Answering a Serious Call

September 15, 2008 at 8:20 am 7 comments

I get Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint commentaries in my email inbox every day and today’s caught my attention. The subject line was “Taking Holiness Seriously” (9/15/08) where Colson featured a 300-year old book which is a Christian classic: William Law’s A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (there’s a free online version and even an mp3 of it!)

Colson cites a portion of the book that gets us right to the point:

Why are you not as pious or holy as the early Christians? It is not ignorance or inability, [but] because you never thoroughly intended it. They were ordinary people [but] with extraordinary intention.”

So true — good intentions are not good enough in many areas of life. For example, we all have good intentions to eat better and exercise. But what’s important is to actually say “No thanks” to that extra slice of pizza, and get on that treadmill and run up a good sweat!

Colson also brings it closer to reality since there are certain areas of life where we do take concrete steps very intentionally:

Law’s point is a good one. Think how much intention we may put behind succeeding in business or getting in physical shape. We read books; we set plans; we exercise self-discipline; we seek out workshops or mentors or personal trainers. But have we ever been so intentional in becoming holy or — to put it another way — in seeing our lives match our beliefs?

Now this is a serious call and a challenge! How will I answer this call? How will you answer this call?

For this post, I would like to open this up to ask you to comment here:

  1. What makes it so hard to be holy in this day and age?
  2. What can we do (as a community of Christ-followers in the 21st century) so that we can be “ordinary people but with extraordinary intention” like the early Christians?

(It doesn’t have to be any fancy response, I just want to hear from you on this important topic so that we can help each other very intentionally…)

Entry filed under: About Life, Leadership Lessons, Ministry Lessons.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. superrab  |  September 15, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    1. Abundance of comfort – Many of us don’t know what it means to really endure hardship and training to achieve something that is important to us. If something is too hard we are oftentimes quick to throw in the towel.

    2. Minimize on the things in our lives that allow us to continue living on without stopping to think about what sustains us.

    Those are just the two things that came to the top of my head after reading this post.

    Reply
  • 2. DK  |  September 15, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    1. – The pressure from this world to conform especially in situations when you’re the only Christian and your values are radically different from like 95% of your co-workers.
    – There are so many distractions that can splinter devotion to God.

    2. – Remember the calling we have as Christians. (personal testimony)
    – Yoke one’s self to someone who really is pressing hard to be holy and to be inspired/motivated and to have that true partner effect.

    Reply
  • 3. David  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:55 am

    1) The pursuit of happiness (or what we think is happiness) distracts us from pursuing holiness. Sometimes it can be a job, career, marriage, money, fancy gadgets, and especially our own desires and agendas. Some of these things are necessary but our pursuit of happiness makes us focus solely on these aspects of life. As a result, I think we put happiness first and then holiness.

    2) Reading the Bible daily can help steer us back to the right focus and reminds us of the truths of life to guide us back to the right track. Also being part of a community of Christ followers that are striving to live out what the Bible defines to be a holy life will help encourage, inspire, and provide the proper support and means to seek out holiness.

    Reply
  • 4. AC  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:20 am

    1. What makes it “hard” to be holy in this day and age is that sometimes as Christians we compare ourselves to our co-workers and non-Christian friends. This could lead us to believe that we ourselves are already “better” than the majority, which demotivates us from really striving to imitate the Christians from earlier centuries.

    2. As a community of Christ followers, it is important that we come up with extraordinary intentions together and try to fulfill these intentions as a community (i.e. NSWN and Grad NSWN). I know that own my own, I would be less likely to challenge myself…

    Reply
  • 5. amanasco  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:51 am

    1. We live in an extremely immoral society. We all want to belong and fit in. But to live a holy life goes against the flow and bumps heads with the norm of society.

    2. We must first have the sincerest desire to live a holy life for God and this must be our main focus and purpose of our life. To be a soldier or even an Olympic athlete, our lifestyle must change. Therefore, we need to be more disciplined and we need to prioritize the important things in our life such as God’s word and prayer and cut out the less important things.

    Reply
  • 6. LBT  |  September 16, 2008 at 11:47 am

    1. A world of options and our greed make a bad combo – Our desire for more things (e.g. material things, wealth, fame, attention, etc.) makes it hard for holy living. The seemingly “good” life presented in the movies/ads, and the comfortable lifestyles that many people around us pursue get us to think that there’s life outside of a God-focused and God-centered life.

    2. Do whatever it takes to simplify our lives, and get our priorities right, and lessen our options. Rather than focusing on what we lack, by recognizing that we’ve been given much, perhaps we can desire less for ourselves and give our out of resources to live as wholehearted imitators of Christ.

    Reply
  • 7. robolai  |  September 17, 2008 at 10:23 am

    1. this “me generation,” post-modernism, fast-food, instant-pleasure culture we live in has instilled in us that we should get things/results for me here and now. Holiness- focusing on God/others and seeing results in the future, etc.- is contrary to our worldly culture. we also easily give in to comfort/complacency and have a “whatever” attitude in life. our current lives, without much suffering, trick us to think that life can go on like this for a while and if there’s nothing to force us to chance, we remain at status-quo.

    2. i think it’s really hard to go against our culture and lazy nature; however, somethings we are doing and can do are:

    1. each person should deepen his/her relationship with God through dt/prayer, and have accountability
    2. as AC mentions, we should have “extraordinary intentions together and try to fulfill these intentions as a community.” Many times, we are unmotivated on our own, but when we get caught up doing something, we begin to experience the joy of pursuing holiness together.
    3. each of us should recognize that “life is short, death is certain, eternity is long.” that should sharpen my focus as to how i should spend my time/energy today.

    Reply

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About Joong “Jonathan” Lee

This weblog contains thoughts & reflections as I pastor Gracepoint Austin Church (previously at Gracepoint Davis and Berkeley Churches) and engage in various ministries.

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