August 8, 2011
Living the Consistent Life
Sarah Phillips, Crosswalk.com Family Editor
"He must increase, but I must decrease."John 3:30, NIV
Teaching high school religious education can be an educational experience - not just for the kids but us teachers, too. High school students have so many questions, and their questions often reveal their struggles to live out their faith.
In the years I've taught religious education to teens, I've noticed that many of the questions our students ask reveal inconsistent thinking. When teaching on the sanctity of life, the class agreed with the beautiful Christian ethic that calls upon each one of us to respect human life from conception until natural death and protect those vulnerable among us.
As the conversation digs deeper, however, it's not uncommon for some students to cook up every scenario they can imagine where they think it would be "okay" to terminate an innocent life. They try to push the limits with us, try to get us to bend on truth. They also wanted assurance from us that if they felt strongly enough about something, they too could bend the truth.
Of course, my co-teacher and I could not give them that reassurance. As painful as some situations can be, we're called to conform to God's truth, not the other way around.
As tempting as it may be to blame the teens' questions on their ages, don't we all play this game? We embrace the Christian faith with conviction… until it becomes uncomfortable. Then we start asking the same questions these teens asked, but perhaps a bit more artfully.
Surely, God would understand if I go against his Word this time… I mean, this situation is different, isn't it? Then we start rationalizing, like teenagers trying to get our of our parents' well-designed rules.
It's a struggle to live consistently with God's truth, isn't it? I'd say it's a lifelong struggle. Thankfully, God gives us the grace to conform to His will if we're open to it. He increases in us as our former selves decrease. Little by little, our inconsistencies become clearer to us and less appealing.
If you're struggling with an inconsistent life, remember that where sin is present grace abounds. (Ro 5: 20)
Intersecting Faith & Life: Examine your life this week. Are there areas that are not consistent with God's Word? Are there areas you've compromised? Seek out God's grace to bring your life in conformity with his will.
Romans 12: 2