Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Goal is the Same

"So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him" (1 Corinthians 5:9).

The story has been told, read, and retold of one night when one of the generals of Alexander the Great had a soldier who was undisciplined and always causing trouble. The officers had tried many ways and for a long time to whip the unruly soldier into shape. On one occasion Alexander was examining his troops. The unruly soldier was pointed out to him and Alexander asked the soldier his name. The soldier responded, “my name is Alexander.” Alexander the Great exclaimed; “Soldier, either change your name or change your behavior.” The point of timeless truth the general intended to make was that where you are does not matter.  Where you are may change and inevitably will change.  Who you are, or rather who God intended you to be, is never to change.

As children, I'm sure most of us can remember of times being exciting to go on field trips, overnights or just visiting a change of location.  One of the common denominators of key advice was always, "don't forget that you represent this family."  The goal of obedience, respect, unity, and good character, though not always flawless, was the expectation both at home and elsewhere.  The location was changeable, but the expectation remained the same.

Paul, in this passage, is speaking of the difference in serving God here on earth of in heaven for eternity.  He makes the bold and sobering claim of truth that there is no difference.  We are to please Him: to live and to have hearts that are acceptable, agreeable, and extremely satisfying to Him.  This is who we will be and what we do for eternity.  It's been often said that life on earth is "Heaven Practice."  What is done on the game field is a reflection of what has been done on the practice field.  The spectators change but the expectations remain.

The truth is plain and simple.  Live for Jesus in all that you do here.  Let this be your heart's aim and your life's daily anthem.  Live for Him now as you will live for Him there.  Yes, you will fall short, but knowledge of that should not give license not to live to please Him in all that you think, say, and do.  Reality check: Are you actions, thoughts, words, and attitudes in full agreement with Him?  Are they congruent with His character, His will, and with His Word?  This is to be the standard by which you measure yourself.  And when you find that you fall short, rely on the power of His grace and love to pick you up, dust yourself off, and to set you back on the track that leads to the best that He has for you.  No matter where you are, the goal is the same: to love Him, to trust Him, to repent before Him, and to walk in the way He is leading.

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