|Volume 20 Number 10 October 2018||
A man walks into the doctor’s office for his annual checkup thinking that he is in exceptional health. He eats a well-balanced diet, exercises, gets plenty of rest and is very conscientious when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. To his surprise, the doctor gives him some unfortunate news regarding his health. He has a problem with his heart and will need immediate surgery. The surgery goes well, and the man begins his recovery. Now more than ever, this man pays special attention to the kind of care he gives to his heart. This man knows that to the body the heart is an essential muscle needed for life. If the heart is not functioning correctly, then the whole body is affected. Any person that desires to be healthy needs to pay special attention to his or her heart, especially if there is a known problem with the heart.
Just like having a good heart is essential for physical health, it is also essential to be pleasing to God. In 1 Samuel 16, Samuel was sent out by God to anoint the king who was to rule after Saul. Samuel was sent to Bethlehem to anoint the king from among the sons of Jesse. The older sons of Jesse passed before Samuel, and he was sure one of these men would be the next king. However, God saw something different in these men. God saw their hearts and would not appoint any of the older sons as king. Then, Samuel asked Jesse if he had any more sons. Jesse confirmed he had one more son who was tending the flocks. This young man was David. David pleased the Lord and was soon to become king. In Acts 13:22-23, David is known as a man after God’s own heart. Through this man and his seed was to come the Christ. David pleased the Lord.
Now, it is important to note that David had many flaws and sinned like everyone else, but David is still known for having a heart that was pleasing to God. David was shown the mistakes in his life, and he was greatly sorrowful for all the sins that he had done. David’s heart temporarily focused on pleasing himself, but when he saw the error of his ways, David made the changes he needed to make to once again be pleasing to the Lord. Like David, we too need to be a people with good hearts. We need to take a look at our hearts and make sure that each and every day we are living for God. A good heart muscle is necessary for a long physical life, but a good spiritual heart is also crucial for a life pleasing to God.
Our Most Excellent Call
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us to His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). When a person becomes a Christian, he receives a calling that is higher than anything else in this world. Our calling is the Gospel message (2 Thessalonians 2:14), which is more excellent than anything we have ever seen, heard or on which we have set our hearts (1 Corinthians 2:9).
God’s calling is for each of us. For while the calling is for all (Acts 2:39), it was prepared by God specifically for you (Romans 8:28-30). Before God made this world, He had you in mind (Ephesians 1:4-6). Before God ever said, “Let there be light,” He had a plan for you. He planned to call you!
God’s calling is to moral excellence. We are called to live on a higher plane—to live like godly people. Second Peter 1:3 says we were called to God’s glory and excellence. Our new life as Christians is devoted to living in God’s moral virtue and in His perfection (Matthew 5:48).
God’s calling is to an excellent life. The life of a Christian is not the life of a person of the world. We live by a different standard. “Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, whatever things that are excellent…” (Philippians 4:8).
A Christian’s life should not include or even encourage those things that are sinful. Those include sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, hatred, discord, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness and the like (Galatians 5:19-21). Part of being a Christian is abandoning the things that characterize our old lives and behaving in a manner that is appropriate for a new life.
Christians have been given a most excellent calling as Paul encourages us in Ephesians 4:1, “I…urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”
[Royce Pendergrass: Let’s look further at our “calling” as the Hebrew writer said in Hebrews 3:1-2, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus who was faithful to Him that appointed Him…” We read further in 1 Peter 2:21-23 “Even hereunto were you called because Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps, Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not in return, when He suffered, He threatened not but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously.” In all things, Christ taught us what was right and wanted us to follow in His steps that we might be eternally in Heaven with Him.]