IN, BUT NOT OF
We Christians, by surrendering our lives to Christ and deciding to abide faithfully to the precepts of the Almighty, have received a different identity. In John 17:13-15 (NIV), Jesus says “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” Furthermore, in Romans 12:2 (NIV) it declares that we must “not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” This shows that though we may live in the world, we do not belong to it. We are not bound to live by the same yardstick of success that the world imposes. The moment we allowed Christ into our hearts, we are mandated to abide by a different set of rules, measures and precepts. The Bible confirms our new self in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV), declaring “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Our new self demands that we live by greater standards of excellence. Our work must be nothing but the greatest output we can produce. Colossians 3:23 (NIV) instructs us that “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Our perspective when it comes to doing this, whether it’s related to work or our personal lives, must be eternal. Our focus needs to be on the heavenly inheritance we will receive, which in a valuable way dependent on how we live our life here on earth. This is one of the standards we have to live by, now that we are our new self.
A HIGHER CALLING
We don’t need to be in full-time ministry to receive a “higher calling.” When we offered our life to God, all our activities – day job, household chores and church involvement, must be devoted to God. All our endeavors, no matter how menial or extravagant, become acts of worship. Living a life with a higher calling means offering our work to the greater cause of advancing His Kingdom and honoring His name; we don’t just do what we have to do, but we do it to please an audience of one.
The reason we aspire for greatness in all our work is because our Master deserves nothing but the best. Good is not good enough if it’s not great. Greatness is composed of exerting the greatest effort, making the greatest impact, and producing the greatest result. It’s an ideal that must be integrated in every aspect of our life. If the world’s standards demand a 10, our goal is to at least do an 11. Our desire to honor God will lead us to a plane when doing good is not good enough, especially when we know we can do better. We can be and can do the best.
WITH ALL OUR HEART
Serving the greatest Master requires the sharpest of skills. We must possess those so that we can create things worthy of God’s standards of excellence. We live in the dispensation of grace, where it’s not law and punishment that inspires us to move forward, but its love and mercy. His grace has overcome a lot of things for us and His power has overcome the world (John 16:33, NIV). Therefore, we can petition His help to guide us in developing our skills. As we have been empowered to take dominion over His creation, we have been equipped with the greatest resource: the Holy Spirit. It is He who can guide us and lead us to the right people, places and opportunities. What is required of us is to love God with all our mind, soul, mind and strength – to give our all to His service and ministry.
In 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV), it says “the Lord is not slow in keeping His promises, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone come to repentance.” Doing good is not good enough because at the end of the day, our life’s purpose is not about us at all. We have to be great at work and in our personal life so that we can be a testimony to those who have not come to the saving knowledge of the truth. We will serve as a testament of God’s ability to do great things; a confirmation of His character as a great God.