The headlines we’ve seen in recent weeks are mind blowing. Iran, Planned Parenthood, refugees, Russia flexing it’s military muscles, Ashley Madison…
While not one of these is any less significant than another, the Ashley Madison leak is enough on it’s own to rattle the fabric of modern society.
In case you’ve been ignoring social media and headlines lately, Ashley Madison is a website dedicated to facilitating adulterous affairs and was recently hacked and the information of it’s users leaked. Their company slogan is “Life is short, have an affair.”
The fallout of this scandal is shattering lives. One Pastor has committed suicide in what is believed to be part of the aftermath of this mess, having mentioned Ashley Madison in his suicide note.How Ashley Madison Shows Us Doing Good is Not EnoughClick To Tweet
I’m Talking to the Christian Here
So the brokenness leading to a “service” such as Ashley Madison is making me think about the Christian life and walking in the light of the Gospel in a fallen world. How do we navigate the events that keep dominating our headlines and shattering lives all around us?
I’ve heard things recently like “I’m doing good and I do good things, so isn’t that enough?” Anyone who has read my blog knows that I’ve stated “it’s impossible to hold an unbelieving world to the standards and accountability of a believer.”
I believe that. John 1:5 tells us that “the darkness cannot overcome the light.” The word used in that verse is katalamano, which literally translates “apprehended not.” Another way to say that is, “the darkness did not apprehend or comprehend the light.” Neither can a person who doesn’t have the Spirit of the living God comprehend the things of God. So let this article be an address to the person who claims Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.How do we navigate the events that dominate headlines, shattering lives all around?Click To Tweet
When Doing Good is Almost Enough
We’re not going on about legalism here. “Doing good” doesn’t improve our salvation. What doing good means in the life of a Christian is, as Paul writes in Ephesians 4:1 to “live in a manner worthy of the calling with which you were called.”
Every one of us brings into our Christian experience the junk that we carried around, that we lived day in and day out before encountering Christ. Jesus does promise to free us of that sin trash, and He does just that, but there comes a time in our Christian walk where our faith has got to be made real. “Where the rubber meets the road” as some say.
At that point we not only turn from sin, which takes effort on our part, but we become “renewed in our minds.” Paul writes this in Romans 12:2 where he instructs us, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
Again, “do not be conformed” and “be transformed” take action on our parts requiring discipline, not passivity. These things don’t just happen in our lives. God is calling us to His grace and while there is nothing we can do to attain or improve that grace, we must be disciplined to the renewing of our minds, to our daily thought-life. And that comes through worship and by being bathed in continual prayer and soaked in God’s Word.
Paul finishes that verse with, “that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” If, in our Christian walk we are renewed in our thoughts, our actions follow. And here God tells us through Paul that if we are walking renewed, we will be discerning, knowing what is good, acceptable and perfect.
As we walk in this renewed discernment, we begin to respond to those things plaguing the headlines in a different light. We don’t succumb to the Ashley Madison or to the Planned Parenthoods of the world, but we respond to them in desperate prayer.Doing good is simply not good enough if we're not taking next stepsClick To Tweet
“Doing good” is simply not good enough if we’re not taking those next steps, if we’re not “renewed in our mind.” Author Debra Fileta said it best in her recent article 5 Things We Learn from the Josh Duggar Scandal on her website, True Love Dates: “Refraining from sin isn’t enough if you’re not taking next steps into grace, forgiveness, and building healthy habits.”
So there comes a time when the “rubber” of your faith has got to “meet the road.” It’s just not enough to do good. Following Jesus in a fallen, broken and often frightening world takes commitment, action and discipline.
If you claim to follow Jesus then you’re engaged in an ongoing battle for the souls of every man, woman and child on the planet. If you’re not renewed in your mind and daily walking in the habits that build your faith, then doing good will only get you wiped out.
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