Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
The sun is out and its a weekend. Time to get away from the warehouse and have some fun. For me, this frequently involves riding my scooter around town and just enjoying the ride. It does seem a bit odd that a two wheeled vehicle, when in motion, can remain fairly upright. The reason for this is has much to do with the science of motion. The Wikipedia article regarding this is quite lengthy and it would not bode well to waste space discussing it here. In fact, for all intent and purpose, it is enough that if a bike or motorcycle has sufficient momentum, it will stay balance. However, on 29 September of 2011, Xavi Ksas set a world record for a static balance of four hours in Barcelona. Yes, sitting on a bicycle and keeping it upright without moving or putting his feet on the ground for four hours. That is incredible balance.
Balance. For those of us who are called Christians, that word should be a part of daily lives. We are called to live in this world, but we are also called to not be a part of this world. This can be found in Romans 12:2. The verse technically reads “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect”. Considering this is the New Testament book the contains the greatest condemnation of various sinful behaviors, it is both a surprise and a comfort to find this book.
This is not an “ah ha” verse by any stretch. Nor have I taken it out of its context. Indeed, the verse occurs right in the middle of a discourse by the Apostle Paul regarding living our lives in a manner that is acceptable before God. Simple truth, there is much in this world that is not acceptable before God. Such being the case, there is a fine balance between living in the world and being of the world.
Christ Jesus made a partial mention of this. In a various popular incident with the Sadducees, Jesus was asked about tax money. This incident is the 22nd chapter of Matthew. Jesus was asked if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. This is, perhaps, the first recorded instance of “show me the (tribute) money” (tough luck, Hollywood). The fact that they were concerned about whether or not it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar demonstrated clearly where their priorities were. Living in the world and not being part of it has much to say about your priorities. Jesus made that clear when he asked them about who’s image and inscription were upon the coin. Insofar it was Caesar’s image and inscription, it was also Caesar’s coin and thus it was lawful to give to him that which was his but to give unto God that which belonged to God.
It was quite plain to Jesus that one could live in the world and not be part of it. It was all a matter of balance. Yes, one must sleep and eat. In like manner, most of us still needed to work to provide for our families. It is actually a rather unusual situation in which one would not need to work and could fully devote themselves to God. In truth, even pastors and priests have to work. Their jobs may not necessarily be the same as those who work warehouse, but they still have a job to do.
What then does it mean to live in the world and not be part of it? There is no easy answer to that question. Indeed, many books could be written on this, and many such books may even disagree one with another. However, I might hazard a guess. Perhaps the best way to live in the world and not be part of it is to acknowledge, first and foremost, that we are all sinners. This is also known as confession. Next, I might suggest that we reject those things that the Bible declares as being sinful. This is the hard part. There are a good many things in this world that the Bible declares as sin, yet the world would have you believe are alright, even acceptable. After that, it seems prudent to ask God Almighty to forgive us our sins, that is to be merciful to us sinners. In this, we seek forgiveness and absolution. From there, we do our best to live our lives so to avoid sin when we can. Note that this whole process will be repeated many times over as we can and will sin. However, as long as we seek to live according to God’s word and seek forgiveness when we fail, we can be forgiven. However, we shouldn’t seek to sin, thinking we can always be forgiven again, that can only lead to a reprobate faith.
I admit, temptations come. There is a balance involved. We must take care to recognize those temptations and then look for a way to flee. God has promised in 1 Corinthians 13 that where there is temptation, there will also be a way to flee, for there is no temptation that you can not resist. However, our own sinful nature may easily lead us astray to fall for that temptation. Can’t say “The devil made me do it” as we don’t necessarily need his help, we excel at sinning on our own.
It is a balancing act to live in a sinful world and to avoid sinning. It is much like riding a bicycle or scooter (perhaps even a motorcycle, but I wouldn’t know). With the bike or scooter, you need a certain amount of momentum to keep from tipping over. If you go too slowly, you will fall over. Oddly, go too fast and you could crash. I have met many “crash and burn” Christians who believed, falsely, that once they became Christians they would never sin again. If only they’d been told that it is difficult to live in the world and not be of it. I think the secret is to acknowledge both one’s sinful nature (as above) and to acknowledge God’s give of grace through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus upon the cross. That is the balance.
When we live a life in which we acknowledge our sinfulness and seek God’s forgiveness when we sin, we do achieve some sense of balance. However, we should not seek this out of fear, rather out of reverent love for our God and creator. Just as a bike or scooter traveling at the right velocity will stay upright, so too will our lives be balanced when we live a life that is pleasing to God and repenting when we do sin.
For me, its time to ride. For you, consider God’s call to repentance. We all sin. We can all be forgiven. Just repent and believe upon Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. He will help you to balance your life in accordance with God’s holy word.