Anyone who believes that living the Christian faith is easy has never truly grappled with the daily tensions between truth and grace.
Applied faith is simple. But easy? No.
On Sunday my pastor said that true wisdom is living “the character of God in all situations”. Talk about a challenge.
Obviously, believers will fall short of this mark. Likely, it will happen on a daily basis. Yet, it must be our aim. Grace removes the permanent consequences of our sin it doesn’t remove the goal of Godliness.
Life has so many battle metaphors for a reason.
Fight, struggle, contend, defeat, charge, engage, duel, scuffle, combat, confront, retreat.
We live in a world at war internally, with strife among its occupants and externally, with its eternal destiny.
Given that reality we have a choice.
Withdraw or Rally.
To withdraw is to live emotionally dis-engaged. Fighting for the bare minimum (or in many cases, nothing at all). Apathetic. Surviving but not thriving. Some have never been taught how to fight. Their withdrawal is not a choice but a cage. My heart goes out to them – I’ve been there. Yet, part of maturity, part of healing is engaging in battle. So many stop short at salvation or self-awareness and never find themselves at war.
At war for what is good. At war for truth. At war for human rights. At war for justice. At war for Holiness.
To rally is to assemble for a cause that’s bigger than you or me as individuals. To represent, live and die for something great.
If your cause is Christ your way will be hard.
You will need to die to a lot. I will need to die to a lot.
To easy living. To reputation. To lust. To pride. To selfishness. To comfort. To fear. Those who are alive will need to die daily. Repeatedly.
It’s so easy to choose the convenient thing, to stay at home. Would we live differently if we really believed that every chance for battle is a chance for victory as well as defeat?
We need to stop fighting for the popularity of our worldview. We were told by Christ himself that his words of truth would bring division, persecution and loneliness. Our time is better spent fighting for lives to be restored in the midst of a broken world.
The beauty, the unimaginable beauty of faith in Christ, is that restoration does not demand our painful circumstances change. He changes us in the midst of them. He gives us grace to fight our own battles of lust and self and the Divine courage to see outside ourselves and serve the wounded.
Every second of life doesn’t feel like a battle. I’m very grateful for that. Yet, we cannot afford to forget that every second is lived in a world at war. That we are called to a high standard.
Weighing daily decisions against the bar of truth and grace takes time. It takes knowing Christ. It takes prayer. It takes identifying times when sacrifice is required and times when boundaries should not be permeated. It takes knowing God so we can recognize His wisdom. It’s living braced by His courage when we know we must walk somewhere alone.
It takes so many things available to us only through Christ.
Thank God they are ours in abundance and inexhaustible supply.