Wednesday, May 25, 2011

worthy of the calling.

So Ephesians is rocking my world right now. Here's why:

All throughout Scripture, specifically the New Testament, Christ’s followers are called to be set apart, to be holy as He is holy.

We as His people have made that a pretty simple task. We’ve turned that calling into a list of do nots, and we think that if we can just obey those, if we can just follow those, then we’re good to go. That’s enough. We are good enough. 

Don’t curse.

Don’t drink.
Don’t have sex before you’re married.

Don’t lie.

Don’t cheat.

Don’t steal.

Don’t commit adultery.

Don’t miss church on Sunday.

What we forget is that we will never be good enough. No amount of curse-less speech or purity promises will make us good enough for our Savior. It’s by grace we’ve been saved, and this list? This list just helps us as we try to live a life worthy of our calling.

Unfortunately, I think we have a tendency to stop right there. We follow this list, and we think that’s enough to make us different. 

But what if instead of just…
…   cursing less, we praised more?

…   avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol, we gathered around our tables with the hard-to-love?

…   waiting to have sex, we set higher standards for dating and human relationships?

…   telling the truth, we stopped gossiping in Bible class and talking about people we don’t really know?

…   being honest in the way we conduct business, we helped others achieve their goals?

…   not stealing, we became content with our homes and our clothes and what we could actually afford?

…   not committing adultery, we entrusted our marriages to God and lived joy-filled existences with our spouses?

…   going to church every Sunday, we worshipped in our cars, at our jobs, in our relationships, in the every day living of our lives?

I think that list of do nots is a starting point. I think God calls us to avoid certain things, to guard our speech and our hearts and our minds. But I think this holiness business is far more than that list.

Sure, people might notice that my daily language is different from theirs. They may even respect it. But I think what they’ll be even more in awe of is a life wholly devoted to service, to contentment, to praise. Instead of stopping at that one, tiny list, why not go above and beyond?

God’s standard for us is greater than a list of do nots.

His desire for us is more than that.

That list can act as a starting point, perhaps useful for baby believers or beginners in the faith.

But a truly set apart and holy life isn’t only a list of do nots.

It’s a list of dos. It’s a call to love, joy, peace, patience...  The hard things, but the good things.

"I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

- Ephesians 4:1-3


Kristen said...

Doesn't all of that just seem like a more satisfying way to serve our Lord? I think so(:

Jennifer said...

So true. I wish the do list was more emphasized than the don't list growing up in church!

As usual, this is a fantastic post!

Jennifer said...

I really wish the to list was more emphasized than the don't list growing up in church. What if every Christian focused more on holiness in stead of just being "good enough"?

As usual, this is a fantastic post!

Staley Mc said...

This is a great post. Thanks! I needed something like this!

Megan Elizabeth said...

ephesians is my favorite book in the bible!
such a great post! i feel like too often Christ followers think it is like the list, do this, don't do that, and then end up missing so much. and non believers...if we could just get them to realize it's not a list! great post!!

Syd said...

Very beautifully said. I agree. There is so much more to DO than to DO NOT and the rewards are a rich, joyful life. Thank you for your great words. Your blog truly is inspiring!

Girly Muse said...

I agree 1, perfectly said.

Amanda said...

I love this. I echo what Syd said - we all seem to get so hung up on the "don'ts" that we forget that we have a whole lot of "do's" that are just as fulfilling and freedom-giving as the worldly things we're supposed to avoid.

Annie said...

i love this post, Annie. i feel what's emphasized so much in our churches is what not to do, when what we really need is a list of things to do. the call to live out the fruit of the spirit, to live out Christ's commission at the end of the gospel of mark. that's what we need to emphasize instead.

monster cakes said...

I love love love this. It's the heart behind the issue, not a list of "don't"! God is all about the heart, so why wouldn't it be that way? This was beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Martin said...

This is the best I've read on being holy and that passage in Philippians 4. Well said! I love the list of what we CAN do instead of what we are missing out on with the do nots.