This life. When lived with Christ, every single aspect of who we are and what we do becomes set apart. Our marriages become more than two people living together. Our relationships become more than what we can get out of them. Our lifestyles and workplaces take on a deeper meaning. Right desires drive us and an eternal purpose becomes the reason for doing what we do.
Just like a marriage relationship, this life is one lived with God and for God and by the grace He gives. As followers of Christ, washed in the blood, sanctified, and made holy, everything we do becomes sanctified and made holy, as well. It is no wonder we are admonished to do all to the glory of God. Our work, our friendships, our marriages, our relationships, how we act, react, interact, what we say, think, and view - everything can be used to bring God glory so everything in our lives is to be set apart.
I think I am only beginning to realize the full extent and beauty of this truth and the freedom it gives - freedom to live counter culturally, freedom to claim the promises of scripture and decide this life will be more than what the world around us says it is, more than what the culture proclaims it to be. It sets us free to live in the beauty of God's grace in every area of this life - and to do it well.
I have come to realize something recently: we are in desperate need of men. No, I don't mean because there is a dearth in the dating scene. And I don't mean that there is some funky imbalance in the general populace. What I mean is this - we need guys of all ages to rise up and become the men God has called them to be. Men unashamed of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Men unafraid of loving their wives and families well. Men who will cultivate in themselves the disciplines of a disciple of Christ and help others to do the same. Men - real men.
For some unknown-to-me reason, now more than ever we are seeing a generation full of guys, but few men. Responsibility is being pushed off, passion and ownership of life are lacking, and the drive to do something great has become a vague and misunderstood concept that always appears beyond one's grasp. Greatness has become something which can be achieved from nothing - no work, heartache, struggle, or trial. And perhaps it is this which creates a generation of lackluster guys: the choosing of apathy and complacency over the struggle which produces greatness.
Greatness certainly does not come from ease. It comes from blood, work, sweat, and tears. Greatness is produced from difficulty not a lack of it. But it can be produced! I have seen a few shining examples of those who have decided to take up the mantle and become men and to you, I applaud you. Continue on through the trials and struggles and let Him mold and shape you. Rise up and shine like the men of God He created you to be. Set the example. Walk boldly before this world and walk humbly with thy God.
Who are you? How do you identify yourself? When someone asks this question, what do you say? Do you talk about your job? Your family life? Your positional standing with another person? When you think about you in the core of your being, how would you answer this question? When all the trimmings and "trappings" of life are stripped away from your being, who are you?
We are all passing through this world. This is not the goal. This is not the objective. And this is certainly not our home. This is temporary. What is not temporary, however, is our standing before the Lord Himself. Before the Lord, we are children of the most high. Hold onto that for a minute. Think on it. Dwell on it. Children of the most high. Sons and daughters of God. Outside of the context of Scripture, it sounds crazy, doesn't it? It sounds like we're reading a fantasy novel. But when accepted as Truth, it provides an identity that so far surpasses anything we could possibly identify with that nothing else is needed.
Temporarily, we might be mothers or fathers, teachers or office workers, single or engaged. But there will come a day when every one of those identities are stripped and we are no longer bound by the restrictions of title or role. We will be perfect, whole, and complete. We will live in perfection before the Lord we serve. We will walk in fullness and newness of life, the Lord having completed the good work He has begun in us. And what a great and glorious day that will be! But our identity as His children is not only for then - that identity is for now! No matter what else we are, we are His. That is our identity. That is who we are. We are His.
I have been so challenged to walk and trust, trust and walk, and walk and trust some more lately. It's a funny thing, isn't it, how we as Christians will learn a lesson, walk pretty well for a while and apply the lesson learned, then somewhere along the way forget what we learned and have to learn it all over again. I am finding that each season of life has lessons, often each day has lessons, and that they are frequently repeated.
A friend of mine has probably taught me more about trusting the Lord than anyone I know. Through good times and hard times, through all the in-between times, he has a philosophy of trusting the Lord and relying upon Him unlike anything I've seen. Where the world and even the Christian community at times would think his approach is kind of crazy, he solidly believes that the commands we are given to trust the Lord, rejoice always, and in all things give thanks are really, truly commands to be lived out. He does a pretty darn good job of it and in so doing challenges me greatly.
What stops us from trusting the Lord? Or rejoicing during the difficult times? Or giving thanks when we don't feel like it? I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we just do not want to give up control. We want what we want and regardless of whether those things might be good things to want, we often do not want to give them up. In practicing a life of trust, we have to repeatedly "give up" everything to the Lord. We have to be willing to place ourselves, our "things," and our hopes, desires, and dreams upon the alter before the Lord. We have to take our hands off proverbial the steering wheel of our lives and allow the Lord full control to drive in whatever way He sees fit. And that is the challenge. To truly and in every sense "let go" and let God direct your life.