Friday, February 04, 2011

Am I different?

I am currently reading through William Law's classic "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life," and through it I am being reminded of what faith that is true faith really looks like (Matthew 7:13-14).
It is still easy to call one's self a Christian in our country without facing much opposition.   But it is not easy, nor has it ever been, to actually be a Christian without facing opposition.   If you take Jesus' commands and actually try to live them, you will be schnubed or even hated. 

While our works could never make us right with God (only Christ's perfect and flawless works could do this), anyone who really knows God abandons, more and more, the things that displease Him.  Obedience to God's commandments and love for Him is one of the signs of true spiritual life.   Without these signs of life, we must assume someone is spiritually dead.  However, if we live in obedience to God's commands and ways, we will be a noticeably different kind of person, as much as a dead body is different than a living, breathing, walking person.

Consider William Law's brief description of how this difference might look (pardoning the old school language), and ask yourself (as I am asking myself), "Am I different?"

"If my religion is only a formal compliance with those modes of worship that are in fashion where I live; if it costs me no pains or trouble; if it lays me under no rules and restraints; if I have no careful thoughts and sober reflections about it, is it not great weakness to think that I am striving to enter in at the strait gate?

If I am seeking everything that can delight my senses, and regale my appetites; spending my time and fortune in pleasures, in diversions, and worldly enjoyments; a stranger to watchings, fastings, prayers, and mortification; how can it be said that I am working out my salvation with fear and trembling?

If there is nothing in my life and conversation that shows me to be different from Jews and heathens; if I use the world, and worldly enjoyments, as the generality of people now do, and in all ages have done; why should I think that I am amongst those few who are walking in the narrow way to Heaven?" (William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, iii). 

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