Sunday, November 18, 2007

it was the other guys who did it, not me!

My Way Sunday
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reflections on being a Christian man, part 3

There is a passage in the Hebrew scriptures [the Old Testament] in the 1st Book of Samuel, chapter 15, that speaks very loudly and clearly [read the story here]. I, at times, feel somewhat insignificant in the overall scheme of the Lord's plans. Much of what I do seems to dwindle in importance compared to the accomplishments I see others perform.

God gave Saul very specific tasks to accomplish in retribution against the Amal'ekites, who hassled the Israelites on their way out of Egypt. Saul followed most of the instructions, then reneged on a few of them - a few that seemed somewhat minor to Saul. When Saul was challenged by Samuel for disobeying God, Saul tried to cover his tracks with a story. Samuel, who knew the Lord very intimately, knew that Saul had transgressed the instructions given him by God. As a result, God withdrew His favor from Saul, and Saul no loner served as king over Israel.

Living the life of a Christian man is not easy under any circumstance - the world, the flesh, the devil all work against me. Even with intent and grace, I stumble and fall. Even with the desire to follow the Lord and do His bidding, I fail. Even in times of great fervor, I fall short of the Glory of God - I sin, I miss the mark.

The life of Saul teaches me that I am accountable to God for my failings. Consequences follow my deeds, and I will pay dearly for my transgressions. Even knowing this, I bring shame.

Does this mean I cannot become a man of God - a Christian man? Of course not. It means I must daily strive with all my energies to do that which God has given me to do - I will be held accountable.

Virtue is the antidote for vice. There are many virtues necessary for the Christian man. I mean to look at some of them as I continue in this reflection.
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[to be continued next Sunday]