The Bible: Work—Play—Family: An Integrated Life
We continue in our series, Sharing Your Faith and Your Bible. Our goal is to explore the various scenarios that you might encounter.
One of the most common situations you will encounter is that people are busy!
And, for the most part, people are busy with what they consider good things…work—play—family.
These areas of our lives, and many others, are “good things.” God created them, and He created them for us!
Yet when we separate any of God’s creation from God, or worse, when we make it a god of its own, then that which God intended for good becomes twisted.
All of us, biblical followers of Jesus and the most non-biblical person you know—all of us—run the risk of turning “good things” into idols.
We can turn our family, our work, our play, and more—into idols.
For the believer, our corrective is staying in God’s Word, sitting under sound preaching and teaching, being in a small group, etc.
For the non-believer, this issue is not on their radar.
For the non-believer, unless they are facing some tremendous life-challenge, reaching them is difficult. They do not see themselves as bad/sinful people, and they do not see the relevance of religion.
For decades now, the enemy has fed them a steady stream of ideas, such as tolerance, as being virtuous. So, as the church sought to speak into the moral decline of society, the enemy skillfully convinced folks in this group that we—the church—not only lacked this virtue of tolerance (after all God is love), but we in fact are worse. We are hate-mongers!
However, today I believe we have a unique, temporary opportunity.
Today everyone can see where this tolerance has led and is leading.
The world’s principles that brought us the sexual revolution, same-sex marriage, etc. are now bringing us transgenderism, polygamy, and pedophilia – and presenting all as normal.
The simple example of today’s parents fighting for the right to stay connected to their kids in schools, while others seek to confuse and convince them to make decisions which will destroy these kids, is screaming to non-believers that something is terribly wrong.
Today, people are wondering what has happened to the morality of the past—and that is an opportunity.
So, what is our approach? I would suggest we need to:
- First, has to do with living our daily lives.
- Second, engage.
LIVING OUR DAILY LIVES
Here, when presented with this idea of how we live our lives, we often think that we must be the perfect Christian—the perfect Christian husband or wife with the perfect Christian family.
God’s Word certainly encourages us to strive for this standard. Exhortations such as Romans 12:1-2 challenge me to offer my everyday life to God. We know that the more we conform our lives to God’s Word, the better our life will be.
But when the heck did we buy into the Enemy’s attack that Christian’s are hypocrites? Let’s just unpack that accusation.
The accusation flows as follows: Christians think they are perfect, but it is obvious they are not (and here we could all list the myriad of ways we are not perfect). Therefore, people who think they are perfect are people who are wagging their fingers at others, all the while being imperfect – and therefore, hypocrites.
Where this fails to match the Gospel is we, Christians, are the people who declare we are:
- Imperfect. We are sinners, and in face of that knowledge, we keep sinning,
- Further, we have realized we cannot fix ourselves. We need God!
- As imperfect people, we struggle, not just daily, but at times minute by minute.
Therefore, we are the people who:
- Acknowledge there is a standard by which to live our life.
- The standard is unchanging and established by God.
- We aim to live by that standard,
- Acknowledging that we fail, and
- It is only by God’s grace, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus,
- That we can have hope.
We are imperfect, redeemed people.
We need to live among the world, declaring the standards we are aiming for, proclaiming we know that we fall short – yet being firm that we cannot change the standards.
Why can we not change the standards? Two reasons:
- Because they are God’s standards. He set them.
- We would not want to change them. As hard as they can be to follow, we know that following them yields the best life.
We can only show the world this reality by “doing life together,” not only with members of the Body of Christ, but also being transparent (to a degree) with non-believers that we know.
My “to a degree” comment is to point out that people do not need to know all the ugly details, they merely need to understand that we know we are far from perfect.
Let me give you a personal example of being transparent. I have a history. I did not become a follower of Jesus until 30 years of age. I made a number of mistakes—big mistakes. I share some of those mistakes. When people hear them, they are naturally thinking about their mistakes. They are also seeing a flesh and bones human being not rejecting God but rather being embraced by God.
They see my struggle; past and present. They see that I trust that God loves me. They see that, in the end—amid my warts and all—that God has brought to me a peace that passes understanding.
If we can “show up” like that, then we are positioned to engage.
WE NEED TO ENGAGE
And we need to engage. Having been cast as hatemongers, we have grown awfully quiet. We fought same-sex marriage for decades, and in the wake of one Supreme Court ruling, transgenderism swept into our society in just a few short years.
In the face of being cast in that light, we still must engage.
Engaging is hard. The enemy will bring the full force of the narrative they have successfully marketed to bear on us personally.
How do we engage?
It depends. It depends on us, and where God has placed us in His plan to reconcile the world to himself.
He spent time with the people in this world. He showed compassion while He witnessed truth – speaking it in love (the real love of the Cross).
Which leads to us asking, “Lord show me where, and how, you want me to engage in this issue.”
For some of us it will be in our homes. For others it will be in our church, or our school, or at another local group.
For still others it may be on a larger stage.
Then, when God shows us, we need to let him walk with us. So often I charge off on my own. It will only be through Him that we will do “abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.”
In one way, God will use these battles to draw us closer to himself. We may prevail. We may not. In the end he does not need us for Him to win. He is looking for us to trust Him.
As we engage, we must keep the goal in sight. The goal is to bring people to Jesus. It is not to create heaven on earth.
The Bible tells us that the end of this world will not be pretty. The war will be ugly. The war will lead to our persecution. In the end however, God will prevail and those who have put their trust in Him will spend eternity with God.
This point of this post is to encourage you to:
- Be real with people; have boundaries, but be real.
- Engage where God is calling you. Expect it not to be smooth going.
- Remember the goal: the goal is not to prove that we are right and others wrong. The goal is more people in the kingdom.
All while leaning into and following God—because God is interested in bringing to conclusion the work that he has begun in us.