Christian Philosophy Lite: What does God expect of us?
By Raymond Smith
The Bible has a lot to say about how we should live as citizens in this present day Kingdom of God. It seems to me that we have forgotten who we are and where we're going. We live in a fast-paced world with many distractions that divert us from our real responsibilities. Often, we need to be reminded of things we already know, rather than gaining new information.
Francis Schaeffer considered this when he wrote his classic, "How Then Shall We Live?" This was followed recently by Chuck Colson in his book, "How Now Shall we Live?"
There is always the need for the prophet to call the people back to the basics of the faith because we are like sheep who are prone to stray. (The comparison of God's people to sheep figures large in the Bible).
So, then, what can we do to amend the situation? First off, we need to understand what our obligations are as believers in Jesus Christ. Some evangelists are only interested in saving people. Others, like Billy Graham, arranged to have a follow-up program that instructed new believers in the scope of their responsibilities to this new way of living.
Primarily, it means to disassociate one's self from worldly attractions that consume our time and energies. We do live in a materialistic world, however, and it is not practical to live completely apart. But a few, like the Amish, the Amanas and the Shakers, have achieved reasonably successful colonies. Those who necessarily live in the world have an opportunity to influence that world, rather than the other way around.
Today, we are prone to put most of our emphasis on church and Sunday school attendance. While this is an important part of our existence, what we hear often goes in one ear and out the other.
I believe that many think that going deeper in the Christian life might not be rewarding, but until they really get involved, they do not experience the blessings that accrue.
So, what are our main obligations? For starters, praise and worship, both at church and through family worship. We are to give to the poor, help those who are weak, visit the sick and those in prison and fellowship with one another. My Online Bible program has a phrase finder - when I type in "one-another" I come up with 33 ways we are to interact with each other. We are to obey the moral law and do good works. We are to set a good example, guard our language, be peacemakers and share the gospel with the lost. (Check the 12th chapter of Romans) We are especially asked to strive for holiness as God is holy.
Colson's book is more political and urges us to get involved in influencing our legislators to preserve the freedoms our forebears sacrificed to obtain for us.
May the Lord raise up prophets to bring us back to holiness. May a mighty revival sweep across the land.
Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and president of Strong Families of Victoria.