As a Christian you have a call to a different lifestyle – it’s a lifestyle change that invites immediate accusations of hypocrisy because being what and who you can be is so visible.
If you say something that, “is not very Christian” before your heart convicts you the ‘helpful’ non-Christian will have quickly drawn your notice to it! Notice though, that I said that it’s about, ‘who and what you can be’ and not what you should be.
There is a difference, and it is one that others may not fully understand or appreciate. The Christian life is one of transformation. It is a process. Transition takes time and doesn’t happen all at once. The qualifier for us is that we are in Christ, and it is His righteousness imputed and imparted to us which gives us acceptance with God, not what we have done, or any of our own goodness or virtue. If it ever becomes about us, what we do, think or say – then it literally becomes about us. We never earn our way into heaven. It starts with purity of heart, and ends with that too.
My friends, Stephen and Charlotte are good at home-comfort cookery, including making jam and marmalade. I am told that when it comes to making jam that the secret is to ensure that the jars are kept sterile during the process. This stops the loveliness contained in the jar from being infected and spoiling.
It’s no different for us. During the Passover the Jews ensure that all leaven is removed from the house and is rigorously sought out, and with much effort and diligence. Just the smallest bit of leaven will affect everything. (Galatians 5:9, 1 Cor 5:7) The message was not so much to give the house a jolly good spring-clean, but to speak volumes to the human heart. We have to watch out for the things that pollute it.
A default position
For me that can often prove inconvenient. My default position is not righteousness. I have to remember to ‘put on Christ’, to love God and others, to consider them before myself. I’ll never be perfect in this life, but the bible tells me to be perfect even as Christ is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) What then am I to do in response to that?
It’s a call to remember who I am in Christ and what He has done for me in giving His life for me, reconciling me to God on His terms, and not my way of doing things. It gives me hope. If God has started something in my life, then it is His prerogative to continue and complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
Guard your heart
My part in it, as is yours, is to guard my heart and give myself to a lifestyle of cooperation with him, embracing the change and transformation that draws me ever towards not only what I can, or should be in God, but what I want to be. (Proverbs 4:23)
It’s worth the work. Stephen and Charlotte know that full well – if they have put the work in preparing the jars then what they put in them will be enjoyed by so many others.
And the delight that others show when they taste the fruit is well worth it!