Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tripping Over Righteousness

A funny thought occurred to me the other day:

When you apply the word "FALL" to a Christian, it's usually associated with sin. As in: "So-and-so fell into gluttony". It's always negative. They tripped and "fell" into something nasty and now it's all over them. (Oops! You're gross!)

You never hear anybody say: "So-and-so fell into honesty." As if they had tripped over something spiritual and accidentally became a more honest person. (Surprise! You rock!).

Well, that makes sense, I guess. We all so easily fall into sinful attitudes and actions, like it says in Hebrews -- the "sin that so easily entangles", and all that.

And to live like an honest-to-goodness, bonafide follower of Jesus takes a bit more effort and making conscious choices. There's probably a good metaphor/sermon illustration in there somewhere.
Wait a second, hold the phone...

How, when, and where did that idea slip in?

That "falling" into sin is accidental, but righteousness is a choice?

Aren't all of our actions determined by our choices? Is there really no "oops" involved?

Actually, as it turns out: No, there isn't any "oops" involved. People don't "fall" into sin accidentally. And neither do they "fall" into righteousness. Both require decisions and choices. Both result in consequences. We are very involved in the entire process, either way.

Oh, look! God said it first:

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." (Galatians 6:7-8)

Ever heard the old apocryphal story of the Missionary & the Inuit Christian ("apocryphal" = "urban myth")? According to legend, a missionary was having a conversation with an elderly Inuit man about his faith.
"Sometimes," mused the wise old Iniut, "it feels like there's a white wolf and a black wolf inside me, fighting for control of my soul."

Fascinated by the metaphor, the missionary responded, "And which wolf is winning the battle?"

With a wry smile, the Inuit sighed and answered, "Whichever one I feed the most."
By all means, let's learn what it means to "sow to the Spirit" and "feed the white wolf". But let's have no more of this "falling" stuff.
There is no "oops".

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