Friday, October 24, 2014

How to Avoid Feeding the Stomach But Losing the Soul


Read and Contemplate 1 Peter 2:11-12.

In our efforts to be "in the world", we face a constant temptation to become indistinguishable from the world.
One must be careful that in pursuit of being relevance, the true distinctness of faith is not lost. Because an externally-focused life requires loving the people in the world (particularly those who are "hard to love") it can be easy to get so caught up in social causes that the gospel is lost.
It is right, appropriate, and incumbent on the church to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners, and comfort the oppressed. However, it would be better for those people to enter the kingdom hungry, naked, and captive than for them to be full, clothed, and free but miss the kingdom.
The other side of this coin is that Christians can sometimes, in an effort to bring change to the world, become so politically entrenched that the lines between God's kingdom and the political parties become impossible to see (this happens on all sides!).
We must take great care as we seek to enact the mission of Jesus, that it not lose the Gospel of Jesus!

A template for externally-focused living is found in 1 Peter 2:11,

“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

Externally-Focused Christians:

  • Understand their identity -- Aliens and Strangers Understand their identity
  • Embrace their location -- in the world Embrace their location
  • Live Appropriately -- abstain from sinful desires Live Appropriately
  • For the sake of the Kingdom -- they may...glorify God on the day he visits us.
Instead of separating ourselves, by abstaining from the world, we need to cautiously abstain from sin, not the world. That is the heart of externally-focused living.

Today: Focus your energy on serving someone you don’t know. Imagine what Jesus would do for that person, then do it.

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