Thursday, October 28, 2010

Strive Always

What drives you?

We are always driven by somethings. Affection. Fear. Fame. Money. Success. Hate. Security. Fantasy. Some people are driven with massive amounts of energy and ambition and focus. And others are driven as a leaf.

It's worth considering what is driving you.

A different question: what are you striving for?

You may not always know what is driving you, but striving is one of those things you do on purpose. Too few of us are striving for something worthwhile. Something simple. The apostle Paul said it like this in Acts 24: So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and all people.

Life takes a lot of work: you can either work hard enduring the burdens of a guilty conscience, or you can do the hard work of keeping your conscience clear. Too many of us are driven by guilt, and too few of us strive for a clear conscience.

Paul's faith in Jesus was connected to his clear conscience. Following the Way of Jesus, having faith in Jesus - this was the course for clearing your conscience. When Paul talked about following Jesus, about believing in Jesus, about keeping his conscience clear before God and all people, he talked about these three things: righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come.

Righteousness: the work of joining Jesus in making things all right – within and with others.

Self-control: the task of imitating Jesus in mastering appetites and steering your emotions/thoughts/attitudes towards righteousness.

Judgment to Come: the day of resurrection when Jesus rewards the righteous for what they did to the ‘least of these’ and the wicked reap what they have sown.

Faith: Trusting the Words of Jesus and Following the Way of Jesus by Joining Jesus Now in His Making Things All Right.

Strive always for righteousness and self-control. Strive always in light of the Judgment to Come. Strive Always in Faith.

What are the alternatives?

Every son and daughter bears wounds from their father and mother. This is what drives so much of our life. Strive for righteousness, to make things more all right then they are - for healing and making amends.

Everyone notices the inhumanity of our world. Do you turn a blind eye? Do you become calloused? Do you get overwhelmed and wearied? Or do you strive for righteousness, to make things more all right then they already are in your own sphere of influence, in your neighborhood, in one area of the world that strikes a chord with your heart?

Are you driven by hunger for sex and affection and intimacy and acceptance and respect and affirmation? Or do you strive to master your emotions and desires, steering them in the direction of righteousness? When you stomach growls, when your belt is too tight, when you're snacking while nervous and worried, when you rack up ridiculous credit card debt from eating out - when you are driven by your that really what you want for your life?

Do you play the comparison game? You're at least doing better than...who? At least you're not as bad as...who? When you strive for righteousness and self-control, you are free from the comparison game. When you choose to follow the Way of Jesus, and you have all God's help available for the asking.

Righteousness is rewarded in this life and in the one to come. And wickedness reaps what it sows, both in this life and in the one to come. You sow gluttony and greed, lust and anger - you refuse to make amends and to gain control over your tongue and stomach... and you'll reap what you sow.

What are you driven by? 

Strive always to do the next right thing, to help make things all right. 

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