Saturday, August 15, 2009

Life with God is free...

but to continue to run with God requires us to tap into the power for self-discipline that God gives through Christ.

Every sin of which I am aware which I have committed since turning back to Christ thirty-three years ago has been blowback from my failure in the area of self-discipline. I would get to taking God for granted and thoughtlessly cruise through my days thinking, not overtly, but at some level, "I'm a good person. I'm a Christian. I'm safe from temptation and sin," only to find myself doing and saying things that were sinful. I was too busy to pray. Too busy to read Scripture. Too busy to surrender my days, hours, and minutes to Christ. Too busy to care for my body by sleeping right, eating right, or exercising right.

Life with God is a free gift which all people can have by faith in Jesus Christ. Yet gratitude and a desire not to misuse and so, lose, that gift should compel us to a self-discipline that focuses on our life-giving God always.

Lutheran Old Testament scholar Ralph W. Klein, in comments on Proverbs 9:1-6, tomorrow's first lesson for many Christians in worship around the world, "The slogan 'God loves us unconditionally' is only half right. God loves us with the expectation and hope that love will transform us into believing and righteous people."

As I've explained many times here, Christians are never sinless this side of the grave. But when we fail to place all our faculties at God's disposal every day, we too easily veer off on paths far from God. Sin takes hold of our lives. The warning God gave to Cain, after Cain had murdered his brother Abel, holds true for us:
"...sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it." [Genesis 4:7]
That's why Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 are so important:
Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified. [1 Corinthians 9:24-27]
See today's piece from Our Daily Bread dealing with this passage, here.

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