Lesson 12 -- Fourth Quarter 1992
November 22, 1992
© Copyright 1992, Christian Light Publications
Why should we strive for righteous living in all areas of life? Why does God require a life lived in harmony with His precepts? Why ought we to reflect God's attributes and standards? The rudimentary answer to these questions is the same: The life of the Christian reflects on his God. We can summarize three verses to say the same thing:
-- The invisible God is seen in His visible people (1 John 4:12).You can reflect two of God's attributes in some very practical ways!
-- The unity of God is seen in His united people (John 17:21).
-- The love of God identifies His distinctive people (John 13:35).
Purity. God wants you to make a purity pact with your eyes. You will purpose to not read anything that would contaminate your desires, language, ambitions, and thoughts. This pact with your eyes will affect more than your reading, it will affect how you look with them. What do you look at while walking down the sidewalk, standing in line at the check-out counter, sitting in the airport, or paging through a magazine?
Does your tongue flap with 100% purity? Too many Mennonites use the world's expressions, either flagrantly ("I won't put up with any more cr__!") or indirectly ("Sheesh!" as a substitute for "J__z!"). We also have a problem using good words with the wrong purpose--gossip, slander, railing, bitterness, and sexual innuendo. As the world becomes more liberal in the latter, some in the church become more daring. The thrills which such speech brings (particularly in a mixed setting) are temporary; the damage, long lasting and deadly.
Besides speech, your relationship to the opposite sex must be above reproach and built on rock-solid purity. You cannot afford to compromise on this one little bit. Friendliness and appreciation are not legitimate grounds for physical familiarity. A fellow can put his arm on another fellow's shoulder or touch his arm or tickle him or slap him playfully. He dare not conduct himself so with a girl. And girls need to be even more cautious in precipitating even casual physical contact with the fellows. Almost any sort of feminine contact works amazing physiological and psychological reactions in a fellow. Multiply that by a factor of at least 10 if the contact is deliberate.
Compassion. The Gospels use the word compassion with reference to Jesus at least 10 times. He had compassion on all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. Because He is so, we can be also.
We find it easier to laugh at drunks and report prostitutes than to feel crusading compassion for them. Somehow, the distate we feel for their lifestyle must be subjected to our compassion. Would you help a drunk get safely to his home or to a rescue mission? And visit him when he's sober? Would you buy a prostitute a good meal or pay for her doctor appointment? And get to know her personally? Let me inject a note of caution: let the men help the drunk and the ladies help the prostitute!
We have scores of opportunites to help suffering Christians around the globe. We feel a certain satisfaction (hopefully not pride!) at helping provide food parcels to a needy family somewhere. Then we gorge ourselves at a seafood buffet. Youth like pizza and Pepsi feeds. Would you substitute carrot and celery sticks and contribute the money saved to "charity"? We almost naturally feel compassion; however, few of us are moved by it into significant action.
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