Sifting Through the World

God has placed us in this world, to be good stewards of His creation. The world is here for us to enjoy and as means for us to glorify God. Some things in the world are evil, and should be wholly avoided (example, Eph. 5:3-5). Some things are good, and should be pursued (Gal. 5:22-23). In the middle, we find a bunch of questionable material, grey areas and applications.

How do we treat this middle ground? Firstly, young friend, seek out the explicitly good before all else. Walk in the spirit, spend time with God in prayer and His Word, find your delight in whatever is good, noble and just. Secondly, run from the evil and turn your back on wickedness. Curiosity towards sin is your enemy, and curiosity towards God is your friend. Turning to acts of obedience, you will find help from the darkness; don’t try to fight without first seeking the Lord.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Finally as you approach the grey areas, look for the defining light of Scripture. Tend to your conscience, and follow what insight you are able to study on the matter. Consider the effects on others around you, don’t engage with something that could cause a brother to fall. Seek godly counsel. Then, if the matter seems good to you, press onward giving glory to God and with full enjoyment of His provision. If at any time you understand the situation differently, don’t be afraid to admit a change of mind and stop.

For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23b)

Live in the Word, not in worldliness.

Even Unto Sorrow

May I be willing, Lord, to bear daily my cross for Thee;
Even Thy cup of grief to share—Thou hast born all for me.
(Lead me to Calvary, v4)

Paul makes an interesting comment to the church at Colossi: “Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” At face value, Paul seems to be saying that Christ’s sufferings were insufficient in some way–but we know from other scripture that this is not the case. Our understanding of this verse is rooted in the understanding of Christian suffering, and of Christ’s suffering.

For clarity’s sake, here’s Matthew Henry’s interpretation:

Both the sufferings of the Head and of the members are called the sufferings of Christ, and make up, as it were, one body of sufferings. But He suffered for the redemption of the church; we suffer on other accounts; for we do but slightly taste that cup of afflictions of which Christ first drank deeply. A Christian may be said to fill up that which remains of the sufferings of Christ, when he takes up his cross, and after the pattern of Christ, bears patiently the afflictions God allots to him.

For the Christian, suffering is an outworking of unity with Christ. Since we are justified before God, our sufferings are no longer a penalty for our own sin and foolishness–Christ paid it all on the Cross, and His suffering was enough. Instead, our sufferings are a bond of fellowship with Jesus, a mark of being His disciple, and a prefix or context for glory.