I’ve been trying to make everything I do about God lately. I say trying, because I’m not always successful at it. There’s a part of me that is constantly trying to make life about me, and while I’m not doing anything that is considered “Evil” by any standards, I am not doing anything good or productive either. I sometimes let the weight of things get to me, the weight of what people are going through, the burdens of the congregation, my own family life and struggles, and I just want to shut down. While there is nothing wrong with resting in the Lord, disconnecting myself completely from everything around me is not good! The more I read Scripture (and I read it daily, several times a day!), the more I’m convinced and convicted that I need to change. You see, I will never arrive at the pinnacle of Holiness while I am in this body. I am still at war with Spiritual powers, I am at war with my flesh, I am constantly struggling with my thoughts and actions (and sometimes inaction), and I am in constant need of being conformed in to the image of Jesus Christ.
Loved ones, I say all of this because we’re called to be Holy. We’re not called to be challenged by Scripture, we’re called to be changed by it through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s a process: it’s our whole lives. Many of us treat following Jesus as if it were a sprint or 100 meter dash. It’s not: it’s difficult, a marathon that takes our whole lives, one in which we’re called to help others join the race, and help others as they complete theirs. Paul says we’re running as if to win a prize, and we should! We’re called to be so radically different from the rest of the world, bearing the image of Christ, and living in such a way that it draws others to Him. We’re called to Holiness, and I know I don’t always measure up. Yet, I will not use that as a crutch or excuse: I will strive for holiness. I will strive to be like Jesus in all I do.
1 Corinthians 9:12b-27
Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.