Thursday, March 26, 2015

Community: About Friendships (Pt. 2)

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. ~ Galatians 1:10

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. ~ Romans 12:18

All of us live in some kind of community. We have a circle of friends, family, or co-workers in our primary orbit. That being said, relationships can bring out the best in us, or result in our succumbing to our community's approval--when to do so--would result in God's disapproval.

The apostle states something we all know: deep within our core is the desire for approval. Generally speaking, approval comes from pleasing--not displeasing our peers. Yet, he was crystal clear, he knew that instances could arise where he couldn't twist his ethics and behavior in such a way as to simultaneously please both his God and his fellow man. He knew that his actions and allegiances would raise the dissenting eyebrow of one or the other. Paul knew that whomever he tried to please defined whose approval he most desired.

You notice that Paul also said, If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Once again, the apostle is clear. First, we have an enormous responsibility to seek to live peacefully in our world, but against that he says, its not always possible to do. Why? Because, for the one who serves Christ, it is impossible to live in the narrative of today's world (or during any epoch in history) without coming to a place where you must chose whose approval you most desire. Sooner or later the gauntlet is thrown down, and then we must declare our allegiance. You must chose peace with God or peace with godlessness.

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