“And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more [displaying itself in greater depth] in real knowledge and in practical insight, so that you may learn to recognize and treasure what is excellent [identifying the best, and distinguishing moral differences], and that you may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ [actually living lives that lead others away from sin]” Philippians 1:9-10 (AMP).
I did not specifically intend to write this particular post today. In fact, I had begun three posts prior to this one … and that was just this week. Those three posts, however, never “grew legs” and are now sitting in my drafts folder silently mocking me. Because I am what one might call a well-practiced “why seeker” (some might even consider me to be at a professional level), I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to analyze why I could not finish what I had started. Were they not the right messages for the time? Were they not inspired? Were they intended to be part of a larger post? In my frustration, I finally chalked it up to good, old-fashioned, writer’s block. Now that I have succumbed to the guilty pleasure of labeling it, I can dust off and move on.
Something happened to rile me this morning and inspire this post. I logged onto social media. There, I read a staggering number of thoughtless or hate-filled posts (not to mention all of the commenters or sharers readily jumping on the “hate wagon” only to spread more negativity). I will be the first to admit that I am, by no means, perfect. In fact, I am far from it and have spent my fair share of time rolling around in life’s pig pen. However, Ephesians 4:30 says, “[and] do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption” (NLT). Foul talk, idle words, and foolish jests grieve the Holy Spirit. So as not to grieve him, we should avoid expressing opinions about things for which we have no responsibility. At the very least, we should check our motives before doing so.
I desperately desire to grow up and to practice what I preach. So, to settle those raw, negative emotions sparked by the social media posts, I prayed. I quickly found a burning desire to transform them into what I pray will be a powerful, conviction-filled message. Please note that I said, “conviction-filled,” and not, “condemnation-filled.” There is a difference.
I have titled this post, “Draw a Line, Live Above It” because that has been a motto of mine for many years and I believe the title aptly describes the intended message. What this maxim means to me is finding your moral/ethical baseline and consistently living above it. In other words, you live with integrity and well above what you find even morally/ethically questionable. God has called us to be people of excellence and integrity (see 2 Peter 1:3, “[f]or His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence”(AMP)). We should live our lives before God … to please Him … and not for human applause or back patting.
The time has come for us to stop living out our Christian lives only in church on Sundays. Imagine, if you will, a fence dividing God’s Kingdom and the world. How many of us sit perched upon that fence not choosing a side? Worse yet, how many of us stand firmly in God’s Kingdom on Sundays, but cross over the fence to spend Monday through Saturday living in the world? When we hear God’s Word, we become accountable. We must do what the Word tells us to do … every day … even when no one is looking.
Certainly, our admittance into Heaven is secured once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. What I am asking you to consider, however, is whether sneaking in Heaven’s “backdoor” is good enough for you. Are you satisfied living a “barely get by” Christian life? I am not. I want to dance through those pearly gates and take many others with me.
In talking with many nonbelievers over the years, I have learned there is nothing more offputting to them than a hypocritical Christian. People do not listen to what we say. They do not want or need us quoting the Bible and then living like heathens. Frankly, it is disingenuous and wrong. Instead, people watch what we do. They want to see how it is we live our daily lives. Let us, by living our lives like true Christians, make nonbelievers hunger for what it is we have and they are missing. God! I encourage you all to live with integrity and excellence. I hope you are inspired to draw your line and live above it.
© 2016 by Kelli Hammond Mills. All rights reserved.