Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One does not have to go back very far in history to recognize that the pastor was once a highly esteemed and respected figure in society. Yet today, the pastor, I would venture to bet, is barely on par with a car salesman. Why is this the case today in our 21st century post modern culture?

I think it is because we as Christians (those who are truly regenerate and those who claim the title “Christian” but who are truly unregenerate) do not live a life that is worthy of the calling to which we have been called (Phil 1:27; Eph 4:1; Col 1:10; 1 Thess 2:12).

Take one of these verses for example: Paul’s prayer for the Colossians is “that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10).

If we truly took this verse to heart and we, as born-again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, would truly make it our passionate pursuit in life to walk worthily of the Lord. Remember the biblical concept of walking is the idea of a lifestyle, a pattern, a consistent habitual course of action. In other words, a “Christian’s” life is to be characterized by the reality of walking worthily of the Lord.

What does that mean? Paul continues by elaborating so we are not in need to speculate. He says that this means that we:

(1) please him in all respects. Not in some ways. Not when we feel like it. Not only when we’ve had a full night of sleep and feel rested. Not only when we have had a meal and are energized to live for him. This means that we make it our conscious determination in life to please God in everything that we do (cf. 1 Cor 10:31; Col. 3:17, 23).
(2) bear fruit in every good work. We bear fruit as we live to the glory of God. We can bear fruit by discipling others. We can bear fruit by consciously remembering that we must remain (though it is a dual responsibility – both the divine and human) in the vine, namely, Jesus Christ. We are to bear fruit in every good work. This cannot be done in a half effort, lazy attitude going through life. Rather, this takes a deliberate desire to serve God to the maximum and accomplish the most for His glory and His glory alone.
(3) increase in the knowledge of God. This does not come by the bible sitting on the shelf throughout the week. This requires diligent study. It requires pouring into the Word of God to find the deep truths of God so that we can be transformed by the Spirit of God. This is what Paul intends to get across to the believers in the city of Colossae. That means picking up a theology book and seeking to plunge the depths of both the riches and wisdom of God that are revealed in the pages of Scripture. This is a lifelong endeavor. It will never be exhausted. May we be men and women who study diligently and regularly the Word of God so that we may be approved and growing in the knowledge of God.

If we as protestant, evangelical, Christian people would understand and be gripped by this reality, our lives would be radically different. This difference would thus invoke persecution. It would beg for suffering. It would beg for ostracizing. Yet God is faithful. What are we afraid of? Why would one not want to give their life to serving God and being the man that God has determined to be his representative in our culture. May we seek to live lives that are different. May we be those who are respected in our culture; those who are revered; those who are looked up to; those who model their lives after; those who seek to pray for; those who long to imitate. May it never be said of us that we – as Christians – are no different than a car salesman. Let’s transform our world. This can be done with one soul that is willing to be wholly submissive to the will of God. May we set our affections on this. God help us.

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