’re tempted to criticize – praise.
Are you up for the challenge?