Viewing entries tagged
Christian Conduct

Christian Conduct in an Ever-Changing World Part 2 - The Heart of the Matter

Christian Conduct in an Ever-Changing World Part 2 - The Heart of the Matter

Imagine a barrel full of water.  As long as the barrel is sitting level and stable on some plain surface, the water will stay inside.  Undisturbed, the water can stay inside the barrel indefinitely.  Now take that barrel and begin to tussle it about.  The more you tilt the barrel, or the more violently you shake it, the more water will begin to spill.

So too are our lives.  We are all full of something.  Love, hate, bravery, fear, compassion, apathy.  As long as our lives are stable we can choose to keep what’s in us safe and sound on the inside.  As believers in Jesus we are asked by Him to be filled with good and then to let that good out.  Whether we follow that request or not remains in our own power as long as all is at peace.  Take our lives and tussle them about, and just like the water spilling from the barrel, all that is within us will spill out onto the world around us.

All too often we are quick to measure the morality of the world around us by it’s actions.  We look at the things people do to determine their “goodness” or badness".  We see the water spilling not realizing that these actions are not the true measure but only a result.  A result of the condition of the heart.

The disconnect here is that we are often times far too quick to pass judgement on others without looking at the condition of the water spilling from our own lives.  As we observe change taking place, especially change that we do not agree with, our own lives become more unstable.  Our own water begins to spill out.  At times this water is filled with Diligence, Kindness and Generosity.  Other times the water is full of apathy, anger and selfishness.  We sometimes respond to cultural changes with violence and hate and then call it a moral or righteous or even a Godly standard.  We disapprove of the dirty water we see in others all the while ignoring what is spilling out of our own lives.  And in so doing we ignore our own hearts.

I’ve mentioned three types of actions that I believe can mark our Christian Conduct in an Ever-Changing World.  To change what spills out of us we must first change what we put in.  To change our actions we must first change our hearts.  To allow Diligence to spill out, we must first be full of Hope.  To allow Kindness to spill out, we must first be full of Love.  To allow Generosity to spill out, we must first be full of Gratitude.

Take a look around you.  What is spilling out of your life?  What would you like to spill out?  If the water from your life is refreshing to others, then great.  Share that water.  If your water is toxic then you must take a look at the source.  You must examine your heart.

Christian Conduct in an Ever-Changing World Part 1

Christian Conduct in an Ever-Changing World Part 1

image

“The 21st Century has begun as an era of uncertainty, with a heightened focus on security and public safety.” Gavin Newsom, California Lt. Governor

Never more have these words been more true.  Almost everyday our news headlines are peppered with posts of rapid and significant change.  Foreign nations who were once our enemies are now our friends.  Historically friendly nations are taking paths of opposition.  Small militant groups are gaining power and influence through the harshest of tactics.  The world as we know it is altogether different, every day.

Our very understanding and framework of morality is shifting like sand with modern culture. Even in our own neighborhoods, flags are being changed.  Marriage laws and definitions are changed.  Even the general mood towards our police and military are rapidly changing.  Those who we once viewed as protectors are often times shown as aggressors. 

As we wrestle through these ever changing cultural dynamics, I continue to hear many people trying to answer one simple question: How then should I live in this new world?

"Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide"

Photo Copyright Doug Mills, The New York Times

News reports, blog posts, social media outbursts (all seemingly louder than before) broadcast the myriad of opinions, evaluations and criticisms.  Especially for people of faith, it seems, the outcry of the “new standard or morality” is more apparent than ever.

I, like many of you, have my opinions as a man of faith.  I believe in Jesus the Messiah, I also believe that there are appropriate and inappropriate ways in which we can and, dare I say, should conduct ourselves.  After all, as Christians we do still represent someone else.  

Let us not be too quick to forget that before we are of our family or of this great nation or of our local church, we are indeed of Jesus.  We first and foremost represent Him and His Kingdom.  How would He want our behavior and our responses to culture to be and to sound?  What would He want us to say to the jihadist or the racist or the rebel or the same sex couple?  What would He want to be said to us?

I, like so many others, believe these are both exciting and intimidating times.  The days are full of change and opportunity.  Now, maybe more than ever before, we have a chance of fulfilling our King’s final commission to take His Gospel to the whole world.  How we will carry that Gospel has become a significant question.  I can not say that I agree with many of the answers I’ve recently heard.  Likewise, You may not agree with me.

Over the next several blog posts I will share a few thoughts on these issues.  A few ideas that I find in Scripture and in the lives of those I respect.  I believe we have three primary calls of conduct in an ever-changing world: Diligence, Kindness and Generosity.

Your list may be longer or shorter than mine.  I don’t claim to have an exhaustive list here.  I do believe that most of what needs to be said as Christians in this world can be wrapped up in these three types of actions.  I do believe we can gain greater influence in this world by mastering these three character traits.  I also believe that we can actually reach the whole world with the Gospel of Jesus by living a life full of Diligence, Kindness and Generosity.  After all, the Gospel message itself is marked by these three ideals.

Maybe, together, we will find the answer to the question of appropriate Christian Conduct in an Ever-Changing World.

*Photo Copyright Doug Mills, The New York Times