San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

Company Policy

An arm-chair-quarterback was sharing her opinions about a prominent Christian leader the other day. I’d never heard of the leader (or the quarterback) before, so she could have been totally right. But she made a statement that bothered me.

“I think [Christian] leaders should be held at a higher standard, even more than the lay members.”

I guess. Yeah. But not really.

Because when we say that leaders are called to a “higher” standard, it implies that the rest of us are called to a lesser standard. And that just doesn’t work for me.

I mean, think of it like this:

I worked at Wal-Mart for 3 hellish months (OK, it was 3 mildly aggravating months). And there was not one standard for the managers because they were “leadership” and another for the regular employees.

The company never said, “If you’re management, you must come to work on time, but if you’re a cashier, you can come in 20 minutes late.” No. Or, “Management is not allowed to steal from the cash registers, but if you’re only part time, we look the other way.” No.

They had company policies. It didn’t matter your role or how many smiley stickers you handed out, you still had to wear a shirt to work. You had to show up for your shift. You couldn’t beat your coworkers up. You couldn’t sell alcohol to minors. Stuff like that.

And the Kingdom of heaven is no different. We all work for the same company and we all have to follow company policy. Yeah, some of us have roles that require more responsibility, or more time, or more skills than others of us.

But. None of us are allowed to sin. Leaders or non-leaders. We’re called to be perfect, like God. Dead to the flesh. Free from sin. And if we do sin, we all receive the same grace. And are all made the same righteousness of Christ.

So, back to this whole, “Leaders are called to a higher standard” bit. Why do we say that? I mean, most of us have probably spouted something akin to it at some point. I know I have. So, why?

Because it makes us feel better. Just like any form of judgementalism, it lets us think we’re really doing OK. If so-and-so is a leader and she just checked into rehab, then my little gossip problem isn’t too much to be worried about.

And guys, Jesus is so beautiful. The grace and forgiveness He’s extended to us is nothing we could even remotely deserve. Let’s just quit trying to play this little “God grades on a curve” game and live our lives in response to the love He’s lavished on us.

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San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

Not to seem harsh, but…

Something that really bugs me is when people call themselves Christians, but don’t see the need for their Christianity to affect the way they live their lives. Basically they want to live for their flesh and the devil every day of the week (except maybe Sunday) and still have the end reward of heaven… as if that was all we are living for, anyway.

I’m all for grace… it’s pretty much the most amazing thing in my life! But I hate how we use grace to justify partaking of stuff that is essentially destroying our hearts. It seems we weigh our actions based on whether they’ll cause us to lose our salvation or not (and if we’re in the “eternal security” camp, we’re really sitting pretty), rather than making our decisions based on what’s going to draw us into deeper relationship with Jesus.

All that to preface my appreciation for Romans 8:1 & 3-4

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For what the law could not do… God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who live according to the Spirit.

The first part is really familiar… “no condemnation to those who are in Christ.” But we leave off the qualifying aspect of walking according to the Spirit. Verses 3-4 make it even clearer that Jesus fulfilled the law, paid the price, for those who live according to the Spirit! I just don’t see room in this passage for living however we want and then sneaking into heaven under a cloak of “grace.”

Now, understand, in no way do I think these verses are advocating an “earn your way into heaven” mentality. To me, it’s so much more about who has control of our lives. Are we allowing our flesh to pull us around by the nose, or is Holy Spirit the One who motivates our life choices? Because, from what I read in this passage, if it isn’t Holy Spirit, then we’re not in Christ. And if we’re not in Christ, that’s not good.

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