A Personal Higher Standard

1 Cor. 10:23-24 ”You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is helpful. You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t think only of your own good. Think of others and what is best for them.”

You have probably heard these words spoken somewhere along the road of life. “…for everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required…” You may or may not have known that these are words are from scripture – Luke chapter 12:48.

You are a Christian and that happened because you made a personal choice and decision. You made the decision and personal choice to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. The moment you made that decision, the opportunity for your life to take a radical change in direction happened. As to whether that radical change happened was and still is up to you. When you made the to decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart, God immediately washed your sins away, filled you with His Holy Spirit, and a change began to work within you. To the degree that you pursued God from that point is the degree of change you experienced. At no time does God usurp your will or make you do anything. He is there to help you to the degree you pursue Him, learn of Him, and ask Him to help you. He will always try to influence your heart to follow Him and let you know of His love, even if you act cold toward Him.

The moment we become a Christian, we receive something greater than any gift ever given to mankind – the privilege of intimately fellowshipping with God. If that wasn’t enough, we’ve been given the promise of eternal life. If that wasn’t enough, we’ve been given precious promises of protection, provision, of wisdom and of help from God that are accessed by our faith. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve been given God’s love and power to transform out thinking, our character, and how we walk out life, but even more importantly, to touch others with God’s love. We’ve been made ministers of reconciliation.

2 Cor. 5:17-18 put it like this. “…those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to Himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the ministry of reconciliation – the position of reconciling people to Him.”

This means that we have been given the privilege of representing Jesus Christ through our daily lives and lifestyle. This means that when we call ourselves “Christians” we are acknowledging that we are up for public scrutiny and that our example of what we think and say, and what we do will represent to others whom Jesus is. If you are anything like me, when I first became a Christian, that scared the begeebers out of me and made me want to never tell anyone I was a Christian. I was afraid I would improperly represent the Lord and I didn’t want to do that.

That fear was one day obliterated by the words of Luke chapter 12 –  “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” – that made me think about the privilege of being a Christian and the responsibility to step up to the calling. I could not live my life by fear of failure. I would sometimes fail God by being a poor representative – BUT I HAD TO TRY!

That was when today’s Fresh Manna verse where the Apostle Paul teaching about not becoming a stumbling-block to others became a revelation to me. It called me to live to a higher standard because others watch and imitate. ”You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is helpful. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t think only of your own good. Think of others and what is best for them.”

I came to the realization that others would use my carnal and sinful moments as an excuse to live the same way. Was I swearing? Then it was okay for them to swear because Tim’s a Christian and he swears. Was I drinking alcohol? Then it was okay for them to drink alcohol, because Tim’s a Christian and he drinks alcohol (which I don’t and didn’t from the moment I discovered this going on.) Was I engaging in inappropriate activities of any kind? Then it was okay for them to do so because Tim’s a Christian and he does these things. Of course only some were actually thinking like this but I realized I had been given the privilege of helping people reconcile to God, not cause them to stumble and stay in their old ways. That was unacceptable to me. I had to examine and change my ways so I wouldn’t be a stumbling block to others!

As a Christian, God gives us boundaries for living but not the “law” of the Old Testament. He says there is a higher “law.” It’s called the royal law of love. It transcends “laws” because it’s not about “what can I legally get away with?” It’s about “from a position of love and caring, how can I live my life God’s way the best I can to be a light and example and blessing to others?” It’s a selfless lifestyle motivated by love – not personal selfishness and self indulgence. James 2:8 says, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.”

Over the years, I have found that there has been much I do and don’t do because of the example it sets for others. Should I really worry about that? Well in examining that question, I remember the last half of today’s manna verse – “Don’t think only of your own good. Think of others and what is best for them.” It’s a higher way to live – the royal law of love!

In His Love,

Pastor Tim Burt
http://readfreshmanna.blogspot.com/

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.