Monday, December 5, 2011

Personal Responsibility





Scripture

How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.
(Psalms 119:2 NASB)
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
(Ephesians 5:1 NASB)
and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
(Ephesians 5:2 NASB)

Observation

God is gracious in His love for humanity. His prevenient grace reaches out to each and every single one of us, but there is a human response which is required. We must take hold of that which is offered to us, and once we have taken hold, we must continue to seek the One who has reached out to us. Over and over again we are told to seek Him, to seek His face, to desire to know Him with all of our being! Responding to His grace is simply the first step in a life-long journey, of a relationship with our God of holy love. There is something synergistic that happens when one is engaged in the relationship with God, when one has their eyes fixed on Him. There is a desire to imitate the One who stands before us. That is why we become imitators of God, we walk in love, and our lives become a sacrifice to Him. At the same time, through imitation we are actually transformed into His very image and likeness. We are His children, and the world begins to see Christ in us as we continue to walk this journey in His grace.

Application

There is much talk these days about the grace of God which often times lacks the need for human response to that grace. Paul didn't tell his followers to "keep on sinning so that grace would abound." No -- he told people to stop sinning and to become imitators of Christ. We are asked to put something into the relationship or equation. Many of us don't like the idea of discipline, whether we're talking about self-discipline or spiritual discipline. However, it is when we begin to discipline ourselves that we begin to look like disciples! Human effort, when placed under the power of God's grace has exponential results.

This passage in Ephesians included a long list of behaviors to avoid. We don't really like those lists anymore but the reality is that we must create some boundaries for our lives. If we are going to be imitators of Christ, what does that mean for us? What are we going to do with our free time? Where are we going to hang out? What kind of jokes are we going to tell? How are we going to spend our money? How many people are we willing to help today? How much time are we willing to spend daily in God's holy presence?

Discipline is not a fun word, but it is our human response and responsibility. Let's jump on board and seek Him with all our being! It was once said of John Chrysostom, a great church leader of the 4th century that he "genuflected with his whole being." Shouldn't that be our desire? That every facet of our lives would be surrendered wholeheartedly to God on high -- seeking Him and His face every moment of the day!

Prayer

Lord, my desire is to step into Your holy grace today as an imitator of Christ. Amen.

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