So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you...
...Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
This is another passage like 1 Corinthians 13. One that haunts me. One that I can hold up next to my life and see how I don't measure up. I know not everyone has this same reaction, but I bet I'm not the only one. I'm not really sure how you can read this (and the rest of 12, 13 and 14-which you can read here) and not feel at least a little inadequate? It's good to set a high bar. Lot's of room for continuous improvement.
Also, do you ever have one of those times where you actually stop one of those selfish things that you do, and you realise that it's actually like a drug. It's a pain-killer. Sometimes, when I stop indulging my selfishness, I end up having a day or two of feeling low. My selfishness screams to be indulged, and if it can't have one thing it's shout for another. Pigging out, getting drunk, intimacy. I get grumpy. I get sad. I get moody. I don't know what to do about it!
Perhaps there is more to this. Maybe it's time to stop masking the problem, and try to find some real, lasting satisfaction. Some contentment. The things that we do that we feel that we can't live without. Perhaps, they are actually keeping us from feeling our need, and therefore doing something to RESOLVE it.
This passage above does seem to fit nicely with what I've already written about 'Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh' (Galatians5:16 NIV)
The problem is, it seems very easy. Easy to understand at least. I don't find it easy to implement Things like impatience, immaturity and self-discipline get in the way. Also, I just plain forget what it is that I'm supposed to be trying to do. That very problem is something that Romans 12-14 is actually very useful for.
However, if we're setting ourselves a(nother) long list of tasks, we're missing the point again.So, maybe we want to live well, so all we need to do is make sure we follow all these rules.
That is not what it says.
GOD brings out the best in us. WE don't bring this goodness TO GOD, HE BRINGS IT ALL TO US. By what God is and what He does FOR US. Walk by the Spirit and (THEN) you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Emphasis added)
So. For those of you who, like me, would like some more of this in your life. Let's not give ourselves rules and rules to try to stick to. Let us instead do as is suggested.
Carry on living our lives, doing the things that we already do, but make it an offering to God. Not just the special times, but ALL the time. The ordinary. Fix our attention on him. When we realise he's asking us to do something, then actually do it. Without delay. If we just involve him like this, then we will change, and those things listed, that 'good way of living' will grow in us. That's what well-formed maturity is.
Now, all I have to do is do this. To continue to do it, and hopefully remember that I've written it down here when I realise that I've forgotten.