Sunday, November 22, 2020

God Calls Us To ACT - In Holiness #JesusFollowers

We aren't born empty vessels, and God didn't create us just to manipulate human beings' every move. To read the Hebrew Bible or teachings of Jesus like this - as some do - is to grossly misread both.

While surely God does work IN us, and THROUGH us, when we come to a knowledge of God and His deeds, God even then does not make our decisions FOR us, nor are we incapable of acting until He does.

There are some people, born with severe birth defects or due to later injuries, who cannot move, speak or do anything without the assistance of others.

For most of us, however, that's not our reality. We are born fully able to do things, to think, to move, and to use our Reason. These are all gifts of God. We should praise Him for them.

Hopefully, when we do things, we act informed by the knowledge of our Creator and the example of Jesus foremost in our minds, but that's the point: We all have the moral ability to choose, and that's also the free gift of God. 

When we get a gift, we must open it, and use it, in order for it to be fully useful. Otherwise, it's soon thrown away. The same is true of God's mental and physical gifts.

God created us to make choices, to put our physical and mental gifts to good use, and to live up to our full potential. We can't wait for God to "work in us" and "make us" do good, or use God's alleged failure to "give us the ability to do good" (as some have argued - using some rather twisted Theology) for us to fail to act as God wishes us to act. 

How do we know this is the case? Because Jesus says none of this. Instead, he simply calls us to a life of joyful, active service, picking up our crosses daily, denying our Selves, and loving our neighbors by serving them. 

The Hebrew Scriptures tell us that God wants us to act, to do Justice, to seek Mercy, to love others, to be perfect (spiritually complete) and to live fully, and DO Righteousness, living Holy lives.

It is up to each of us to discover and build upon the gifts which God has given, using them to do Righteousness.

Some have said that we will become arrogant and self-righteous if we say we are "doing" righteousness. But the scriptures call us to do righteous deeds, and also makes it clear that God is pleased by them. 

Further, we will be judged by those deeds to determine whether we spend eternity with God, our Heavenly Father and Creator.

But Jesus warns us not to do righteousness in front of others just to be seen by them and praised by them. Part of being "holy," then, is being humble.

The Bible and Jesus' teachings also say we will be judged by our deeds - but not by human  standards, and not by other human beings, or even by ourselves - but by God alone. We are assured that God does not remember our sins when we confess them to him, and that He is an extremely merciful judge.

Man-made religion creates excuses for why we CANNOT do as God asks, and some even say we must not even try to do Good! But God and His chosen spokesman, Jesus, our example, tells us we CAN do all that God asks, and the life of Jesus shows us that we CAN become the human beings that God wishes us to be.

The Gospel is therefore an active challenge for us to DO righteousness, to ACT in holiness, to SERVE others fully and with joyfulness and humility, because that is our calling as human beings, and that is the challenge God has given us to accomplish! (It's also a Gospel this world needs desperately to hear!)

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