Sunday, November 25, 2007

to be the best I can be...

My Way Sunday
. . . . .
reflections on being a Christian man, part 4

Bad habits are not easy to break. Repetitive sinful behavior become bad habits. Repetitive bad habits become vice. Vice can be replaced with repetitive good behavior, which become good habits, which become virtue. A good Christian man must necessarily become a man of virtue.

Saint Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians in chapter 4 verse 13,
I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me. [NAB]
Every day I encounter situations that call for a decision on my part. Some are small - some are big. Every one of them requires I act like a man - a Christian man.

Can a non-Christian man respond the same way? Not exactly. While any person can respond with the same words and actions, only a Christian man can respond with the mind of Christ. Only a Christian man can say, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives - in me." [Gal 2:20 - rsv]

There are some virtues that a man needs to play his role in society and in the family. Relying on God's power, on God's grace, on God's wisdom is a virtue - an invaluable virtue. St Paul makes this use of the power of God a theme several times in his letters. Another instance of St. Paul reminding his readers of this is found in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians in chapter 12, verses 9-10.
...he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. [NAB]
Paul had been begging God to remove a particular 'thorn in the flesh'. God's response denied that request. God reminded Paul that by using the grace granted, the power of God is made perfect. It is in overcoming my difficulties, with God's help, that I give glory to God. I am virtuous when I manifest the power of God by pushing through a difficulty - by gutting it out.
. . . . .
(to be continued next Sunday)


Fr. V said...

Gutting it out -

Accepting and trusting God . . .

You'd think after 2000 years we'd be better at it by now.

uncle jim said...

yes, after 2000 years you'd think we'd begin to understand better what those before us have been telling. each of us in each generation seems to need to reinvent the wheel. certainly we each need to learn the lessons, but why from the point of difficulty? why not from the point of knowledge and understanding? i think God clarifies that through Paul's writing.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness."
that's why.