Life in context
by Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel –
One of the greatest challenges for the Christian is to live a life that is clearly in harmony with its context of the Christian faith. This requires a unique transparency that would allow public scrutiny of our deepest, most private secrets, should such scrutiny be imposed.
I am not advocating the lack of our right to privacy; I am saying that the Christian should live in such a way that should our innermost thoughts be exposed, they will be found to be in harmony with our Christian faith, simply because we are absolutely committed to a moment by moment walk with Christ.
The Christian faith requires an inner discipline of thought, word and deed, not that we might save our own souls (Christ has already accomplished that), but that we might touch the lives of others for his name’s sake.
Living a life that clearly demonstrates its context of the Christian faith is never accidental; nor does it come naturally with surrender to Christ. It is always a choice.
The ancient Hebrews would have considered it a heart thing: As one thinketh in his heart, so is he…(Prov. 23:7), since they considered the heart to be the seat of moral decision-making. These days we consider decision-making to be a cognitive function centered in the brain, though we continue to utilize the ancient symbolism when we speak of our deepest convictions as coming from the heart. No matter; heart or head, the choices we make are ultimately the expression of our innermost identity, and when we make those choices apart from the context of our faith we interfere with God’s efforts to be revealed to others through us.
Not only is living our lives in such a way as to clearly demonstrate a context of faith never accidental, it is also never easy. Throughout history, our fathers have been faced with situations wherein wrong choices were made, and their witness before God and man was damaged because of those choices.
Out of a desire to have what was not intended for them, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, and then to try to hide their disobedience from him. Abraham, out of fear for his own safety, chose to hide his marital status, and consequently caused Egypt’s pharaoh to sin before God. For whatever reason, Moses failed to follow God’s instructions, and was barred from the Promised Land. David allowed lust to blind him to his moral obligations to God and to those who looked to him for leadership, and both he and others suffered the consequences of his wrong choice. Peter, a dedicated follower of Christ, driven by fear and confusion, chose to deny his Lord, not just once, but three times!
According to the Scriptures, except for Jesus Christ himself every single follower of God has, at one time or another, fallen short of the Christian obligation to live up to the context of the faith we claim. Shameful? Yes! Fatal to our Christian witness? No, because our God is merciful and willing to forgive—but a clear warning to us all, and a clear and present danger to those who look to us to point them to the Christ whom we claim to serve.
In his love and grace, God has made possible our salvation through the shed blood of Jesus. Salvation is a choice. Commitment to God, to living our live in accordance with the context of the Christian faith, is also a choice made possible through the grace of our God. In His love, God has made it possible to please him, through faith. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6, NIV).
When our daily choices, our human responses to the human situation, are made in accordance with the context of the faith, they will honor God and prove our claims that pleasing him is the focal point of our existence. This can happen, but it will happen only as we make a conscious and consistent effort to choose, with God’s help, to make choices in concert with the context of the faith we claim.