Why I Don’t Live However I Want To

Some would say we’re strict or maybe even legalistic because my husband and I don’t drink alcohol. Nor do we sit in the bar section at restaurants or go to R rated movies or work in the fields on Sundays.

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 7:1-7
Key Verse: “As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16)

We’re careful to say the least. Not because I’m sinning if I drink a beer or sit on a bar stool or buy a ticket to an R rated movie. (Sorry we’re not going there today. And FYI these are our prayerful personal convictions. I’m OK if they’re not yours.)

But we’re careful because we bare the designation Christian quite loudly. At home, at work, out and about in the land of the living. (A place I don’t always get to with littles still at home with me.) But when I do make it out the door, I just might be the closest connection my neighbor, be it the person in line behind me, or the young couple sitting next to us at The Cheesecake Factory, has ever had with God. The first line of offense in a battle for lost souls.

Ambassadors for Christ as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:20. That’s how we think of ourselves and we want to do well in representing our Savior.

Moses had a similar set up. As God’s representative, he was the closest connection Pharaoh had ever had to the LORD Almighty. In fact, “The LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet” (v. 1). Phew! No pressure, huh.

Actually, for Moses it was probably more of a relief than anything else, considering Egyptian Pharaoh’s thought of themselves as deity. One among many, but a god no less. Thus, when pharaoh spoke he never did it directly, he had a representative speak on his behalf.

So giving Moses the same arrangement not only put him on a level playing field, it was a power play Pharaoh recognized. And what’s so great, is in time, God beat Pharaoh at his own game. Giving more power to Moses, a mere shepherd, than Pharaoh ever had.

But as God’s representative it wasn’t his position Moses needed to worry about. It was his obedience. Twice in the first ten verses of chapter 7 we’re told Moses and Aaron “did just as the LORD commanded them” (v. 6 & 10). Because as God’s ambassadors there was no other way.

Just think for a moment, if Moses and Aaron had said and done whatever they wanted, what kind of picture might they have painted for Pharaoh of this God he didn’t know. A god made in their own image? A god not worthy of much respect? A weak god? A fearful god?

Considering the world’s view of God today, I’m just wondering if we’ve painted, by our improv and misguided temper and impatience and lack of restraint and indifference and otherwise sluggish spirituality, a grossly inaccurate picture of the LORD God Almighty.

One with lots and lots of smeared paint. The kind you tilt your head one way and then the other and think, “Well my four-year-old could have painted that.” (Sorry art people. I mean no disrespect.)

But as God’s representatives have we given the world a clear picture? Or have we smeared the lines beating the drum of 1 Corinthians 6:12, that all things are lawful for me in Christ, though maybe not always beneficial.

It’s for freedom Christ has set us free (Gal. 5:1). Yes, indeed I totally agree. Yet, freedom in Christ is not freedom to live however we want, it’s freedom to live exactly as He wants. In righteousness. In relationship. In ready obedience to a holy God.

Basically, it’s freedom to live in such a way that reflects the character of God. So the world will see Him in us and fall on bended knee declaring, “I want that too. A relationship with the unbelievably amazing God who made me too and died for me too and loves me too. The one I see in you.”

So God said, “As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Just as he told the Israelites, “For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:45).

Because they [Israel] had one main job to do – show the world who God is. “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor” (Is. 49:3). By living by Him, for Him, and through Him. A “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6).

And the church? The same job. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

But what are we proclaiming? His excellencies or our own? Peter goes on to urge believers in the same passage to “abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul.” Keeping our conduct among the gentiles honorable. Why? So they might see God in us and glorify Him.

So we live carefully. Hopefully above reproach, though nowhere near perfect. Doing our best to live uprightly in an upside-down world. Seeking daily to show the love of our good Father. By example. By self-control. By setting my rights aside. With a smile. A thank you. A patience not of myself. A helpful hand. An answer of hope.

Offering our whole bodies “as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God” (Rom. 6:13, NLT). Because the last thing we want to do is smear the image of God in the mind of an already struggling soul.

Who needs to see a holy and righteous God who set not only His rights aside, but the splendor and glory and majesty of heaven, to hang on a cross for us – for them.

Therefore like Moses I seek, or at least try, (though some days I’m a blubbering failure) to do and say just as God’s commanded. Whether it’s easy or costly or fun or unfair. Living not however I want, but as God wants. Since He, for some marvelous reason, saw fit to make me His ambassador. (Oh the wonder of it all.)

May we today and everyday carefully consider our job as His representatives.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What does it mean to be an ambassador of Christ? In what way, by what choices, are you seeking to reflect the biblical character of God?