Friday, December 9, 2016

Fight the Good Fight of the Faith: Fighting in Ordinary Life

As we have gone through to book of Joshua, we have been talking about living this Christian life and fighting the battles of this life--fighting the good fight of the faith (1 Ti. 6:12). And, while this book has given us a lot of great teaching from God on the Christian life, it certainly cannot cover it exhaustively. One particular part of this Christian life that we have not addressed because it does not come out of the text of Joshua is vocation--our calling in this life; what God would have us do as our career in this world. But, in God's providence, He has had Ed Stetzer of Christianity Today start a two-part series on it called: "Jesus on the Job: How Faith Mixes With Work." Part 1 is up, and it is a great start. I would particularly recommend you watch the video at the bottom. It is about six minutes, and it is a great, short explanation of how God calls His people to all sorts of vocations in this world and all are equally valuable, necessary, and dignified for the people of God. (Edit: Since I wrote this devotional as an email to my church, the second part of the series was posted.)

The article and the video are a good counter and cure for bad theologies that are being spread through the Church these days--theologies that say if do not do something "radical" or "missional" for God, then what we do is not honoring to God; is not good enough. Nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of God's people are called to glorify Him through ordinary, mundane, faithful lives, and this pleases God far more than chasing a new, radical legalism. One quick example: read the book of Ephesians through in one sitting some time, and I think you will notice this. The first three chapters are an incredible, God-exalting exposition of the supremacy of Christ, the glories of God's eternal plan of redemption, and how Jesus came into this world to redeem a people for Himself. It is an amazing and glorious exposition of God's grace that is difficult to rival, even in the rest of inspired Scripture. After that, in chs. 4-6, Paul tells us how to respond as God's redeemed people. After telling us of the incredible, radical grace of God, if Paul were a modern preacher, he might have told us that this means we all need to give all our money away, become missionaries, go to seminary, or do something like that.

But, no. What does Paul say under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? What does he tell us to do after giving an imcomparable exposition of God's amazing grace? He tells us to live with one another in patience (4:2), to grow in Christ (4:13-22), to work hard (4:28), to watch our speech (4:29-5:4), to be kind to each other (4:28), to be sexually pure (5:3-7), to walk in light (5:7-17), not to get drunk (5:18), to give thanks together (5:20), to worship together (5:19), to model our marriages after Christ and the Church (5:22ff), to love our children (6:4), children to obey their parents (6:1-3), employees to work hard for their employers (6:5-9), and to fight against the attacks of the devil (6:10-20). Huh... that sounds like an ordinary Christian life to me.

It sounds like living the Christian life for the glory of God in whatever He has called us to do in this world, and it sounds like whatever that is, we can glorify God in it by striving to be Christlike at home, at work, and at church. It sounds like what Paul says to Timothy later on in 1 Ti. 2, where he tells Timothy to pray for leaders and government, and the result of that prayer is that Christians might "lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." That is not really "radical" or "missional" according to these new theologies being taught today. In fact, it is quite ordinary, but it is God-glorifying and what God calls us to as His people in this world.

For some more resources on living a God-glorifying life in whatever vocation/work He has called you to do without creating a new legalism, I would recommend these books:
I hope they bless your soul and help you to glorify and enjoy God in your ordinary life where you live, work, and worship. 

By His Grace,

No comments: