Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The Dos and Don'ts of a Christian Life

In gearing up his readers to think of their lives in a war-time mindset for the Kingdom, John Piper writes, "In wartime we ask different questions about what to do with our lives than we do in peacetime. We ask: What can I do to advance the cause? What can I do to bring the victory? What sacrifice can I make or what risk can I take to insure the joy of triumph? In the peacetime we tend to ask, What can I do to be more comfortable? To have more fun? To avoid trouble and, possibly, avoid sin?"

The problem with drifting into a peacetime mindset is that we stop living a life that desires to win as many as we can for Christ when we start to think of ourselves as citizens of this earth. Our sinful hearts defaults to satisfy our fleshly needs of what we want for ourselves, as opposed to what God wants for His kingdom. The temptation of this world lures with lies of the non-existence of the spiritual warfare, so comfortable and peaceful that we reduce the Christian life into a list of dos and don'ts, ie, avoid sin. In the past I have participated in legalistic discussions with other Chrisitans about how to live our lives. "Don't date a non-Christian." "Don't have sex before marriage." "Tithe regularly." This is legalism, that the human heart will try to push the boundaries as far as the bottom line of the rule to justify our own sinful actions. "I won't date a non-Christian but I can date a church-goer even though his fruit of the Spirit is not apparent." "I won't have sex before marriage, technically." "This money belongs to me and I am giving 10% to God." Whereas the more fruitful and life-changing discussion would've been, "Pursue Christ-likeness, love purity, set your hopes in heaven, put your treasures and wealth in heaven."

And I'm grieved by the Pharisaic nature of my sinful heart that distorts God's law and reduces it to a list of Bare-Minimum-I-Have-to-do-to-Be-a-Christian. It is not a surprise that I can't even keep to my self-constructed list of "dos and don'ts" because the real Motive behind these rules is far out of sight and out of mind.

Hence, I'm scrapping those things on my list, and replacing it with this one, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

1 comment:

yemsee said...

Good stuff Erin

Legalism is always about 'what can I get away with' - total self-indulgent minimalism and hypocrisy

Obedience on the other hand is from faith. "What more can I do for my God who loved me first, and I now am learning to love. How can I obey everything He says down to the letter."