The King above is worthy of having every action done with restraint of hand and feet, eyes and ears, mouth and heart.
- The Rule of Carthage, Irish, 7th century
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
- 1 Corinthians 10.31
These two quotes provide a concise summary of the life of faith: Restrain every member of your body, in every situation, upon every opportunity from being used as an instrument of evil; release every bodily member for the purpose of glorifying God always.
The one addresses our ongoing struggle against sin, while the other points to the enormous possibilities for serving Christ which are presented to us every day. The Spirit works within to empower us both for resisting the devil and restraining our members from sin, and for offering ourselves as living sacrifices, releasing our bodies for works of love to God and our neighbors.
This is the life of faith. How do we do it?
Paul tells us in the larger context of his exhortation (1 Cor. 10.31-11.1). First, recognize that everything we are, all we possess, and everyopportunity in which we find ourselves holds the potential for bringing God into focus, opening a conduit for His Presence and grace to flow out toward the people around us (Jn. 7.37-39). As the life of Christ grows in us, the life of Christ comes forth through us so that the truth and love of Christ spill out into our everyday relationships, roles, and responsibilities.
Every action, every situation, every detail, every opportunity, no exceptions.
Second, (v. 32), do not let anything about your life, words, or actions be a cause of others falling into sin. This assumes both that we know what sin is and that we are prepared to resist the temptation to fall into it; thus we restrain the members of our body from engaging in it. Daily meditation in God’s Law, coupled with prayer without ceasing is the best fortification against sin.
Third, to the best of your ability, try to please and edify others, to meet their needs, affirm their persons, encourage and uplift them (v. 33). Consider the needs of others, and do not make yourself the focus or issue. Remember, the arrows in your Personal Mission Fieldpoint outward toward others, not inward toward yourself. Release control of your soul and body to the mind and power of God’s Spirit (Rom. 8.5-9), so that you can be a channel of grace to the people in your life.
Fourth, remember that the people with whom you are dealing either already have the salvation of Christ, and should be encouraged in it, or they are susceptible to being saved, and need to be led toward Him (v. 33). Pointing others toward Jesus and nudging them along the path in His direction should be part of our every action, whatever we do.
Finally, pattern your life after the hard work, self-denial, and invest-everything example of Paul and Christ (1 Cor. 11.1).
Restrain and release: This is the life of faith. This is how we are called to live, so that none of our actions betray us to sin, and everyaction becomes a gesture of grace and truth to the people around us.
This is Personal Mission Field living. This is the ministering way of life for which we are being equipped day by day (Eph. 4.11, 12).
We are the light of the world, and God can light up and shine through every moment of your day, every word out of your mouth, and everything you do, with grace and truth and glory, so that you glow with the warmth of Jesus in all you do.
Look to the Word and Spirit of God for the fullness of life in Christ (Jn. 6.63). Restrain soul and body from indulging in sin, and release soul and body as servants of the risen Christ. Every day. With every person. All for the glory of God. What a high calling each of us has, right where we are!
1. Where do you need to work harder at restraining soul and body from sin?
2. What opportunities will you have today to release soul and body for loving God and others?
Psalm 90.16, 17 (Landas: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place)
Now let Your work to us appear; our children show Your might.
And let Your favor rest on us; show mercy in Your sight.
The work that You have given us, confirm and to us show,
that we Your chosen path may walk and in Your precepts go.
Thank You, Lord, for choosing to use me for Your glory! As I go forth today, help me to…
Our book, Christians on the Front Lines of the Culture Wars, explains today’s text in more detail, especially with respect to the culture we use each day. Order your free copy by clicking here.
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T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.