So that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10
The earliest Christian writings emphasise human behaviour. Ignatius of Antioch writes, ‘It is right, therefore, that we not just be called Christians, but that we actually be Christians’. (Letter to the Magnesisans, 4) This is to live a life worthy of the Lord, our daily challenge.
I can reduce life to a set of performance targets, giving an impression of godliness but masking my struggles. Who wants their inner thoughts revealed to family and friends? Not that thoughts are sinful, yet they can prove harmful when entertained and allowed to give birth to aspirations and actions.
I live mostly inside my own head, so I all too readily treat Christianity as a code of behaviour. If I keep it, I imagine myself holy. But this doesn’t mean I’m happy. I find I must wrestle joyless internal feelings.
Whilst maintaining the letter of the law I fail to grasp its spirit. Indeed, I considered ditching my faith three years in. Why? Well because it was such hard work. I was seeking to be a disciple and hadn’t learnt that I needed to let go and let God.
I was helped by discovering that, like the Ephesian Christians, I’d been converted into the baptism of John for repentance, so I hadn’t heard of the Holy Spirit.
In desperation, and exhausted in every aspect of my humanity, I surrendered to prayer and received the Holy Spirit. Things didn’t get easier overnight. I remained the decision taker in all I thought and did. However, now I knew the presence of God in a fresh and compelling way.
The fruit from my life no longer needed to be manufactured through my own efforts. It was harvested from collaboration with the Spirit of God.
I have come to realise that nothing compares to knowing Jesus. This is now my sole objective in the years I have left to me.
Something to Consider: What strategies have you developed to manage your struggle with temptation?
An Action to Take: Read Romans 7:14–8:39 and note how it connects with your life experience.
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, thank You that there is absolutely nothing that can ever separate me from Your love.’
Photo by Fabrizio Frigeni on Unsplash
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