Performing Our Best
There are many people in the world who have natural or what we often call "raw talent." Much of our modern media is obsessed with finding such raw talent. Through avenues such as SportsCenter, YouTube, The Voice, Master Chef, and even Dancing with the Stars. America is weekly searching and taking in some of the greatest raw talent this side of the globe.
These sensations are the role models for the current generation, but what of their character? Should we praise them in such high regard on performance alone? Do we even care about their character?
If we are honest, culturally and personally we really aren't concerned with virtue, character or discipline. The sweet delight of outward performance is intoxicating. True character and virtue that is attractive and inspiring is gone. As Christians how should we be thinking about virtue versus performance? Is virtue an outdated form of piety left over from the Puritans? Does character mean nothing anymore?
The New Testament just like the Old Testament is filled with exhortations to character. If we think rules and regulations are simply Old Testament and have been covered by the "Grace of God” then we've truly misunderstood the whole point of the power and beauty of the resurrection. A misunderstanding that is changing our daily lives.
Listen to this:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us that character, virtue, discipline is very important. In fact, Peter's language makes it vital to the Christian life. These bible verses tell us that those who trust in Christ are headed for the glory and excellence of Jesus Christ. We are headed for human wholeness. The New Testament makes it clear that this work has already begun. It began the moment you placed your trust in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ and were subsequently filled with the power and presence of his Holy Spirit.
Putting on the New Behavior of Life
Now the fun part begins. We are now on a life long journey of “working out our salvation.” Working to what we will be one day when we see Jesus Christ face to face. We are becoming new creations day-by-day. Putting off the old ways of thinking, speaking, and living we are putting on the new behavior of life in the Holy Spirit.
N. T. Wright calls this Resurrection life:
"The new life of strenuous ethical obedience, enabled by the Holy Spirit, to which the believer is committed.” I believe, in these dark times, that the Church needs to hear this call of the Holy Spirit and return to the true calling of the new covenant–to live out the life of Jesus. To be parables of Jesus. You are the light of the world! You are the salt of the earth. But if that light grows dim and if that salt loses it savor what is it good for? It is by our good deeds, by our character, that mission is made possible. Co-workers, employees, and employers, neighbors, friends, family are to see the virtuous life of the Spirit in us and as they do we can give an answer for the reason for the “living hope that is at work in our lives, with meekness and fear. Each follower of Jesus Christ is called to this: to reflect God’s own character back to himself–worship. And simultaneously to reflect God’s character out into the world–mission. We are called to a life of virtue. Christian, begin to become what you will be by God’s grace.
A Virtuous Life
Beginning Sunday, May 3 we will look into these things. Join us as we unpack Bible passages that speak of "a virtuous life." A virtuous life that is pleasing to God and a delight to the world.