Daily Devotional for Monday January 27, 2003
A Higher Standard of Living
(1 Chronicles 29:5, Proverbs 23:26, Romans 12:1)
A higher standard of living. Each day in this Devotional, I deal with controversial, real life issues that we all face in this life. Many of these issues the church is reluctant to tackle. My goal each day is to deal with these issues from a Biblical perspective. Most who respond are most kind and appreciative of the Scriptural context these issues are put in. However, there are always those who get enraged at what I say, and send vicious emails how I just don't get it.
You see my friend, God gave us freewill to make choices. He decided NOT to make us simply robots who would love Him, serve Him, obey Him, but make that an act we choose to do on our own, out of our love for Him. It was this freewill that God gave us that allowed satan and 1/3 of the angles to rebel against God. It was this freewill that God gave us that allowed Adam and Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden. It is this freewill that God gave you and me that allows us to make decisions throughout the day to obey, or rebel against God.
The problem with freewill is that it allows us to ignore the Absolute Truth God gave us in His Word. It allows us to ignore the black and white reality of right and wrong. The Bible in places refers to how we are left to our "own imaginations". Those who choose to reject God's Word and the absolute truth it represents, basically decide themselves what is right and what is wrong. That is fine, but since we all have freewill, what is right to you, may be wrong to someone else. And what is wrong to someone else, may be right to you. Do you see the chaos this creates?
Unless there is a standard, unless there is a guide, what is right and wrong becomes something each person decides for themselves. That is one reason God gave us His Word, so that we would have the black and white of ABSOLUTE TRUTH to guide us in our journey.
The issue that I want to deal with today, is that as Christians, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been called to a higher standard of living. When I deal with issues like sex, alcohol, forgiveness, serving others, so many just don't realize that as Christians we have been called to live a higher standard of life. Those great heroes of faith recorded in Hebrews chapter 11 understood that we are NOT citizens of this country, but of another country!
While for this season we are in this world, we are no longer OF this world once we commit our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ. I am in no way saying we are to separate ourselves from this culture we live in. Quite the opposite. Jesus said we were to be the "salt of the earth", the "light of the world". However, we must never forget that as believers, we are called to a higher standard of living.
Many scoff at the Biblical example Christ set when He said if we lust in our heart we have already sinned. My friends, yes, the sex drive, hormones, emotions, are all very normal. But God created us above the animals. We are not to be slaves to our natural drives, but to be in control of them. God has given us the power over our flesh, over our natural, carnal desires. To deny this is to deny the power of God that resides within you. We can love others. Not in our own strength, but in the strength God gives us. We can forgive those who treat us wrong. Not in our own strength, but in the strength God gives us. We are here to serve others, not to be served as the world would like us to believe. We can not do that not in our own strength, but in the strength God gives us.
You see my friend, as a follower of Christ, as a Christian, we have not only been called to a higher way of living, but given the power to do it!!!!
The fact is, when we surrender ourselves to live a higher life, a life God has called us to, we are blessed above and beyond all we could ever imagine. Not always in earthly blessings, but in REAL blessings. Peace, contentment, joy. I promise you, I know people right now, with all the resources this world can offer, who would give a million dollars for just an hours worth of peace. An hours worth of real joy. You can't buy these things. They are not for sale. And they only come from living a life God has called His children to live. So many are afraid of "missing out". The only thing you gain from rebelling against God is some temporary pleasure, that always leaves you wanting more. Temporary happiness, that turns quickly to pain. You sell out the real things of God, for the momentary gratification of this world that quickly turns into dark despair. Blessings follow our obedience to God, pain and heartache ALWAYS follow rebellion.
I love you and care so much for you. One of my goals each day is to help you live the high calling God has called each of us to. We must never forget that we are different. We are special. Our personal relationship with Christ is what makes us special. It is something the lost of this world can not comprehend. Because of His love for us, because of that special relationship, we have been called to live a higher life during our brief journey here. We must never forget that it is NOT our life, but our life belongs to Him.
We are called to die to self daily, so that HE may live through us. This is a daily process that we all must go through. But it is because of this daily process of dying to self so that Christ can live through us, that we can live the higher life He has called us to live. We don't have to be like the lost of the world, but we can set the example for them. We don't have to give in to the lusts and carnal pleasures that only destroy peoples lives, but live above them and enjoy the real blessings of God's peace, love, happiness, and joy.
Please know that I will be praying for you today. Praying that you will take these words seriously today. Realize today, maybe for the first time how special you are to the Lord. Realize today, maybe for the first time that as Christians, we are called to live a higher life than the lost around us. It is in living this higher life that the hurting, the hopeless, the lost of this world will ask us what is so different between our life and theirs. It is than that we can share with them the hope and love we have in Christ Jesus. As followers of Christ, we are called to a higher standard of living. Let us live for Him each day and proclaim to this world through our very lives that He is the way, the truth and the life!!!!!
In his love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller