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My grandma visited the doctor; she was very concerned about some pain in her left arm. After the doctor greeted her, he asked her what the problem was. “Every time I squeeze and twist my arm like this, (she showed him) it really hurts!” she said. “Well”, the doctor replied (bursting into laughter), “then quit doing it!”
Like my grandma, we Christians seem to enjoy the pain of sin. We squeeze and twist our spiritual life; allowing sin to enter into our lives in many forms: TV shows, movies, news, books, music, internet, etc. Then we complain and get discouraged because our lives don’t reflect the light of Christ.
This is pitifully true in my own life. I was talking to one of our fellow ladies at church about the danger of TV and how hard is to find some decent shows to entertain our families. She recommended me her favorites TV programs and pointed out how big my TV set was, “people could cross the street and watch TV through your window. It is huge!” she said. Feeling a little embarrassed, I explained to her that we don’t have a cable service. “We use it mostly to watch sermons and Christian movies.” I proudly pointed out. Then a truth about my spiritual life was revealed through my lips: “you know, when we watch movies other than Christian ones, we always end up regretting it”.
The words of my grandma’s doctor came back to me: “Then don’t watch them!” I didn’t say this to this dear lady, but for some reason, her remarks about my TV set, had led me to a conclusion: I need to be more righteous.
Even Christians who really want to glorify God struggle to find the perfect measure of holiness. The other day one of them was recommending me a TV show. “It is really good”, he said, “it has almost no sex, and they don’t curse. Of course it has violence, but that’s all; by the way, the girls in the show are very beautiful”, he pointed out to my husband!
We all struggle with sin, and if we don’t spend enough time in the Scriptures, what at the very peak of our spiritual lives was clearly sinful, with the pass of time becomes acceptable to us.
But, how righteous can a Christian be? This is a question that has been in my mind for years. Those who are opposed to a holy life in defense of their supposed “liberty in Christ” will tell you that trying to be a righteous person will transform you into a legalist. They will defend their much-relaxed lifestyle, which includes many of the bad habits of the unbelievers. They seem to think that no one has the right to rule over their lives, including the Holy Spirit. Let me tell you something; that is a dangerous way of thinking!
To answer our question, we need to find out first if it is even possible to live a righteous life, and what a better way to discover it than in the Bible. There are people in the Bible like King Saul, whose life pretty much resembles the life of many so called Christians today. Always going his way, doing his own thing, and choosing his own methods. God abandoned him and he died a pitiful death. “What he sowed, he reaped”.
We also find people like Abraham, Job or Daniel and his friends (Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego). People whose spiritual stature challenges us to be the best we can be for the Lord. The Bible is full of examples of people that without being perfect, were faithful to the very end, and lived righteous lives. They couldn’t have done if it wasn’t possible, right?
We are called by God to live a righteous life. He calls us saints because we have been separated from the world to live for His glory.
We are called Christians because we are disciples or apprentices of Christ the Lord, and He lived a righteous life.
In all honesty we will never be able to measure up to Jesus’ spiritual sanctity because we are fallen people, but hey! Why not aim for the moon? We might land among the heroes of the faith, imitating their lives, their wisdom and their righteousness.
Where do we start if we want to live righteous lives? Probably the best way to go is by imitating mom. “Start cleaning the house before you organize it: throw away ‘the garbage’ first; clean every corner, and then you can move the furniture around.”
Throw away the garbage. How much garbage enters into your house via the media? (magazines, internet, etc.) How much garbage do you bring with you on the weekends (movies, drinks, and the like). How much garbage do you allow into your ears at work? (filthy jokes, music?) How much of your own garbage you share with others? Throw it away!
Then do the cleaning. Kneeling before the Lord, talk to Him about it. Ask Him to forgive you, to clean your heart again, and to give you wisdom to choose better next time.
Lastly, rearrange your life, setting Christ at the very center. Allow yourself to orbit around the things of Christ, His will, teachings and commandments. Saturate your life with the Scriptures.
Who knows? You could be the next Job, Daniel or Samuel, or like David you could end up being called by God “a man after His own heart”.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
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