Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Family Image

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore, I run in such a way, not as without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified." (I Corinthians 9:24-27).

When I was a child, I would be told to get cleaned up and put the cloths that were laying out for me on. Of course, I was quick about it. Everyone else seemed to take more time than I considered necessary. Usually, our reason for the entire family to be clean and well dressed was to attend a holiday meal at my Grandmother’s, across the street.

I would get tired of waiting for everyone. It seemed to take hours. So, I would go outside and completely defile myself. I would end up looking as if I just came in from playing a ball game and everyone else standing ready to go. So, the routine was adjusted, everyone else get ready, first. Then, I would be called in for my ten minutes of preparation.

Why all of the fuss?

Well, the family wanted to make an appearance that would serve as a representation of who we are. No one ever said, “This is the family image”. No. But don’t we all have ways of representing the family? Don’t we all want to be at our best on special occassions? Somehow, I just had this knowledge. If it were to speak to me, it might say, "When you are going to a function as a family, please don’t make a bad impression". So, as a child, I had to be trained to represent the family. When going to those family get-togethers, I had to be clean as my family was clean.

God calls us to the same issue. He calls us to represent His Family.

What point is there in accepting Christ’s offering of Himself as an atonement which makes us clean, only to turn around and become filthy?

Once we have begun to establish ourselves to God’s purpose, there should be no turning back. For those who are young and restless, it is anticipated that they will make mistakes. And even with little time left, those who are not ‘mature’ can turn and be clean.

It is the spiritually mature whom God expects a lot from. We come to a point of enlightenment. We realize what we have begun must be complete, or it is an offense to God.

God has given His Son so we may be clean and have the ability to ‘run a good race’, as Paul says in First Corinthians 9:24-27. Atonement gives us a fresh start. It is up to us how we finish.

My analogy is this: We’ve been made suitable to represent God as members of His Family. With that edge, we must continue to stay clean in our appearances, the way we live.

5 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

Usually, our reason for the entire family to be clean and well dressed was to attend a holiday meal at my Grandmother’’s, across the street

Lol, that is handy.

Once we have begun to establish ourselves to God’s purpose, there should be no turning back. For those who are young and restless, it is anticipated that they will make mistakes. And even with little time left, those who are not ‘‘mature’’ can turn and be clean.

We do make mistakes and sometimes we should be criticized. But, in my case, as I attempt to do God's will obediently, and philosophically/theologically consistently, I have come across some judgmental folks, many of them Christians, such as the recent Blog troll on satire and theology, that do not really want to know me well, but avoid me and judge me based on what they think I am like. There is a cost of seeking the Biblical God by his calling, imperfect as we are, and part of that cost is taking abuse from persons that harbour personal animosity and often are not willing to engage in reasonable prolonged discussion in which he or she may be shown to be in error in some way. Persons can accuse persons like us Jim, of being arrogant, but this is often not the case. Some persons see the gospel truth, but are doing God's will disobediently and wish to attack those of us God is guiding to do otherwise.

So, unfortunately a ministry slogan I have is to figuratively carry a Bible in one hand a club in the other. I am not repaying evil for evil but simply standing up for myself. I have not deleted my Facebook Blog Troll friend, although I morally would be justified in doing so, but I also will not take his abuse on-line again. Thankfully, I deleted his comments eventually as I should have at first.

Live and learn...

Russ:)

jeleasure said...

Russ,
I tend to let it fly with people who are offended by my Christianity. My discussions with people like that are as Christlike as 'I' am able to be. However, I will honestly say that I feel I have discovered what is most important to God. That is His cause to build His family and the defense of His family. I place this first in my discussions, before people get the idea they are going to say, I am being "judgemental" or not acting in love.

Aside from defense of God's Family, most things should be weighed by the unhealthy pride we cultivate over silly things.

One of my unhealthy pride scenarios that I have recognized early is the desire to not be transparent at work on issues of work. There is one person whom I have not had more than a few dozen sentences with. He is always nasty to me. And this, right from the beginning. So, I avoid discussing work with him because he 'seems to' always have a 'better way'.

I'd say the worst part of me is my feeling toward other drivers when I am on the road. There seems to be no common respect in the world today. People will definately always follow the law when it benefits them. They also take a mile when you give them an inch of courteousy.
I don't know how things are on the roads up there. But, down here, in Richmond Virginia, Red lights are only a suggestion and yellow lights mean speed up. This is not supposed to be this way. However, when there is not a cop around, people make up there own rules. We have a pandemic, here.
So, there are my worst faults.

thekingpin68 said...

I'd say the worst part of me is my feeling toward other drivers when I am on the road.

My struggle as well.

jeleasure said...

Hi Russ,
I guess I am not alone tonight in having to be surrounded by terrible driver.
I have to go to bed.
Good night.

Vicki said...

I can see you as a little boy trying so hard to stay clean and somehow getting distracted in your boredom to some bird, squirrel, or dog running across the lawn. And whamo! You are outside running around, sweating and picking up some dirt along the way. So inoscent and so guilty at the same time.

It's hard to comprehend mature Christians playing in the dirt, but this happens sometimes. What is to be done? Do we give up hope and continue to dirty ourselves without hope?

No, with true repentence, God graciously washes us clean through the atonement of the death of Jesus on the cross.

Blessings and Love, Jim darling.
Your Wife